Canada – Costa Rica Relations

Canada and Costa Rica enjoy strong and diverse bilateral relations. The two countries share similar views in many areas, including human rights, rule of law, security and free trade, as well as views on regional and international issues raised in multilateral institutions.

In Costa Rica, Canada is represented by the Embassy of Canada in San Jose which opened in 1961. Costa Rica is represented in Canada by an Embassy in Ottawa and two consulates in Toronto and Vancouver.

Canada supports Costa Rica’s security efforts through DFATD’s Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP). Since 2009, Canada has provided a total of $4.74 million in security assistance to Costa Rica. This includes $500,000 in navigation and communication equipment, $1.2 million to the National Police School announced during the Summit of the Americas in April 2012 (consisting of bullet-proof vests, helmets, and surveillance vehicles), $60,000 for training of law enforcement officers and investigators by the RCMP, and $1.1 million in ballistics identification technology to Costa Rica’s judicial police.

The Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP), provides short-term scholarship opportunities for students from Latin America and the Caribbean to study or conduct research in Canada. The program is notably predicated on Canadian and Costa Rican institutional linkages which facilitate the creation of scholarship opportunities. These academic agreements help foster research collaborations and student exchanges. Since 2009, 28 Costa Rican students have taken part in the ELAP. In 2014, 132 Costa Rican students participated in exchange opportunities for study or research at the college, undergraduate and graduate level in Canada through this and other programs. In addition to the ELAP scholarships, Costa Rican students are encouraged to apply for other Canadian awards open to all international students including the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships. For a complete list of available scholarships, go to

There are approximately 9,000-10,000 Canadian residents in Costa Rica, including dual nationals, and 172,730 Canadians travelled to Costa Rica in 2014.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Canada and the Government of the Republic of Costa Rica Concerning Youth Mobility signed in August 2010 came into effect in July 2011. This arrangement enables youth ages 18-35 to travel and work in each other’s country for up to two years.

Costa Rica is Canada’s largest trading partner in Central America. Bilateral merchandise trade reached $729.67 million in 2014. Merchandise exports totalled $152.05 million in 2014 and imports from Costa Rica totalled $577.61 million. Canadian exports consisted primarily of grain products, fertilizer, electrical machinery, milling products, and vegetables, while primary import products included fruits and nuts, electrical machinery, and medical instruments. Canada is the fifth largest investor in Costa Rica.

The entry into force of the Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement (CCRFTA) in November 2002 enabled the development of trade relations between the two countries. Parallel agreements on environment and labour cooperation were also signed at that time. One of the main objectives of the CCRFTA is to create new business opportunities for our respective countries. In August 2011, the launch of negotiations to modernize the CCRFTA to include cross-border trade in services and government procurement was announced. Negotiators have held several rounds of negotiations and are in contact to plan next steps.

An open skies-type Air Transport Agreement between Canada and Costa Rica entered into force in April 2012. This Agreement allows any airline from Canada or Costa Rica to operate as frequently as desired between both countries and via any point in third countries. The Agreement gives our airlines greater flexibility and in turn means more options for travellers.

The OAS is the region’s premier multilateral forum and provides a crucial venue for cooperation with hemispheric partners. Being a member of the OAS has allowed Canada to deepen its relations with Latin America and the Caribbean at various levels. Also, Canada is pleased to have hosted the XVII Pan American Games and V Parapan American Games in Toronto in July and August 2015. Canada is proud to have welcomed athletes and visitors from Costa Rica and from across the Americas.

In 2012, Costa Rica expressed its desire to join the OECD, and Canada supports Costa Rica’s aspirations. In April 2015, OECD member countries agreed to open membership discussions with Costa Rica and, on July 8, 2015, adopted a Roadmap for the country’s accession to the OECD Convention, establishing the terms, conditions and procedures for its admission. Canada is exploring ways in which it can continue to provide support to Costa Rica in its efforts to accede the OECD.

In recent years, several high-level visits have cemented positive relations between Canada and Costa Rica.

October 2015

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