Canada established diplomatic relations with Kazakhstan in 1992. In Kazakhstan, Canada is represented by the Embassy of Canada in Astana. Kazakhstan is represented in Canada by the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Canada.
Bilateral relations between Canada and the Republic of Kazakhstan are strong and deepening. The Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan appointed its first resident Ambassador to Canada in July 2008. Minister Cannon has met Kazakh Foreign Minister, and 2010 OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Kanat Saudabayev, four times, most recently on the margins of the UN General Assembly in September 2010. Minister Kent led Canada’s delegation to the OSCE Summit in Astana in December 2010, where he met with Minister Saudabayev as well. Parliamentarians from both countries have made numerous visits over the past decade.
Both Canada and Kazakhstan are strong supporters of efforts aimed at the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). In Kazakhstan, Canada’s Global Partnership Program, through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has contributed over $2 million to provide physical protection upgrades at Kazakh civilian nuclear facilities that house vulnerable weapons-usable nuclear materials.
Canada’s Global Partnership Program has also provided funding and support for the creation of the Regional Biosecurity and Biosafety Training Centre in Almaty, and is facilitating Kazakh participation in the Biosafety Association of Central Asia and Caucasus. Finally, Canada, through the Moscow-based International Science and Technology Centre, has funded research projects and capacity-building initiatives (such as commercial support and travel funds to attend international science and technology events) to support the redirection of former Kazakh weapons scientists into peaceful research pursuits.
Kazakhstan is Canada's largest commercial partner in Central Asia, with Canadian companies active as both exporters and investors. Over the last five years, Canadian merchandise exports to Kazakhstan have jumped from $115.8 million in 2005 to $210.7 million in 2009. Due to the global economic crisis however, total Canadian merchandise exports decreased to $140.6 million in 2010. Canadian companies have invested an estimated $2.1 billion (as of December 2009) in the country, largely in the mining sector.
Machinery constitutes the largest Canadian category of merchandise exports to Kazakhstan, within which agricultural equipment and machinery for used in mining and the oil and gas industry dominate. There are emerging opportunities in aerospace, agri- food/livestock, industrial and civic infrastructure and healthcare sectors, which are drawing the attention of Canadian companies. Canadian post-secondary institutions have been actively recruiting in Kazakhstan, with upwards of 200 Kazakh students currently studying in Canada.
The Canadian embassy in Astana manages a small Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives program focused on Kazakh NGOs active in community development.