Canada-Philippines Relations

Canada’s Embassy in the Philippines is located in Makati City (Metro Manila). We also maintain a consulate in Cebu City.

The Philippines is represented in Canada by an Embassy in Ottawa and also maintains three consulates-general in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver. It has honourary consular offices in Edmonton, Winnipeg, St. John's, Charlottetown and Halifax.

Bilateral Relations

With diplomatic relations beginning in 1949, Canada and the Philippines marked their 70th year of strong and friendly bilateral relations in 2019.

The national interests of both countries align on many issues, which have resulted in regular collaboration in the multilateral system, such as ASEAN, United Nations, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the World Trade Organization. Canada supports efforts by the Philippines to advance inclusive and accountable governance, diversity, human rights, and the rule of law. Our countries work closely to maintain international peace and security. Joint efforts include responding to threats posed by international terrorist groups; discouraging the use of child soldiers by armed groups; combatting human smuggling and instances of online sexual exploitation of children; and improving biosecurity.

Ever-increasing people-to-people links between Canada and the Philippines contribute to the growth of both societies. According to the 2016 census, over 837-thousand people of Philippine origin live in Canada, while a growing number of Filipino citizens visit family and friends in Canada, study at Canadian colleges and universities or immigrate to Canada. A significant number of Canadians visit the Philippines each year for tourism, work, and family visits.   

Political and Economic Overview

The Philippines is a vibrant and developed democracy in Southeast Asia. Consisting of over 7000 islands, they cover almost 300-thousand square kilometres of land and have a population of approximately 110 million. The country is predominantly Christian Catholic with a minority Muslim population and a growing evangelical presence. The official languages of the Philippines are Filipino and English.

The economy of the Philippines is the 39th largest in the world, and is the 4th largest economy in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) after Indonesia, Thailand, and Singapore. It enjoys strong economic, democratic, and demographic fundamentals.

Trade and Investment

In 2018, Canada-Philippines bilateral merchandise trade totalled $2.43 billion, up from $2.24 billion in 2017. Canadian merchandise exports to the Philippines in 2018 amounted to $979.1 million, up from $842.5 million in 2017. Top exports include aerospace products, wood products, meat, and iron ore. In 2018, Canadian merchandise imports from the Philippines were valued at $1.5 billion, up slightly from $1.39 billion in the previous year. Gains were led by articles of copper, nuclear machinery, and toys and games.

Canada’s commercial activity in the Philippines includes a long-standing presence in the insurance sector and a limited presence in the extractive industry, while new business activity is occurring in the environmental services sector, including clean-tech, and the ICT sector. Canada’s stock in direct investments abroad in the Philippines in 2018 was approximately $2.1 billion. In addition, given mutual commercial interests and strong people-to-people ties, Canada has also become an attractive destination for investors from the Philippines.

Development

Canada’s International Assistance Program in the Philippines is focused on the thematic priorities of Growth that Works for Everyone and Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment – disbursing $17.5 million in 2017-2018. By maintaining a strong focus on women and girls, Canada has an enhanced presence and leadership position promoting gender equality and is well placed to continue supporting implementation of the Feminist International Assistance Policy and Sustainable Development Goals in the Philippines. Canada also supports the Philippines in relief efforts following natural disasters.

The Embassy of Canada in the Philippines also manages the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), a competitive grants program that provides direct funding assistance to Philippine organizations implementing local projects. In fiscal year 2019-2020, CFLI is supporting projects that will advance a number of priority themes, including the empowerment of women’s political leaders in jurisdictions across the country, the promotion of sustainable and peaceful pluralism in Mindanao, the reduction of instances of sexual and gender-based violence and discrimination, the improvement of access to the judicial system for marginalized groups, and developing mechanisms to improve the accountability of local governments. The Embassy has also contributed to promoting a free and responsible press in the Philippines for over twenty years through its Marshall McLuhan Fellowship Award, which recognizes the country’s leading journalists.

September 2019