Canada - Tunisia Relations

Canada - Tunisia Relations

Canada and Tunisia established diplomatic relations in 1957. The two countries enjoy excellent bilateral relations and are both members of La Francophonie. In 2016, Tunisian diaspora in Canada represented close to 20,000 people residing mainly in Quebec. Canada is a top destination for international education and attracts close to 2,000 Tunisian students annually.

Canada welcomes the progress Tunisia has made towards democratic reform since the Jasmine Revolution of January 2011, and has been working with the Tunisian Government and with the international community to support this political and economic transition. Canada continues to cooperate bilaterally with Tunisia on security issues, which have become a critical priority for the country during its transition to democracy. Canada also supports Tunisia’s long-term economic development, as well as with increasing foreign investments into the country.

In May 2012, Canada announced a $15 million contribution to a Transition Fund to provide grants and technical assistance to help accelerate economic and democratic reform efforts in Morocco, Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia as part of the Deauville Partnership. Canada is a key stakeholder in international financial institutions which are playing a key role in helping North African states achieve economic recovery and modernization.

Although Canada and Tunisia lack a bilateral extradition treaty, both are parties to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), which permit extradition in accordance with Canadian law and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canada has also introduced the law on Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials and the Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Tunisia), which gives effect to written requests from the Tunisian government to freeze assets placed in Canadian financial institutions by senior officials of the former regime, as well as their family members and associates.

Commercial Relations

Although commercial relations between Canada and Tunisia are relatively modest, Canada is committed to pursuing new opportunities to deepen business ties and expand investment in Tunisia. Tunisia presents notable commercial opportunities for Canada in the infrastructure, consulting engineering services, agriculture, education, information and communication technology and green technology sectors. Our two countries have begun negotiating a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). In 2016, our bilateral merchandise trade with Tunisia totaled $196.7 million. Tunisia ranked 81st among Canada’s bilateral trading partners in 2016. Tunisia is one of the priority countries identified in Canada’s International Education Strategy.

Canadian Programming

During the Tunisia 2020 conference that took place in November 2016, the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie publically announced a $20 million integrated support plan for Tunisia over a period of four year (2017-2021). The main pillars of this plan aim for: a) socio-economic reinforcement of vulnerable populations, notably women and girls in disadvantaged regions, through professional training, education and entrepreneurship; b) green and sustainable economic growth in order to create employment for youth and women; and c) inclusive and responsible governance in order to answer the needs of the most vulnerable populations, to reinforce the respect of human rights, and to promote women participation and representation in the Tunisian society.

Canada also announced $4 million in security to help fund projects under Canada's Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building (CTCB) assistance. These projects in place work in the fight against terrorism and target stability for the country. They focus on border security to limit the movement of foreign terrorist fighters, the need to combat the financing of terrorism and the resilience of communities struggling against violent extremism.

Travel Advisory

Global Affairs Canada recommends anyone considering travel to Tunisia to check its travel advice and encourages travellers to register with Registration of Canadians Abroad service when outside of Canada.