Canada and Israel maintain close cooperation in areas of Industry, Research and Development, Security and Military. Few economic and diplomatic agreements were signed between the two countries and joint institutions and forums were established. Israel supplied Canada with a wide range of arms. Among others drones, radars, surveillance systems, prison security systems and cyber security.
Israel – Canada Relations
While Israel remains a relatively insignificant trade partner for Canada in overall terms, merchandise trade volumes between the two countries stand at $1.9 billion in 2018. Canadian merchandise imports from Israel stand at $1,3 billion (2016-2018 average) and Canadian service imports from Israel at $351 million in 2017. Canada’s top imports from Israel (2016-2018 average) are industrial machinery ($191m), Electrical and electronic equipment ($162m), Scientific instruments ($135.6m).
In 2021, trade between Canada and Israel was valued at nearly $1.8 billion, with exports from Israel to Canada including chemicals, electrical and mechanical machinery, plastics and food products.Canadian trade minister lauds ‘productive’ Israel trip, touts science, tech collab
Canada and Israel signed a Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) in 1996 and was amended in 2015. In 2018 they signed an updated free trade agreement that improved access to the Israeli market for Canadian companies.Canadian trade minister lauds ‘productive’ Israel trip, touts science, tech collab
The Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Fund (CIIRDF) The CIIRDF was established through a “Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Cooperation in Private Sector Industrial R & D Entered into by The Government of Israel and The Government of Canada” that was signed in August 1994 and was renewed in 2004. CIIRDF has financed more than 110 bilateral technology partnerships that engage more than 200 Canadian and Israeli companies. It enabled the joint development of more than 60 products since 2000. Another important institutionalized framework for cooperation is provided by the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA), which is a goods-only based agreement and Canada’s only FTA with a partner outside the Western hemisphere.Canadian and Israeli defense, industrial and homeland security ties
In 2016 an Ontario delegation visited Israel and signed a number of agreements worth over $100 million. The Ontario Business Mission to Israel signed 18 new agreements in among others green technology, medical technology and cybersecurity.Ontario delegation signs business agreements in Tel Aviv
In 2021, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs made an official visit to Israel and met the Israeli Prime Minister, Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Israel’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology.Minister Garneau concludes official visit with the Government of Israel
In 2022, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, visited Israel to meet Israeli government officials and discussed “ways to deepen their trade and commercial relationship and build on their existing collaboration around science and technology”.Canadian trade minister lauds ‘productive’ Israel trip, touts science, tech collab
Despite the generally understated and secretive nature of Canada-Israel security links, the situation began to change under Prime Minister Paul Martin (2003-2005), who actively began fostering closer ties with Israel. A number of important mutual visits by Canadian and Israel security establishment representatives took place that year:
- Delegation from Canadian Space Agency (CSA) visited Israel and signed a “Technology and Science Cooperative Agreement” with the Israel Space Agency (ISA).
- More than 70 police-chiefs visited Israel in 2005.
- The Israeli Air Force took part in 2005 in Canada’s annual “Maple Flag” exercise.
- A number of senior Canadian cabinet members visited Israel between 2006-2019 in order to attend specialized “security conferences”, among them: Foreign Affairs Minister, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency.
A large amount of arms and security technologies were supplied by Israel to Canada since 2001 (See Deal List).
Israel has stationed a Defense attaché in Ottawa, Canada since 2011, who represents the Israeli Military and serves as a liaison to the Canadian Armed Forces. Canada has its own attaché in Tel Aviv, Israel. In an Interview, Israel’s Defense attaché in 2019 said that “Israel defence industries sell to Canada an annual average of a little under US$100 million ($133 million) in military hardware, mostly radar and electronic warfare equipment”.Israeli defence attaché cultivates ties with Canadian military
In 2008 the “Declaration of Intent on public safety” was signed in Tel Aviv. The agreement outlines key areas of cooperation.
In 2012 the Chief of General Staff of the Israeli Army, L.G. Benny Gantz, visited Canada and met his Canadian counterpart and discussed “the importance of strengthening the security cooperation between the two countries”.IDF Chief of the General Staff Concludes Official Visit to Canada
In 2013 and 2016 Commanders of the Royal Canadian Air Force traveled to Israel and visited the Israeli Air Force. They visited different air bases, hold official meetings and witnessed different exercises.RCAF Commander Visits Israel Commander of Canadian Royal Air Force Visits Israel
In 2020 Canada made a $36m deal with Elbit to purchase Hermes-900 drones for maritime activity in Canada’s Arctic. The Hermes 900 StarLiner, a civilian version of Elbit’s medium-altitude long-endurance military drones, will join Transport Canada National Aerial Surveillance Program aircraft fleet. It is expected to be delivered by December 2022. In addition to the drone itself, the $36.16‑million contract includes communication links, ground control stations, sensor packages, training and the optional purchase of spare parts.Canada buys Israeli drone for Arctic maritime surveillance
In June 2022, Elbit Systems announced it had signed a MoU with Rheinmetall Canada for developing a solution for Canada’s Joint Fire Modernization (JFM) project.Elbit, Rheinmetall Canada sign MOU for Canada’s Joint Fire Modernization Project
2022 – Israeli and Canadian Air Forces conducted together with other countries a joint training at the Palmachim Air Base in Israel and over the eastern Mediterranean Sea.Israeli Air Force conducts joint training with different countries
2014 – Israel, the U.S and Canada held a joint aerial drill.Israel, U.S., and Canada to Hold Joint Aerial Drill This Summer
2013 – Canadian and Israeli navies participated in joint training exercises in the Gulf of Aqaba. Israel used the Sa’ar 4.5-class missile boat (manufactured by Israel Shipyards Ltd.) for the training.Canadian, Israeli navies team up for joint exercise
CANSEC 2019 – Elbit
CANSEC 2018 – Elbit, Embassy of Israel
A number of CIIRDF projects have focused on the development of technologies relevant to the Homeland Security sector, including in the fields of surveillance and cutting-edge robotics. Israel companies that are involved in partnerships with Canadian companies: InfoWarp Systems, IAI Lahav, ODF Optronics, Visual Defence, Opteam X, Hi-G-Tek, A.G.M, Green Vision Systems, OzVision, NICE Systems.
In 2017 the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) concluded an agreement with Israel Advanced Technology Industries for their members to collaborate in areas of joint interest, including in cybersecurity.CATA to hold sessions for boosting Canada’s cyber security sector
In 2018 the Royal Bank of Canada invested $2 million in research at Ben Gurion University’s Cybersecurity Research Center.Royal Bank of Canada Invests $2 Million in Israeli Academic Cybersecurity Research
In 2020, the Israeli company Corsight AI, that develops facial recognition technologies raised $5 million from Awz Ventures, a Canadian fund focused on intelligence and security technologies.Corsight makes its industry debut with launch of global operations The president of Awz Ventures is Stephan Harper, former Canadian Prime Minister and big supporter of Israel.Former Canadian PM promotes Israel investments Awz, founded by Yaron Ashkenazi, a former Israel Security Agency operative, specializes in investments in Israeli security startups, and manages over $100 million through two funds that it has launched. It invested in over 12 Israeli companies including Corsight, Pcysys, MinerEye, NanoLock, Octopus, Cervello, Assac, Valire, EnsureDR.Former Canadian PM promotes Israel investments
According to reports, Vivian Bercovici, Canada’s former ambassador to Israel, worked for the Israeli intelligence firm Black Cube after her diplomatic tenure ended.Former Canadian ambassador to Israel worked for Black Cube, an Israeli intelligence firm
In December 2022 Canadian and Israeli Cyber Force delegations made an official meeting in Canada.
Usage of Israeli Arms
Heron UAV – In use by Royal Canadian Air Force, Used in Kandahar in Afghanistan since January 2009.“The Israeli Heron UAV Helps Us Greatly in Afghanistan”
Skylark mini-UAV – In use be Royal Canadian Air Force. Designated: CU-168, 5 in service since 2006
EL/M-2084 multi-mission radar – in Canadian service since 2017
EL/M-2022A advanced surveillance sensors – are used on Canada’s C295 MSA Aircraft for the detection, localisation, classification and tracking of targets over water and land.
ELSAT 2100 SATCOM – In use of Canadian Armed Forces since 2014
SPS-65 RLWR – in use on CH146 Griffon helicopter, Royal Canadian Air Force.
Elbit’s Off board Electronic Counter Measure (ECM) Payload – supplied for the Hammerhead Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) as part of its Naval Off-Board Anti-Missile Active Decoy (NOMAD) Program.
UFED – Royal Canadian Mounted Police uses Cellebrite’s UFED to break into locked phones When Canadian cops need to break into an encrypted cellphone, they use this technology
BriefCam – Police in Thundar Bay, Canada, acquired BriefCam’s software in 2021. The software will be integrated into Thunder Bay’s Eye on the Street program, an expansion of the city’s closed-circuit camera surveillance system approved in 2022.BriefCam video search with limited facial recognition licensed by Canadian police force Eye on the Street software upgrade uses AI to speed up searches in Thunder Bay
Human Rights Violations
In March and April 2018, Citizen Lab, a University of Toronto-based technical research group, published two reports alleging that Canadian-made web-filtering technology is being exported to several repressive governments around the world where it is used to censor political speech, news, and dissident websites, and to block searches for keywords related to LGBT identities.HRW World Report 2019 – Canada
Despite widespread evidence of abuses in Yemen and Canadian policy guidelines that urge close control over exports of military equipment to countries with a record of human rights violations, the Canadian government continues to allow Canadian arms manufacturing companies to sell arms to the Saudi-led coalition. Human Rights Watch has documented repeated laws of war violations by the coalition in Yemen, some likely war crimes.HRW World Report 2019 – Canada
In September 2019, the Canadian government acceded to the international Arms Trade Treaty and faced increasing pressure from a coalition of civil society organizations to end its $15-billion arms contract with Saudi Arabia and release the findings of its 2018 review of military export permits to the kingdom.Arms exports to Saudi Arabia reach $1.2-billion in 2018, despite calls for Canada to suspend permits Canada has yet to suspend existing arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition despite policy guidelines urging close control over exports of military equipment to countries with a record of human rights violationsHRW World Report 2019 – Canada. The decision is paving the way for the approval of 48 pending export permits.Amnesty Report Canada 2021
National security reforms in June 2019 in Canada established a National Security and Intelligence Review Agency, strengthened oversight of Canada’s no-fly list and reversed some restrictive measures adopted in 2015, but also granted new mass surveillance powers to intelligence agencies.Amnesty Report Canada 2021
Despite guidelines requiring that children be held in immigration detention only in “extremely limited circumstances” or as a “last resort” under Canada’s immigration law, children are still detained in immigration detention in Canada. In 2018-19, 118 children were detained or housed in a detention center. While fewer children were held overall compared to 2017-18, the average time they spent in detention facilities rose.HRW World Report 2019 – Canada Despite the introduction of a National Immigration Detention Framework that aims to reduce the use of jails and improve detention conditions, Canada continues to confine many immigration-detainees in jails. According to the CBSA, 7,212 immigration-detainees were detained in holding centers in 2018-19, up from 6,609 the previous year.Annual detention, fiscal year 2019 to 2020