Canada-Lebanon bilateral relations are rooted in the strong ties generated by Canada’s Lebanese-Canadian community .

Canada-Lebanon relations

Canada established diplomatic relations with Lebanon in 1954, when Canada deployed an “Envoy Extraordinaire” to Beirut. Canada sent its first Ambassador to Lebanon in 1958. The Canadian Embassy in Beirut was closed in 1985 during the civil war, and reopened in January 1995.

Lebanon opened a consulate in Canada in 1946. This was replaced by a Consulate General in 1949. Lebanon opened its Embassy to Canada in 1958.

Canada-Lebanon bilateral relations are rooted in the strong ties generated by Canada’s Lebanese-Canadian community and the large Canadian diaspora in Lebanon. The first Lebanese immigrants arrived in Montreal in 1882. During the 1975-1990 civil war in Lebanon, Canada gave refuge to thousands of affected Lebanese. The community was estimated at 165,000 in the 2006 census, making it the largest ethnic Arab group in Canada. The evacuation in 2006 of Canadians from Lebanon was the largest in Canada’s history and spoke of the importance of this diaspora community. This relationship is strengthened by close cultural ties, and participation in La Francophonie.

The Lebanese-Canadian business communities in both Canada and Lebanon contribute significantly to bilateral commercial relations. In 2011, Canadian exports to Lebanon totaled $94 million, and imports totaled $17.4 million. In its 2011-2012 business plan, the Trade Section of the Canadian Embassy in Beirut identified agrifood and information and communication technology (ICT) as priority sectors in Lebanon for Canadian business. For more information, please visit the site for the office of the Trade Commissioner Service in Beirut.

Following the 2006 conflict, Canada contributed $30.5 million to respond effectively to humanitarian relief, early recovery, and stabilization needs in Lebanon. This was done, in part, in support of the UN Security Council resolution 1701 adopted to end the conflict through the Lebanon Relief Fund. In addition, at the 2007 International Conference of Support to Lebanon, Canada pledged an additional $20 million to support the Lebanese government as it worked to implement social and political reforms, focusing on democratic governance and the development of the private sector. The total Canadian contribution since 2006 to Lebanon’s relief, stability and prosperity, as part of a five-year assistance program, has amounted to more than 50M$. Canada’s development assistance to Lebanon was managed by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). CIDA no longer maintains a bilateral assistance program in Lebanon.

The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) supports projects proposed and implemented by local civil society organizations in Lebanon. In 2011, the CFLI priorities focused on the empowerment of women and protection of children and vulnerable groups and supported communities across Lebanon.

Canada strongly supports the Lebanese government’s efforts to strengthen democracy, justice and security in Lebanon. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) was established at the Hague in March 2009 under United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1757 in order to investigate the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Canada has contributed $4.7 million to the STL through DFAIT’s Global Peace and Security Fund, as well as being the vice-chair of its Management Committee which provides administrative and budgetary oversight.  Former Deputy Attorney-General of Canada Daniel Bellemare was the first prosecutor of the STL.  He was succeeded in 2012 by fellow Canadian, Norman Farrell. Canada supports the work of the STL as an independent judicial institution.

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