Canada and Thailand have a dynamic and cooperative relationship, and bilateral relations continue to expand and deepen.
Canada’s first Ambassador to Thailand was appointed in 1961 and the first resident Ambassador established the Embassy of Canada in Bangkok in 1967. Canada is also represented in Thailand by a Consulate headed by an honorary consul in the northern city of Chiang Mai. For its part, Thailand is represented by the Royal Thai Embassy in Ottawa, with Consulates-General in Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal. The Royal Thai Consulate-General in Vancouver dates to 1924.
Their Majesties, King Prajadhipok and Queen Rambai Barni visited Canada in 1931, and Their Majesties King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit visited Canada in 1967.
On March 23, 2012, Prime Minister Yingluck and Prime Minister Harper announced the launch of formal exploratory discussions towards a potential Canada-Thailand Free Trade Agreement. A FTA would further enhance Canada’s bilateral commercial relationship with Thailand and would generate increased export and investment opportunities for both countries, including in the agriculture, oil and gas, sustainable technologies and services sectors. Two-way trade between Canada and Thailand exceeded $3.5 billion in 2013, making Thailand Canada’s second largest trading partner in Southeast Asia.
People-to-people ties are strong. Approximately 10,000 Thais visit Canada annually for tourism, study, or work. An estimated 5,000 Canadians reside in Thailand and approximately 230,000 Canadians visited Thailand as tourists in 2013 – a 5% increase over 2012. Academic relations are also an important part of the bilateral relationship, with many Canadian universities having long-standing cooperation agreements with Thai academic institutions.
Canada has taken an active role in assisting Thailand's economic, social and democratic development. Presently, Canada's efforts focus on strengthening human rights and good governance, particularly in the three southernmost provinces and among Burmese refugee populations along Thailand's western border. Canada is recognized as a leader by local residents in the Muslim-majority south in promoting human rights and encouraging dialogue.
Canada has supported initiatives to promote discussion on strengthening democracy and human rights in Thailand. The Embassy has supported participation by Canadian speakers in several conferences on topics such as constitutional reform, transparency and accountability, LGBT rights, and human security.
Canada and Thailand work closely together in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in which Canada is a Dialogue Partner. They are also partners in regional institutions, such as Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the security-oriented ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and multilateral organizations that operate beyond the Asia-Pacific sphere, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO).