Canada is represented in Libya by the Embassy of Canada in Tripoli, and Libya is represented in Canada by an Embassy in Ottawa.
The Canadian-Libyan post-revolution bilateral relationship is based on mutual respect, common interest in promoting democratic governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law, and a desire to strengthen commercial relations. In September 2011, Canada reopened its embassy in Tripoli to facilitate our political engagement and assistance in stabilization efforts, and to re-establish a solid trade footprint. According to the most recent Canadian census, there were 3,570 people of Libyan origin in Canada. In 2013, it was estimated that there were 1,500 Canadians in Libya. Every year, nearly 600 young Libyans come to study in Canadian colleges and universities.
In 2011, through its role in NATO Operation Unified Protector, Canada was among the first countries to respond to the demands by the Libyan people for democracy and freedom. Canada made a significant contribution to the success of the popular uprising and provided $ 10.6 million in humanitarian assistance.
In June 2011, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird visited Benghazi to support civil society and the democratic transition, and in October 2011, he visited Tripoli to show support for post-conflict stabilization efforts. In January 2012, International Trade Minister Ed Fast led a large delegation of companies to Tripoli to further promote our trade and investment relationship and reinvigorate commercial relations.
The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the Libyan authorities during their critical transitional period. In support of post-conflict stabilization efforts, Canada has allocated approximately $20 million, including:
In May 2012, Prime Minister Harper announced a $15 million contribution to a transition Fund to provide grants and technical assistance to help accelerate economic and democratic reform efforts in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. Canada is also a key stakeholder in international financial institutions which play a central role in helping North African states achieve economic recovery and democracy.
The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) has contributed $ 215,000 (2012-13) to support local community development and the active engagement of Libyan civil society organizations and NGOs. Projects support democratic transition and encourage women participation.
Canada – Libya relations are limited, however, Canada is committed to strengthening and expanding its commercial ties and investment in Libya. Since the 2011 revolution, Libya has embarked on a path to modernize its economy, which includes market reforms to encourage private sector development and attract foreign investment. Libya presents significant commercial opportunities, particularly in oil & gas, education, health care, and infrastructure. In 2013, bilateral trade amounted to C$197.9 million, showing a 24.6% increase from 2012. Despite very interesting opportunities available in sectors of Canadian expertise, lack of stability and insecurity in Libya have delayed the entry of Canadian companies into the market. Canada has led two trade missions to Libya since the revolution: the first in October 2011 (led by Minister Baird), and the second in January 2012 (led by Minister Fast).