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Canada and the United Kingdom relations

Fact Sheet | PDF version (200 KB)

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

Political Relations

Our relationship benefits from a Canada-UK Action Plan that outlines the enduring strength of our ongoing cooperation

Canada and the UK share a sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and are among the oldest parliamentary democracies in the world. The relationship between our two countries continues a long tradition of strategic partnership. We fought alongside one another in 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 our security relationship, which includes military, law enforcement, and intelligence cooperation.

Canada and the UK work closely together in many international organizations. Ours 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 commitment to international development. We work very closely in areas like gender equality, health, and education.

Canada and the UK are supporting people around the world 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. We work together promoting global efforts to ensure strong, sustainable and balanced growth, sound fiscal management, healthy financial sectors and regulatory systems, and open markets. Our 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 enjoyed a long and strong commercial relationship.

The UK is Canada’s most important commercial partner in Europe and our fifth largest globally. Two way merchandise trade in 2019, reached $29.04 billion.

The UK is an important source of foreign direct investment for Canada, ranking third after the United States and the Netherlands. There are more than 700 UK firms that have a presence in Canada that continue to contribute to our growing economy. The UK is Canada’s second most important destination for investment abroad. There are more than 1100 UK firms owned or controlled by Canadian interests. Canada and the UK have strong partnerships in science, technology and innovation.  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. We tend to concentrate resources in large, collaborative, interdisciplinary programmes that meet global societal and economic challenges. These programmes include 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. This collaboration is reinforced by the MoU on Science, Technology, and Innovation announced in 2017.

Following Brexit, the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement was signed and introduced in the House of Commons as Bill C-18 on December 9, 2020. Canada and the U.K. have put in place temporary measures that ensure continued preferential tariff treatment for goods shipped between both countries until the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement enters into force.

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, our defence ministries have worked closely with international allies on conflicts across the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.

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. Our common 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. 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 our security relationship. This includes intensive military, law enforcement, and intelligence co-operation. This partnership provides a broad and mutually beneficial level of information exchange on the widest possible range of global security issues and challenges. As members of the Five Eyes Intelligence Community, Canada and the UK work closely to ensure our mutual national security.

Today, our relationship is an important element in the campaign against international terrorism and in the promotion of democracy, the freedom of speech/press, and human rights..

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