Bangladesh and Canada enjoy friendly relations grown over the length of more than four decades. Canada recognized Bangladesh on 14 February 1972 and was one of the first few countries to recognize Bangladesh after the victory on 16 December 1971. Canadian government, people and media expressed support for Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 1971. Eventually Bangladesh accredited its first High Commissioner to Canada in May 1972 and Canada reciprocated in September 1973. Canada supported Bangladesh’s membership to the Commonwealth on 18 April 1972 and co-sponsored resolution in the UN General Assembly supporting Bangladesh’s admission to the United Nations on 17 September 1974.
At the political level, bilateralism between the two countries began with the visit of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to Ottawa for attending the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting (CHOGM) in August 1973. The then Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau visited Bangladesh along with his son Justin Trudeau (present Prime Minister of Canada) in November 1983.
Canada’s development efforts in the post independent Bangladesh mainly involved reconstructions, rehabilitation, primary education, agriculture, rural development, water management, healthcare, and governance. Bangladesh and Canada have genuine cooperation in the international fora while working on women empowerment, climate change, migration, development assistance, regional security, and refugee. Canada greatly values Bangladesh’s role in the regional setting involving connectivity, economic cooperation, and counter terrorism.
Bangladesh’s commitment to implement Ottawa Convention (Anti-Personal Land Mine Ban Treaty) and its support during the elaboration of the Statute for International Criminal Court as well as UN Security Council resolution on Women, Peace and Security have further cemented the political relations with Canada.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with the Government of Saskatchewan to strengthen trade and commerce, food security, agricultural research, education, bio- and clean technologies, human resource development and employment.
Hon. Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina visited Canada in Sept. 2016 and June 2018 to attend 5th Global Fund Replenishment Conference and G-7 Outreach Leaders Programme respectively on the invitations of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. During the visit to Montreal in Sept. 2016, Bangladesh Prime Minister Hon. Sheikh Hasina handed over the “Friends of Liberation War” honour posthumously conferred upon the former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, to his son Prime Minister Hon. Justin Trudeau.
Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Chrystia Freeland visited Bangladesh to attend Organization of Islamic Cooperation Council of Foreign Ministers (OIC-CFM) meeting in Dhaka during May 2018.
Canada and Bangladesh share a strong academic connection, over the decades thousands of Bangladeshi students and researchers studied in Canadian universities and colleges. In recent times, an MoU was signed with McGill University Scholarship Programme under which about 40 Bangladesh scholars will attend PhD and Post-Doctoral programme.
Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) of Saskatchewan University signed two MoUs with Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council (BARC) and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU) on the research collaboration. A research center named ‘Bangabandhu-Pierre Trudeau Agricultural Research Center’ will be set up in Bangladesh and a research Chair named ‘Bangabandhu Research Chair’ will be set up in GIFS, Saskatchewan.
People-to-people contact between Canada and Bangladesh is expanding steadily. Bangladesh diaspora in Canadian would be around 120,000, who continue to make significant contributions to the mainstream Canadian society.