The Republic of Bulgaria and Canada established diplomatic relations on June 30, 1966. In 1967 a Bulgarian Embassy was opened in Ottawa, and in 1976 - a Consulate General in Toronto. Following the democratic changes in Eastern Europe, Canada's interest in the region increased and conditions were created for the establishment of a high-level dialogue. The first official visit of a Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs to Canada took place from April 24 to April 27, 2002. Subsequent visits by Bulgarian ministerial delegations in 2002 and 2003 helped build the framework for our bilateral political dialogue.
Canada has actively supported NATO enlargement and our country's efforts to join the Organisation. It was the first country to ratify the accession instruments for our NATO membership (March 28, 2003). Canada also supported Bulgaria's candidacy for membership in the European Union.
Maintaining a regular and dynamic political dialogue on all levels is one of the main priorities on our bilateral agenda. Deputy Prime Minister for Judicial Reform and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva travelled to Canada in September 2018 in order to take part in the Women Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (WFMM) in Montreal. During her visit, Minister Zaharieva also held a bilateral meeting with the Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie of Canada Melanie Joly.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Georg Georgiev conducted a successful visit to Canada from January 25 to February 1, 2020, which included official meetings with representatives of the federal and provincial administrations in the capital Ottawa as well as in the cities Montreal and Vancouver.
Bulgaria consistently supported the negotiation of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and Canada, of the other part. The two agreements were formally signed at the EU-Canada Summit in Brussels on October 30, 2016, and are subject to ratification by the individual EU Member States. The National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria ratified the SPA on December 6, 2018. CETA is being applied provisionally since September 21, 2017, and is currently in the process of ratification.
According to unofficial estimates, about 75,000 Bulgarians live and work in Canada. Approximately 20,000 of them reside permanently in the metropolitan area of Ottawa - Gatineau, in the province of Quebec and the eastern part of the province of Ontario. In addition, an increasing number of Bulgarian emigrants are settling in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta.
An Agreement on Social Security between the Republic of Bulgaria and Canada and an Administrative Agreement for its implementation were signed in 2012. An additional Agreement on Social Security between the Republic of Bulgaria and Quebec and an Administrative Agreement for its implementation were signed in 2019.
On December 1, 2017, Canada lifted visa requirements for short-term stays (up to six months) for business and tourism for all categories of Bulgarian citizens.
There are currently two Bulgarian Honorary Consuls appointed in Canada - in Montreal, Quebec and in Richmond, British Columbia. Canada does not maintain an Embassy in Sofia. Instead, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Canada to Romania is also accredited for Bulgaria. Canada has appointed an Honorary Consul in Sofia.