Canada is the second largest country in the world. It borders the United States to the south, and the US state of Alaska to the north-west. It is also next to the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic oceans. Canada’s hugely varied geography includes mountain ranges, highland plateaus with thousands of lakes and rivers, lowlands, plains and prairies. The Arctic region of the country has hundreds of islands.
- Region: Caribbean and Americas
- Population: 37 million (2018)
- Area: 10 million square kilometres
- Capital: Ottawa
- Joined Commonwealth: 1931, under the Statute of Westminster
- Commonwealth Youth Index: 4 out of 49 countries
Secretariat support for Canada
The Secretariat helped universities and colleges in Canada to build youth worker skills. This included help for youth work qualifications and a youth work degree.
The Secretariat helped Canada to set up a tool to report on the role of sport in achieving development goals. These include goals on gender equality, health and education.
The Secretariat helped Canada protect its oceans. In 2019, Canada announced a ban on industrial activities in its protected marine areas. It has included the Commonwealth’s Blue Charter Action Group activities in its budget and planning.
In March 2018, in Durban, South Africa, Canada worked with the Secretariat to make better connections with trading partners. They investigated reducing physical barriers to trade – for example, by improving infrastructure.
In November 2018, the Commonwealth and partners helped Canada’s civil society organisations learn about how to hold governments accountable on human rights.
Canada champions the Blue Charter Action Group on Ocean Observation.
The Action Group held its first meeting in May 2019 in Ottawa, Ontario. Members outlined priorities and an action plan, and agreed to hold annual meetings to review progress on the various initiatives planned.
In September 2019, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Jonathan Wilkinson, announced a tranche of $2.7 million to advance ocean observation through innovation and development, and to promote the sharing of data, knowledge and best practices amongst Commonwealth countries.
Canada is also a member of the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance, Ocean and Climate Change and Sustainable Blue Economy Action Groups.
Canada is a member of the Regulatory Connectivity cluster of the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda. The Connectivity Agenda is a platform for countries to exchange best practices and experiences to trade and investment and undertake domestic reform.
Canada in the Commonwealth
Canadian Arnold Smith was the Commonwealth’s first Secretary-General, from 1965 to 1975.
Three Canadians have won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize: Mordecai Richler, in 1990; Rohinton Mistry, in 1992 and 1996; and Lawrence Hill, in 2008. Eliza Robertson won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
The Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management has its HQ in Ottawa. The Commonwealth of Learning is based in Vancouver. The Commonwealth Journalists Association is based in Toronto.