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Discover How Asia Matters Across Canada
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British Columbia

As the westernmost province and Canada’s gateway to Asia, British Columbia has been leading the country in building relationships with the Asia Pacific region. BC government officials have visited Asia on numerous occasions over the last several years, and Asia has been identified as a priority region for the province, in order to help reduce its reliance on trade with the U.S.

Did you know that in 2014, BC exported more than any other province to Asia? The value of its exports accounted for 29% of Canada’s total exports to the region.

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Alberta has increasingly been courting Asia both for investment and for new export markets, particularly for its vast reserves of oil and gas. The province doesn’t trade much with Asia but it has expressed the need to diversify its exports away from the United States.

Did you know that since 2012 Alberta has had more official visits to Asia than any other province, and 9 of the province’s twelve trade offices are in Asia? To promote the province’s interests in the region it has a Senior Representative for the Asia Pacific Basin.

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Asia is becoming an increasingly important region for Saskatchewan, which recognizes the need to diversify its economy. Asia is the province’s second largest export destination and import source. The province has strong social ties to Asia as well, and it maintains Canada's second oldest sister province relationship with China.

Did you know that 58% of Saskatchewan’s pea and lentil exports went to South Asia in 2011, making it the province's biggest market for pulses, or that in 2014, Asian nationals accounted for 53% of the province’s international students?

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Manitoba is acting upon the opportunities in Asia, particularly in India and China, having appointed various trade representatives of trade, and maintaining two sister province relationships with China.

Did you know that Manitoba’s exports to Asia grew by 197% from 2000 to 2015? The agriculture industry is the main export industry, contributing $1.62 billion in 2015.

Did you know that in 2014, 68% of Manitoba’s immigrants came from Asia?

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Over the last few years, Ontario has become increasingly connected to Asia, both in terms of trade and in people-to-people connections. Exports to and imports from Asia have increased dramatically. Ontario is a leader among provinces in people-to-people links: it has the second largest number of sister city agreements with Asia, as well as the largest population of Canadians which speak an Asian language as a mother tongue.

Did you know almost two-thirds of new immigrants arrive from Asia and the Middle East, and the largest visible minority groups in Ontario are of South Asian and Chinese descent?

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Quebec has had a longtime presence in Asia; it opened its first trade office in the region in Japan in 1973. Over the past few years, la belle province has built substantial linkages with many Asian countries and is increasingly trading with this part of the world. Quebec’s trade with Asia has grown by 235% since 2000.

Did you know that 36% of Quebec’s exports to Asia go to China?

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Newfoundland and Labrador

As one of the newer energy producing provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador has worked towards greater collaboration with Asian partners, many of whom are from countries which are global leaders in energy. NL has also established strong trade and investment ties in mining and fishing, both of which are large provincial industries. Nonetheless, the province has the lowest percentage of Asian visible minorities among the provinces.

Did you know China was the province’s second largest importer of seafood in 2012?

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New Brunswick

New Brunswick has increasingly recognized opportunities in the Asia Pacific region. The province has recently sent trade missions to Asia in order to attract investment in energy, mining, and information technology. While the % of exports to the region remain low (3.2%), in 2013 Asia overtook Europe as the province’s second largest export destination. New Brunswick hopes to use the Atlantic Gateway to increase market diversification to Asia.

Did you know immigrants from South Korea, China, and India make up almost half of the province’s economic migrants?

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Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is taking a multi-faceted approach to increasing its connections with Asia. For, example, in 2016, the province launched a China Engagement Strategy. As home to one of North America’s most important ports, the Port of Halifax, the province has found ways to connect with Asia; it is the only province to have a sister port agreement with an Asian country.

Did you know almost half of all container cargo moving through the Port of Halifax arrives from, or is destined for, Asia?

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Prince Edward Island

Despite being commonly associated with Anne of Green Gables, which featured a romanticized rural Canada, Prince Edward Island has a growing Asia Pacific identity and has increased its links to the region in recent years. The province has participated in a number of trade delegations to Asia and has attempted to attract tourists as well as highly skilled immigrants from the region.

Did you know that among the Atlantic provinces, PEI has the highest percentage of visible minorities of Asian heritage?

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Yukon is a leader among the territories in terms of engagement with Asia. It has increasingly marketed itself as a gateway, strategically situated between Asian and North American shipping lanes. It is also strong in people-to-people connections with Asia; it has the fifth largest percentage of Asian visible minorities amongst all territories and provinces, and tourists from Asia have increased significantly, many of whom visit to see the northern lights.

Did you know that Yukon became the only territory to have a sister province agreement with Asia when it established ties with Shaanxi, China?

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Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories’ future as an energy producer has meant that the territory needs to increase its interactions with international markets, particularly those in Asia. The territorial government recently sent trade delegations to Asia to attract energy investment. The territory, which has the world’s third largest diamond industry and a large fur industry, will find further opportunities arising from Asia’s booming middle-class in the coming years.In 2015, the territory released its “China Strategy and Action Plan” designed to strengthen China-NWT cooperation.

Did you know that 70% of the furs produced by the Northwest Territories go to China?

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Nunavut has aimed to increase its global reputation in cultural, economic, and environmental issues. The territory recognizes the importance of Asia to the future development of its resources, and the territory may become strategically important as melting sea-ice permits use of the Northwest Passage as new shipping lanes between Asia, Europe, and North America. The use of Arctic shipping routes could potentially reduce shipping distances between Asia and Europe by 40%.

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As Asia continues as the main engine of global growth, Canada is increasingly looking to intensify its ties with the region. The Government of Canada has launched a variety of economic and diplomatic initiatives, supported by the majority of Canadians, in order to strengthen economic and political relations in the Asia Pacific. This includes the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, which is Canada’s first free trade agreement with an Asian market, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) which was signed in March 2018.

Did you know that in 2016, nearly half of all immigrants to Canada came from Asia? According to the latest national census, one out of every seven Canadians is of Asian background.

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System Messages



  • Asia's Importance

    Canada’s interactions with Asia have increased over the past few years. The Government of Canada has described the Asian Pacific as being full of new opportunities for the country’s prosperity and as having immediate and profound implications for Canada.

    The Government has made Asia one of its top foreign policy priorities and an integral part of its trade agenda. Canada’s engagement in the region focuses on:

    • Trade
    • Deepening relations with Asian partners
    • Regional security
    • Promoting Canadian values

    Canada has been increasing its trade relationships with Asian markets. The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement became the country’s first FTA with an Asian country as of January 1, 2015. In early 2016, International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In March 2018, Canada and ten other Asia-Pacific countries signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Canada also has Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (FIPAs) with China, Thailand and the Philippines.

  • Official Representation

    Canada holds diplomatic and consular offices in 24 economies throughout Asia. In total, it has 18 High Commissions and Embassies, 23 Consulates and Consulate-Generals, 1 Trade Office located in Taiwan, and 2 Office of the Embassies in Cambodia and Laos. As well, Canada relies on 50 Trade Commissioner Service offices in 22 economies throughout Asia.

    While Canada is not yet present in every country in the region, Canada and Australia share a consular services agreement. Australian diplomatic offices in countries without a Canadian office may supply citizen services to Canadians abroad, and vice-versa.

    In 2016, the federal government appointed its first Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), highlighting the importance of Southeast Asia to Canadian foreign policy.

    To see a larger map, please click here.

  • Twinning Relationships

    In total, Canada has established close to 150 sister city agreements with counterparts in the Asia Pacific. Among Asian countries, Japan has the highest number of sister city relationships (78) followed by China (42) and South Korea (11).

    Sister province agreements also exist between Canadian provinces/territories and Asian counterparts. Alberta leads the way with four agreements and it also has the oldest provincial twinning agreement in Asia. Also noteworthy is the Port of Halifax’s 2013 sister port agreement with the Port of Shenzen in China.

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Did You Know...


From 2000 to 2014, the top three countries for immigration were China, India, and the Philippines,

which together made up 36% of all immigrants coming to Canada.

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