Canada and Thailand have a healthy and friendly relationship, and bilateral relations continue to expand and deepen.
In 2011, Canada and Thailand marked an important milestone with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations. The highlight of this celebration was the official visit of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Thailand at the invitation of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in March 2012.
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, Calgary, 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.
People-to-people ties are strong. Approximately ten thousand Thais visit Canada annually for tourism, study, or work. Some 190,000 Canadians visited Thailand in 2011, and an estimated five thousand Canadians reside in the Kingdom. 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. Today, 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.
Over the past five years, Canada has supported initiatives to promote discussion on democratic consolidation. The Embassy has supported participation by Canadian speakers in several conferences on topics such as constitutional reform, democracy and accountability, 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).
Thailand is not a recipient of direct bilateral or partnership assistance from Canada. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) provides contributions to Thailand through regional and multilateral programs.