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Canada and Ukraine

Canada is a vital partner in the security and future of Ukraine. It is home to one of the largest communities in the Ukrainian disapora.

Total commitments

5.779bn € (Rank: 8)

0.319% of GDP (Rank: 18)

Humanitarian commitments

Military commitments

2.075bn € (Rank: 8)

0.114% of GDP (Rank: 18)

Humanitarian commitments

0.273bn € (Rank: 12)

0.015% of GDP (Rank: 24)

Financial commitments

3.432bn € (Rank: 4)

0.189% of GDP (Rank: 4)

1. Recognition of Ukraine: December 2, 1991 (Canada was the first Western nation to recognize Ukraine’s independence)

 2. Establishment of diplomatic relations: January 27, 1992 

 3. Political cooperation 

Canada is one of Ukraine’s oldest and most reliable allies, being the first country in the Western hemisphere to acknowledge Ukraine’s independence on December 2, 1991. Ukraine and Canada cultivate friendly relations as partner nations, guided by a distinctive partnership outlined in the Joint Declaration of March 31, 1994.

Canada upholds the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our state, notably by offering extensive assistance in countering Russian aggression. Canada consistently backs Ukraine’s integration into NATO and the EU. This stance of supporting Ukraine enjoys bipartisan and consensus support within the Canadian political establishment.

The Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group was established within the Parliament of Canada. In February 2015, a comparable friendship group was established in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Since the onset of Russian aggression against Ukraine in 2014, Canada has maintained a resolute and unwavering stance. Canada unequivocally condemns Russia’s aggression and lends support to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, including refusing to recognize Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea.

Canada actively supports Ukraine’s stance in countering Russian aggression within the framework of international organizations.

From the first day of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Canadian side has actively pursued the utmost international isolation of Russia through various means. Alongside other nations, Canada declared a boycott of russia within the Arctic Council, advocated for the suspension of russia’s membership in Interpol and the G20. Canada was a co-author of the resolution of the UN General Assembly on the exclusion of Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.

On April 27, 2022, the House of Commons, and on April 28, 2022, the Senate of the Parliament of Canada unanimously passed resolutions recognizing Russia’s actions in Ukraine as genocide against the Ukrainian people.

Furthermore, on May 18, 2022, the House of Commons of the Parliament of Canada unanimously adopted a resolution acknowledging the deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1944 as genocide and designated May 18 as the official day of remembrance for the Crimean Tatar genocide.

Since 2014, Canada has implemented and subsequently expanded sanctions against Russia and Belarus in response to their aggression against Ukraine. Extensive sector-specific sanctions have been imposed on entities within the banking sector, defense-industrial and fuel-energy complexes, as well as propaganda organizations affiliated with Russia.

In light of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, Canada has imposed targeted sanctions on approximately 3,000 individuals and legal entities from Russia. This includes sanctions on the Russian President, Members of Parliament, officials, military personnel, oligarchs and their families, federal ministries and departments, Russian state banks, sovereign funds, oil and gas companies, military-industrial and defense sectors, as well as media and propaganda entities.

Furthermore, Canada has revoked the most favored nation treatment for Russia, resulting in an automatic 35% increase in the price of all goods imported from Russia and Belarus. Additionally, Canada has implemented a ban on the import of Russian oil and oil products.

To prevent the potential military use or production of military goods, Canada has banned the export of goods, technologies, materials, metals, compounds, raw materials, and technological products to Russia and Belarus.

Moreover, Canada has implemented additional measures, including closing Canadian airspace to Russian and Belarusian airlines, as well as blocking access to Canadian ports for Russian vessels.

Pioneering global efforts, Canada enacted legislation in June 2022 that allows for the seizure of Russian assets, transferring them to a foreign state for (1) rebuilding the state, (2) restoring international peace and security, and (3) compensating victims of violations of international peace and security, human rights abuses, or corruption. On December 19, 2022, Mélanie Joly, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, announced the initiation of the first asset confiscation process, targeting russian assets worth 26 million USD held in the accounts of “Granite Capital Holdings Ltd,” owned by Russian citizen Roman Abramovich. During Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to Ukraine on June 10, 2023, Canada announced the issuance of an order for the seizure and confiscation process of the Russian AN-100 aircraft operated by Volga-Dnepr Airlines in favor of Ukraine.

On September 28, 2022, the Canadian Senate unanimously passed a resolution denouncing the pseudo-referendums in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. Concurrently, during the plenary meeting of the 41st session of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly on the same day, Russia’s re-election to the ICAO Council for the next three years was rebuffed.

Furthermore, on January 30, 2023, the Canadian Parliament (House of Representatives) and subsequently on February 7, 2023, the Canadian Senate unanimously adopted a resolution urging the Canadian government to promptly classify the Wagner Group as a terrorist organization.

The total amount of military, financial, and humanitarian aid provided by Canada to Ukraine since the onset of Russia’s full-scale illegal aggression exceeds 8 billion CAD.

Since 2015, the Canadian Military Training Mission in Ukraine (UNIFIER) has been training personnel from the Armed Forces and National Guard. The primary objective of this mission is to enhance Ukraine’s defense capabilities and facilitate alignment with NATO standards. Over 37,000 Ukrainian military personnel were trained through Operation UNIFIER.

On May 20, 2022, Canada joined as a co-author of the Joint Statement of 41 states and the EU. This statement expressed support for Ukraine’s legal action against Russia at the UN International Court of Justice and conveyed intentions to explore all possible means of supporting Ukraine throughout the litigation process.

To aid the investigation into crimes committed by Russian troops in Ukraine, Canada announced on May 26, 2022, its intention to contribute 1 million CAD to the ISS Trust Fund specifically designated for addressing sexual and other forms of gender-based violence and crimes against children. Later, in December 2022, Canada announced an additional allocation of 1 million CAD to the ISS Trust Fund for the same purposes.

On December 7, 2022, Canada, in collaboration with the Kingdom of the Netherlands, invoked Article 63 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, jointly applying to the Court’s Secretariat to initiate proceedings regarding charges of genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Ukraine vs. the Russian Federation).

On December 28, 2022, the International Coordination and Response Team for Assistance to the Victims of Flight PS752, composed of Canada, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, released a joint ministerial statement outlining specific measures to hold Iran accountable for the unlawful downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752.

On January 21, 2023, Canada joined the Core Group of Partners to hold Russia accountable, including the creation of a Special International Tribunal for the crime of Russian aggression against Ukraine. Additionally, on February 25, 2023, Canada became part of the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group for Ukraine (ACA), collaborating with the United States, the EU, and the United Kingdom.

During the spring session of the ICAO Council in Montreal on March 17, 2023, a hearing took place to consider russia’s preliminary objections. Russia had challenged the jurisdiction of the ICAO Council to hear the MH17 case, which involved an application by Australia and the Netherlands against Russia under Article 84 of the Chicago Convention. Following a secret ballot, the ICAO Council overwhelmingly rejected Russia’s objections with 22 votes in favor, 3 against, and 10 abstentions, thus affirming the Council’s jurisdiction to handle the MH17 case.

On March 31, 2023, Canada joined the Bucha Declaration, an agreement resulting from the Bucha Summit, which established a Special Tribunal to address the crime of aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine.

At the Council of Europe Summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, on May 17, 2023, Canada became a Founding Associate Member of the Council of Europe (CoE) Register of Damages Caused by the Russian Federation’s Aggression Against Ukraine. This registry serves as a legal mechanism and an important initial step toward ensuring justice for Ukraine, including reparations for the substantial damages caused by Russia’s aggression.

During the visit of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Ukraine on June 10, 2023, the President of Ukraine and the Prime Minister of Canada adopted the Joint Declaration of Ukraine and Canada. The document, in particular, emphasizes Canada’s support for Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations, including for establishment of the NATO-Ukraine Council as a venue to further increase and expand ongoing cooperation as well as for Ukraine’s NATO membership as soon as conditions allow for it.

To help newly arrived Ukrainians seeking temporary protection from the Russian war, Canada launched the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) federal program. This program streamlines the visa application process for Ukrainian citizens and their eligible family members, granting them the right to reside, work, and study in Canada for three years.

 

4. Trade and economic cooperation

Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine had a decisive impact on bilateral trade and economic relations. According to the State Statistics Service of Ukraine in 2022, the volume of trade in goods and services with Canada decreased by 34.9% to 367.2 million USD. Exports decreased by 30.9% to 194.2 million USD, while imports decreased by 38.8% to 172.9 million USD. The balance of trade in goods and services was positive for Ukraine and amounted to 21.3 million USD.

In 2022, trade in goods between Ukraine and Canada decreased by 35.3% to 272.3 million USD. Exports of Ukrainian goods decreased by 34% to 105.7 million USD, while imports of Canadian goods decreased by 36.1% to 166.6 million USD. The negative balance is 60.8 million USD.

In 2022, the volume of bilateral trade in services decreased by 33.7% to 94.8 million USD. Exports amounted to 88.5 million USD and decreased by 26.8%, while imports decreased by 71.3% to 6.4 million USD. The balance was positive for Ukraine – 82.1 million USD.

Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) entered into force on August 1, 2017. Parties are working on expanding CUFTA’s provisions to cover services and investment.

The development of bilateral trade relations is also fostered by the Canadian-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce.

The total volume of Canadian direct investment (equity and debt instruments, according to the National Bank of Ukraine) in the Ukrainian economy in January-September 2021 amounted to 75 million USD.

 5. Cultural and humanitarian cooperation

The special character of Ukrainian-Canadian cooperation in the cultural and humanitarian spheres is due to the presence of the huge Ukrainian diaspora in Canada, which reaches almost 1.4 million people and has an extremely developed system of public and cultural organizations, research and development institutions, museums, art groups, art associations and more. This promotes the active development of direct interpersonal contacts between citizens and non-governmental organizations of Ukraine and Canada.

Ukrainians make up 3.87% of the country’s total population. In terms of its size, the Ukrainian community in Canada is the second largest group of Ukrainians living outside of Ukraine.

Ukrainians in Canada have created a large number of public and religious associations, dance ensembles, Ukrainian choirs, amateur theatres, financial institutions, sports clubs, etc. In total, more than 1,000 Ukrainian organizations of various kinds operate on the territory of Canada. The main cities of organized Canadian-Ukrainian life are Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Regina, and Saskatoon.

The Ukrainian community of Canada preserves and increases the Ukrainian cultural heritage – language, culture, customs, and traditions, which have become part of the Canadian heritage.

Every year, about 10 different Ukrainian festivals take place in different cities in Canada. The oldest of them is the Canadian National Ukrainian Festival, which has been held in Dauphin, Manitoba, since 1965. The largest Ukrainian festival in North America is the annual Ukrainian Festival in Toronto.

Canadian Ukrainians provide substantial humanitarian, financial, and material assistance to Ukraine in the context of countering Russian aggression.

With the start of the full-scale war of Russia against Ukraine, the efforts of the Ukrainian community managed to collect about 52 million CAD from 72 thousand donors. Funds were collected thanks to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal initiative through the officially registered charity organization Canadian-Ukrainian Foundation.

6. Scientific and educational cooperation

The Canadian-Ukrainian Parliamentary Program (CUPP) has been in place since 1991, under which each year up to 30 students from Ukrainian universities undergo two-month internships in the offices of members of the Canadian Parliament. This program is funded entirely by the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada through the Foundation for Ukrainian Studies.

There are departments of Ukrainian studies established at such Canadian universities as

7. Legal framework

More than 50 bilateral agreements have been signed between the countries.

Key documents:

Agreement on Friendship and Cooperation between Ukraine and Canada (signed on October 24, 1994)

Agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of Canada on the promotion and protection of investments (signed on October 24, 1994)

Agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of Canada on economic cooperation (signed 24.10.1994)

Free Trade Agreement between Ukraine and Canada (signed on 11.07.2016)

Joint Declaration by Ukraine and Canada (signed on 10.06.2023)

In 2019, preliminary technical consultations on the extension of the bilateral Free Trade Agreement to the sphere of services and investments were completed. In January 2022, the parties officially started negotiations on the extension of the Agreement.

During the visit of the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal to Canada on April 11, 2023, the following documents were signed: the Declaration on the finalization of the negotiation process on the modernization of the CUFTA Free Trade Agreement, the Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ukraine on Youth Mobility, the Memorandum on cooperation in the field of uranium mining and the Agreement between NAEC “Energoatom” and the Canadian company CAMECO to implement the program of using Ukrainian uranium in the production of nuclear fuel for NPPs of Ukraine.

8. Ukrainian diaspora

Some 1.4 million people of Ukrainian origin live in Canada. Ukrainians make up 3.87% of the country’s total population. The Ukrainian community in Canada is the second largest group of Ukrainians living outside Ukraine.

The highest coordinating and representative body of Canadian Ukrainians is the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 2012, its National Office was opened in Ottawa.

Toronto is home to the headquarters of the Ukrainian World Congress, which represents the interests of more than 20 million Ukrainians in 64 countries.

Canadian Ukrainians provide significant humanitarian, financial, and financial support to Ukraine in the light of countering Russian aggression.

9. Diplomatic presence

Embassy of Ukraine in Canada

Consulate General of Ukraine in Toronto.

Consulate General of Ukraine in Edmonton

Photo from Zelenskyy TG, photo in Kyiv, Text of From Ukrainian Foreign Ministry

Surface-to-air missile systems and missiles Air-to-air missiles Towed howitzers Main battle tanks Engineering vehicles and equipment
  • Bergepanzer 3 ARV [March 2023].[46]
  • 2 GCS-200 remote controlled mine clearing vehicles [May 2023].[46]
Armoured personnel carriers (APCs) Infantry mobility vehicles
  • 208 Roshel Senators [Eight delivered in May 2022. 78 delivered in June 2023 A further 122 to be delivered in mid-2023].[48]
Forward-looking infrared (FLIR) turrets Anti-tank weapons Weapons
  • C8 carbines [February or March 2022].
  • 200+ C6 light and C9 medium machine guns [February or March 2022].[48]
  • 78 medium and heavy calibre sniper rifles [March 2022].[48]
  • 600 Glock 17 Pistols [February or March 2022].[48]
  • 40 ”Prairie Gun Works” sniper rifles [between April and June 2023].[50]
  • 38 7.62mm machine guns [to be delivered from June 2023 onwards].[48]
  • 21,000 5.56mm assault rifles [to be delivered from June 2023 onwards].[48]
Ammunition
  • M982 Excalibur GPS-guided rounds for M777 howitzer [April 2022].[51][46]
  • 40,000 155mm rounds for M777 howitzer [April, May and October 2022, February and March 2023].[48][47]
  • More than 1800 rounds of 105mm tank training ammunition (for Leopard 1 tanks donated by Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands).[47]
  • 10,000 rounds of 105mm ammunition [To be delivered].[49][48]
  • 3,000 84mm rounds for Carl Gustaf M2 [March and April 2022].[48]
  • 7,500 C13 hand grenades [March 2022].[48]
  • 3.9 million rounds of ammunition [delivered from February or March 2022 onwards].[46]
  • 100,000 120mm ammunition for The Leopard 2A4 [to be delivered].[46]
  • 3,500 Grad rockets (purchased by Canada from Serbian company and delivered to Ukraine) [2023].[52]
Military gear
  • CG634 helmets [March 2022].[48]
  • Body armour [March 2022].[48]
  • 1,600 fragmentation vests [March 2022].[46]
  • Gas masks [March 2022].[48]
  • Night vision goggles [March 2022].[48]
  • Personal protective and load carriage equipment [February or March 2022].
  • 500,000 sets of winter clothing [October and December 2022].[48]
Miscellaneous equipment
  • 10 155mm replacement barrels (for M777 howitzers) [June 2022].[48]
  • 16 radio stations for Leopard 2A4 MBT [to be delivered].[50]
  • Surveillance and detection equipment [February or March 2022].[46]
  • $22 million worth of satellite services [Since October 2022].[48]
  • 640,000 Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MREs) [Delivered since March 2022].[48]
  • Portable heaters [Since November 2022].[46]
  • Thermal blankets [Since November 2022].[48]
  • Sleeping bags [Since November 2022].[48]
  • Generators [Since 2022].[48]
  • Energy storage devices [Since November 2022].[48]
  • More than half a million pieces of winter clothing [Since November 2022].[48]
  • 3 Leopard 2 gunnery simulators [April 2023 onwards].[53]
  • Modular floatation bridges [To be delivered].[50]
  • 3.3 million litres of fuel [Since April 2023].[50]
Training
  • Training of more than 33,000 Ukrainian troops as part of Operation Unifier.[54]
  • Contribution to multinational efforts to train pilots, and maintain and support Ukraine’s F-16s [To be delivered].[49]
Financial aid:
  • CAN $2.45 billion for loans to Ukraine (including CAN $1.95 billion through the International Monetary Fund).[55]
  • CAN $620 million to the Government of Ukraine.[56]
  • CAN $35 million funding for mine clearing.[57]
  • CAN $6 million to support the loan’s implementation.[56]
  • CAN $950,000 in additional funding to a Canadian government project to provide technical support.[58]
  • CAN $900,000 to strengthen Ukrainian national bank.[59]
  • CAN $34.6 million for fuel and other equipment.[50]
  • CAN $541 million in new funding and projects to support Ukraine announced 12 July 2023.
  • CAN $48.8 million to the NATO Comprehensive Assistance Package announced 12 July 2023.
  • CAN 2.7 million in cyber security aid announced 12 July 2023.[60]
Humanitarian aid Supplies
  • An additional of CAN$100 million transferred in March 2022 for the basic needs of Ukrainians.[42]
  • $2 million for the completion of a dairy processing plant in Western Ukraine to support food security efforts[44]
  • $500 million to the Ukraine Sovereignty Bond which will assist with pensions, fuel and restoring energy infrastructure (November 2022).[45]
Energy aid