Canada and Ecuador have enjoyed official diplomatic bilateral relations since 1960. However, our bilateral ties extend back to the early 1900’s when Canadian railway engineers, mining experts and missionaries worked in Ecuador. Today our relationships are constantly growing in commercial, political, cultural and personal spheres with upwards of 100,000 Ecuadorians living in Canada and 2000 Canadians in Ecuador.
Canada is represented in Ecuador by the Embassy of Canada in Quito and also maintains a Consulate with an Honorary Consul in Guayaquil. Ecuador is represented in Canada by the Embassy of Ecuador in Ottawa, and also maintains Consulates in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
Canada’s bilateral relations with Ecuador are driven by the three pillars of the Government of Canada’s Americas Strategy: prosperity, security and democracy.
Canada’s trade relationship with Ecuador is complementary with the bulk of trade in agricultural commodities: seafood and roses to Canada, and wheat and lentils to Ecuador. Bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Ecuador totaled $480 million in 2010, with merchandise exports to Ecuador reaching $269 million and imports to Canada valued at $211 million. Canada and Ecuador have a Foreign Investment Protection Agreement (FIPA) which came into force in 1997, and a double taxation avoidance agreement which came into force in 2001. Canadian companies are the leading investors in Ecuador’s nascent mining sector, and the Canadian government is the primary contractor responsible for building the new $440 million Quito International Airport. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs are an important dimension in the presence of Canadian investors in Ecuador with such programs actively supported by the Embassy.
The Ecuadorian Canadian Chamber of Commerce (Quito and Guayaquil chapters) are actively promoting and strengthening commercial and personal ties between Ecuador and Canada. Since its creation in 2001 the Quito Chapter has grown to include nearly 120 active members in six different sectors. The Guayaquil chapter was created in 2004 and now counts on 85 members, mostly from the sectors of tourism, agriculture and education.
Within Ecuador, security in the Northern provinces along the border with Colombia remains a major concern for the Government of Ecuador. Aerial spraying of coca fields in and the Colombian government’s military offensive against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas in southern Colombia have pushed refugees as well as insurgent and drug-related activities across the border into Ecuador. Canada’s engagement under Canada`s Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program provides practical support through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to combat drug trafficking and trafficking in persons, and for small arms control through the UN Regional Center for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America. Both countries are actively engaged in reconstruction and peacekeeping efforts in Haiti and Canada helps providing peacekeeping training to Ecuadorian military officers.
Canada’s commitment to supporting democratic governance in the Americas is channelled and coordinated by the Andean Unit for Democratic Governance (AUDG). Established in October 2009, the Unit`s headquarters is in the Canadian Embassy in Lima, Peru, with a network of offices in Quito, Bogota, Caracas and La Paz. In addition to providing policy advice to Canadian government departments and strengthening our democracy support network in the region, the Unit also manages Canada’s Glyn Berry Program which supports initiatives that help advance citizen-focused approaches to democracy building in areas such as political participation, freedom of speech and parliamentary accountability.
Canada and Ecuador also maintain bilateral relations in areas of common interest in multilateral forum such as the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS).
The Third Ecuador – Canada Bilateral Consultations were held on February 27, 2012 at the Assistant Deputy Minister level and permitted frank, open and productive dialogue that touched on political and economic issues, such as bilateral trade, investment protection, a possible trade agreement and an air agreement. The consultations were reinforced through a subsequent meeting held between the Vice Ministers of Foreign Trade of both countries in Ottawa at the beginning of March of this year.
The growing bilateral relationship between Canada and Ecuador has been highlighted by the high-level visits to Ecuador of then-Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Americas), Peter Kent, in August 2010, and the visit of then-International Trade Minister, Stockwell Day, in August 2009. Former House Speaker, Peter Milliken, also visited Ecuador, leading a delegation of Canadian Members of Parliament in May 2010. The Ecuadorian President of the National Assembly, Fernando Cordero, visited Toronto in June 2010.
Assistance for Ecuador is provided through multilateral programs and through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, which is managed by the Embassy of Canada in Quito. The Canada Fund supports economic development and capacity building by providing funding to local communities and associations to complement the investments that they are already making themselves.
The Embassy encourages, supports and facilitates exchanges between the indigenous peoples of our two countries, in the areas of indigenous education, business development and the state/community relationship. Most recently, two indigenous education experts met for two days with the Sub-Secretary for Intercultural Dialogue at the Ministry of Education, indigenous leaders and educational provincial authorities. They also visited two inter-cultural, bilingual schools in Puyo and Chibuleo.
The Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP), announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Summit to the Americas in 2009, provides short term scholarship opportunities for students from Latin America and the Caribbean, including Ecuador, to study or conduct research in Canada. The program is predicated on Canadian and Ecuadorian institutional linkages which facilitate the creation of scholarship opportunities. These academic agreements help foster research collaborations and student exchanges.
During the last week of June 2011, the Embassy organized the Canadian Cultural Week in recognition of Quito as the Cultural Capital of the Americas for 2011. With the support of 16 Canadian Companies and the Mayor of Quito, three groups of artists played in six different venues to a wide audience, presenting Canada`s cultural diversity and talent.
(Last updated October 2011)
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