More information about Canada is available on the Canada country page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
The United States and Canada share the world’s longest international border, 5,525 miles with 120 land ports-of-entry, and our bilateral relationship is one of the closest and most extensive. It is reflected in the high volume of bilateral trade – nearly $2 billion a day in goods and services – and in people-to-people contact – about 400,000 people cross between the two countries every day. In fields ranging from border and national security to global affairs to the opioid crisis to environmental protection to free trade, our two countries work closely together on multiple levels, from local/provincial to federal.
Coordination on Fight Against the Pandemic
The United States is working closely with the Canadian government and partners to combat the pandemic and plan for recovery. With regular calls between high-level officials, both sides discuss the challenges and best practices to respond to the global pandemic while continuing to support the economies and commerce. Canadian and U.S. companies are working together to develop potential treatments and vaccines to combat the coronavirus. Both countries are working to ensure that personal protective equipment is available to frontline workers, especially medical staff. Additionally, many companies in both countries have modified their manufacturing efforts to supply necessary medical equipment and other protective measures for the public such as plexiglass barriers.
Border and International Security
U.S. defense arrangements with Canada are more extensive than with any other country. The United States and Canada share North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) mutual defense commitments. U.S. and Canadian military forces cooperate on continental defense within the framework of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the world’s only binational military command. The Permanent Joint Board on Defense provides policy-level consultation on bilateral defense matters.
The United States and Canada work in partnership at, within, and beyond our borders to enhance security and economic competitiveness, and to accelerate the legitimate flow of people, goods, and services between our two countries. These efforts include collaboration along four lines of effort: addressing threats early; facilitating lawful trade and travel; enhancing law enforcement collaboration; and promoting resilience, including of critical infrastructure and cybersecurity. We encourage secure and lawful travel through trusted traveler programs including our joint NEXUS program with more than 1.8 million members. We have agreements that allow us to exchange information on visa and immigration applicants and travelers crossing our shared land border, which maintains the integrity of our immigration systems and enhances the security of both countries without causing delays at the border.
Extensive law enforcement collaboration includes risk assessment and analysis, incident management, and coordinated messaging. Successful joint law enforcement programs with Canada include the Border Enforcement Security Taskforces (BESTs), the integrated border enforcement teams (IBETS), and the Shiprider Integrated Cross Border Maritime Law Enforcement program, in which officers from both countries jointly patrol our shared waterways. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) conducts preclearance operations at eight airports in Canada, allowing air travelers to complete immigration, customs, and agriculture procedures before boarding their flights to the United States. The 2015 Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine, and Air Transport Preclearance Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Canada, which entered into force in August 2019, provides the legal framework and reciprocal authorities necessary for each country’s preclearance officers to carry out security, facilitation, and inspection processes in the other country. It enables expansion to new airport, marine, and rail locations consistent with the terms and conditions of the Agreement, including facility requirements and cost recovery provisions. It also enables co-location of officers at small and remote Ports of Entry along our shared land border and conversion of existing ferry and cruise ship immigration pre-inspection operations to full preclearance.
In addition to close bilateral ties, Canada and the United States cooperate in multilateral groups, including international efforts to combat terrorist financing and money laundering. The two countries belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, NATO, WTO, G7, G20, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Organization of American States, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Canada joined the United States and nearly 60 countries in recognizing Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaido in 2019.
The United States and Canada coordinate through the High-Level Policy Review Group, which last met in February 2020 at Mt. Vernon, Virginia. This group was launched in 2009 so that as close allies, Canada and the United States could coordinate actions in response to pressing global issues as well as work together on the global stage to bring peace, security, democracy, and the rule of law around the globe while rallying international support for shared goals. This year’s topics included China, NATO, Iran, the Middle East, North Korea, and Venezuela.
Canada released its Arctic and Northern Policy Framework in September 2019 that calls for increasing relations with Arctic countries and the United States in order to strengthen the international order, more clearly define Arctic boundaries, and clearly set regulations for management of Arctic resources. Not only does this framework address international issues, it also seeks to empower indigenous communities in Canada.
Canada and the United States have committed to a bilateral initiative to address the significant amount of opioid addictions and opioid-related deaths. A joint action plan, launched in January 2020, will help in combating the trafficking of opioids through law enforcement and border security cooperation, as well as address the health consequences of problematic opioid use. In addition to our joint work, the United States and Canada also participate in addressing opioid concerns through the G7 and the North American Drug Dialogue.
Transboundary Environmental and Natural Resource Issues
The United States and Canada cooperate closely to resolve and manage transboundary environmental and water issues. A principal instrument of this cooperation is the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty, which established the International Joint Commission. The United States and Canada have hundreds of environmental and natural resource partnerships at the local, state, and federal level. These include the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement to protect water quality and ecosystem health and the Columbia River Treaty regime. The Columbia River Treaty regime was developed to regulate the flow of the Columbia River to benefit both countries. The United States and Canada began negotiations in 2018 to modernize the treaty regime. The two countries also cooperate on a range of bilateral fisheries issues and international high seas governance initiatives as well as both countries are also founding members of the Arctic Council.
U.S. Assistance to Canada
The United States provides no foreign assistance to Canada.
United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement
The United States, Mexico, and Canada signed an agreement on November 30, 2018, to modernize the 24-year-old NAFTA into a 21st century, high-standard agreement. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) entered into force on July 1, 2020.
The USMCA updates the North American Free Trade Agreement originally put in place on January 1, 1994. In all three countries, it is expected to generate job opportunities, improve worker protections, increase agricultural trade, produce new investments in vital manufacturing industries, protect intellectual property rights, create a similar set of environmental standards across the three countries, and move into the 21st century with digital trade protections. These are just a few of the areas covered in the USMCA, now considered the new standard for U.S. trade agreements.
A key new requirement of USMCA is that there will be a formal review of the agreement at least every six years after July 1, 2020. These periodic reviews will enable the parties to ensure that the terms of the agreement remain beneficial for all parties, to review any emerging issues, and to make revisions as needed.
The United States and Canada enjoy the world’s most comprehensive trading relationship, which supports millions of jobs in each country. The United States and Canada traded goods and services worth $725 billion in 2019 – nearly $2 billion per day. Canada and the U.S. are each others’ largest export markets, and Canada is the number one export market for more than 30 U.S. States. In addition, Canada is the single-largest foreign supplier of energy to the United States. Canada holds the third-largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, and is the only non-Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member in the top five. Canada and the United States operate an integrated electricity grid under jointly developed reliability standards. Uranium mined in Canada helps fuel U.S. nuclear power plants.
Canada and the United States have one of the world’s largest investment relationships. As of 2018, the United States had a stock of $401 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Canada. U.S. FDI stock in Canada represents 46 percent of Canada’s total investment. Canada’s FDI stock in the United States totaled $511 billion. Canadian investment in the United States is concentrated in software and IT services, financial and business services, industrial machinery, and real estate.
The pioneering U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council seeks to stimulate more trade by increasing bilateral regulatory transparency and cooperation, and eliminating unnecessary differences and duplication that hinder trade and investment. In 2019, the U.S.-Canada Innovation Partnership was launched to create a stronger bilateral relationship in innovation, technology, research, science, and related areas.
In December 2019, the U.S.-Canada Critical Minerals Action Plan was finalized to provide security and future prosperity. This plan ensures there is a secure supply chain of materials for key industries, increases information sharing, and lays out methodology for working with the private sector and other countries. Canada is a major supplier to the United States of 14 of 35 critical minerals, and has the potential to become a major supplier of many more.
In March 2020, a new toolkit for the Energy Resource Governance Initiative (ERGI) was launched. Canada is a founding member of ERGI, a multinational approach to best practices for handling the key energy minerals necessary for the impending global energy transformation. The toolkit addresses mineral resource management, project development, production, and stewardship. It is available at www.ERGI.tools, as a collaborative resource for all mining stakeholders.
The United States and Canada share in their support of Fulbright Canada. The Fulbright program is a reciprocal residential exchange that provides opportunities for outstanding American and Canadian students, scholars, and independent researchers to study, lecture, and/or conduct research in the other country. A recent addition is the Fulbright Arctic Initiative, supporting scholars, researchers and professionals from Arctic Council member countries to carry out collaborative research on public policy questions related to the unique challenges of the Arctic region. Canada participates in the 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative, which seeks to increase student mobility between the United States and the countries of the Western Hemisphere. Canada is the fifth largest source of foreign students in the United States, with more than 25,000 Canadian students at U.S. higher education institutions. The United States is the sixth largest source of foreign students in Canada with approximately 15,000 students. Since 2013, at least 15 Canadian participants have traveled to the United States each year in the Youth Ambassadors program, a three-week leadership and development program.
Canada’s Membership in International Organizations
In addition to close bilateral ties, Canada and the United States cooperate in multilateral fora, including international efforts to combat terrorist financing and money laundering. The two countries belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, NATO, WTO, G7, G20, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Organization of American States, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
The United States and Canada share in their support of Fulbright Canada. The Fulbright program is a reciprocal residential exchange that provides opportunities for outstanding American and Canadian students, scholars, and independent researchers to study, lecture, and/or conduct research in the other country. Fulbright Canada offers awards for undergraduate students through the highly acclaimed Killam Fellowships program. Canada is one of the countries included under the 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative, which seeks to increase student mobility between the United States and the countries of the Western Hemisphere. Under the Youth Ambassadors program, high school students and adult mentors travel on a three-week leadership development program to the United States.
Principal U.S. embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List. The United States maintains an embassy in Ottawa and consulates in Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Vancouver, and Winnipeg.
More information about Canada is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here: