Armenians first began settling in Canada in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, particularly after the Genocide of 1915, in most cases escaping persecution. Following the liberalization of Canada’s immigration policies in the 1950s and 1960s, thousands of Armenians made their way into the country. Many came from unstable Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. Many more Armenians immigrated into Canada in the 1990s after the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Diplomatic relations were officially established between Canada and the Republic of Armenia on January 31, 1992. Armenia opened its embassy in Canada in January 1995, while Canada is officially represented in Armenia through the Embassy of Canada in Moscow and the Honorary Consulate in Yerevan, which was opened in 1997. In 2004, the House of Commons of Canada passed a motion acknowledging for the first time the Armenian Genocide and condemning it as a crime against humanity. Then, in 2006, Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper acknowledged the Armenian Genocide in a commemorative statement on April 20, marking the first time Canada recognized the historical fact on an executive level.
Bilateral relations between Armenia and Canada are characterized by high-level exchanges, close people-to-people ties and collaboration in international organizations such as La Francophonie. Bilateral trade has grown between the countries through agreements such as one on Trade and Commerce (1999), a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (1999) and a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (2005), and both are working to expand these ties, with several Canadian companies currently operating in Armenia, particularly in the natural resources and high-technology sectors.
The Armenian community of Canada is officially represented through the Armenian National Committee of Canada, founded in 1965, which, among other goals, seeks to foster public awareness about issues affecting the community in Canada and abroad while acting as an advocacy group on matters of interest to the Armenians of Canada.