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Canada and the United Kingdom relations

Fact Sheet | PDF version (53 KB)

Canada and the United Kingdom have a profound and positive relationship.

Political Relations

Canada and the United Kingdom have a profound and positive relationship. The Canada-United Kingdom Joint Declaration outlined the enduring strength of that relationship and the ongoing cooperation between the two countries.

Canada and the UK share a sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and are among the oldest traditions of parliamentary democracy in the world. The relationship between our two countries continues a long tradition of strategic partnership, forged in peace and war, through two world wars and in nearly every major conflict for more than a century. In recent years, Canada and the UK have placed a high priority on the security relationship, which includes military, law enforcement and intelligence cooperation. The relationship has been further strengthened by our continuing partnership in Afghanistan and Libya.

Canada and the UK work closely together as part of international organizations and are the only two countries that are members of NATO, the G7, the G20 and the Commonwealth. Canada is an active participant in the Commonwealth, and is the second largest financial contributor after the UK. Through the United Nations, World Bank, and other organizations, Canada and the UK continue to promote our shared values and our commitment to international development, particularly in areas such as health and education.

Canada and the UK are supporting the people of the Middle East and North Africa, who are seeking to build inclusive and stable societies, underpinned by democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Together and through wider cooperation in the G20, Canada and the UK also work to safeguard our mutual prosperity. By promoting global efforts to ensure strong, sustainable and balanced growth, sound fiscal management, healthy financial sectors and regulatory systems, and open markets, the two countries aim to improve global economic conditions so that international trade and investment can thrive.

Commercial and Economic Relations

Canada and the United Kingdom have long enjoyed a strong commercial relationship.

The UK has been a consistent supporter of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that entered provisional application on Sept 21, 2017.

With application of this gold-standard comprehensive trade agreement, the economic ties between Canada and UK are set to grow, as under CETA, tariffs will be eliminated on 98% of all goods traded between the our two countries upon provisional application.

The UK is by far Canada’s most important commercial partner in Europe and our fifth largest globally, with two way merchandise trade in 2017, reaching $26.51 billion CAD (£15.5 billion), the vast majority of which moved through UK ports.

With CETA, the UK government has highlighted a predicted £1.3 billion (C$ 2.15 billion) annual boost to its economy as a result of the agreement. UK’s industries and consumers will continue to enjoy the advantages of CETA while it negotiates its departure from the European Union.

The UK is also an important source of direct foreign investment for Canada, ranking fourth after the United States, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg and there are more than 700 UK firms that have a presence in Canada that continue to contribute to our growing economy. Conversely, the UK is Canada’s second most important destination for investment abroad. Indeed, there are more than 1100 UK firms owned or controlled by Canadian interests. Therein lay the building blocks of our future economic relationship that will continue to flourish.

Canada and the UK also have strong partnerships in science, technology and innovation (STI) and there are many links between Canadian and UK researchers, universities, funding agencies, commercialization groups and companies. The research priorities of both countries have much in common and tend to concentrate resources in large, collaborative, interdisciplinary programmes that meet global societal and economic challenges such as ageing, climate change, science/green technologies, energy and food and water security. Other priority areas for collaboration include medical research, aerospace and defence, ocean technologies, nanotechnology and polar science.

Trade Commissioner Service - United Kingdom

Defence and security


Canada and the United Kingdom enjoy a close-knit and multifaceted defence partnership that dates back several centuries. The Canadian Forces were originally modelled on the British, and we share many traditions, values and beliefs.

Our shared history and ties, forged on the battlefield during two world wars, have laid the groundwork for the solid defence relationship we enjoy today. The Canadian and UK defence ministries maintain close working relations at all levels, both bilaterally and multilaterally through NATO membership, participation in UN peacekeeping operations and other multinational military activities. In recent years, the Canadian and UK defence ministries have worked particularly closely with international allies on the stabilization and rebuilding of Afghanistan and the protection of civilians in Libya.

Defence co-operation is also evident in many other activities. Canadian and British personnel serve on reciprocal exchange and professional development programs. The British Army Training Unit in Suffield, Alberta, conducts regular mechanized battle exercises to maintain military readiness. Specialized elements of Canadian military training are conducted in the UK to take advantage of their expertise and to share and solidify best practices. A commonality of operational experience and challenges have led to ongoing information sharing and cooperation between our navies, air forces and armies.

After the United States, the UK is Canada's most important market for Canadian defence products and services. Similarly, the UK ranks second to the US in terms of international cooperation in defence science and technology.


Canada and Britain place a high priority on their security relationship, which includes intensive military, law enforcement and intelligence co-operation. This partnership provides for a broad and mutually beneficial level of information exchange on the widest possible range of global security issues and challenges.

The relationship is decades old, and has adapted to various challenges from the Cold War era to the post-September 11, 2001, security environment. Today, the relationship is - for both sides - a particularly important element of the campaign against international terrorism and of our joint efforts to bring peace, stability, and prosperity to Afghanistan.

Related resources

Academic Relations

Academic relations between Canada and the UK are rich and diverse. There are numerous opportunities for scholarships, student mobility and research.

We are always looking for opportunities to develop relationships between British and Canadian academic institutions, to promote study on issues relevant to Canada and to highlight areas where Canada excels in research. Email us on if you are:

  • A UK university looking for Canadian experts to speak on issues related to Global Affairs Canada - Global issues and international assistance;
  • A Canadian scholar or academic visiting the UK who would like to speak publicly on your area of expertise at UK university and think tank events;
  • A UK academic institution with a Canada-related activity to be advertised on our calendar of events, or;
  • A UK-based academic studying issues relevant to Canada.

Grants and scholarships

The Foundation for Canadian Studies provides grants, travel awards and the funding of academic posts and scholarships at British universities.

The British Association for Canadian Studies has an up-to-date list of travel, research and scholarship awards.

Research Councils UK advertises research and funding opportunities for all UK research councils, including information on applications and deadlines.

Study in Canada and the UK

Education in Canada provides information for British students on studying in Canada, while our Studying in the UK webpage is for Canadians.


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