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Nelson Mandela made an honorary citizen of Canada in 2001.

Canada's World: Historic Timeline (2001-2005)


To fulfill the project’s goal to create a new story for Canada’s role in the world that reflected historical experiences, Canada’s World included an historic timeline exercise in many of its dialogue events, including the national dialogue. This exercise invited participants to document moments in Canada’s history that have contributed to the story of its role in the world.

Below are some major initiatives and events that participants included in their timeline activities that have affected Canadian foreign policy and Canada's role in the world from 1931 to 2009.

Browse the timeline by historical period:

You can also contribute to the Canada’s World citizens’ timeline here.

Historic Timeline:


April 20, 2001

  • Quebec city hosts the Summit of the Americas. Thirty-four heads of state and government from every country in the Americas (except Cuba) meet to discuss the creation of a free trade area. The summit is known for the protests and security that surrounded it, including the construction of a three-metre high concrete and wire wall around the meeting area. Over 20,000 protestors were present.

April 23, 2001

  • Canada concludes bilateral free trade discussions with Costa Rica.

September 11, 2001

  • Terrorists attack and destroy the World Trade Centre towers in New York City. Some 200 planes are diverted to Canadian airports across the country. Canadians provide assistance to thousands of stranded Americans and other passengers, particularly in Atlantic Canada.

December 2001

  • After September 11, 2001, increased security concerns over the Canada-U.S. border leads to the signing of the Smart Border Declaration between Canada and the United States.

December 20, 2001

  • The United Nations Security Council establishes the International Security Assistance Force for Afghanistan, a NATO-led mission of 36 nations intended to drive out the Taliban and help build a stable, democratic and self-sufficient Afghan society. Canada contributes troops and fighter pilots to this "coalition of the willing". The first major wave of Canadian soldiers lands in Afghanistan in February 2002.


March 2002

  • Canada hosts a pivotal meeting that produced consensus on the proposals for a new international certification scheme to help prevent the flow of conflict diamonds. In January 2003, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme for international trade in rough diamonds comes into effect worldwide.
  • The United Nations Conference on Financing for Development is held in Monterrey, Mexico; Canada announces it will increase official development assistance spending by 8 per cent.

April 2002

  • The first Canadians are killed in the war in Afghanistan, in a "friendly fire" incident involving two American pilots.  Four soldiers are killed and eight are injured.

June 26-28, 2002

  • The Group of Eight Summit is held in Kananaskis, Alberta. The G8 launces The Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. Canada commits over $10 billion over 10 years, beginning in 2003. The principles of the Global Partnership were endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2002, in resolution 57/68. Also, the G8 commits to an action plan in response to Africa's launch of New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).  Canada launches its flagship program, the $500-million Canada Fund for Africa.

December 17, 2002

  • Canada ratifies the Kyoto Protocol (signed April 1998).


January 31 – February 1, 2003

  • Canada hosts the "Ottawa Initiative on Haiti", a gathering of all the "major players" in Haiti including Canadian, French, U.S., and Latin American officials, excluding any representatives from the democratically elected government of Haiti. It is suggested that this conference reached a consensus on the need to remove Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power.

February 2003

  • Canadian Philippe Kirsch is elected a judge of the International Criminal Court.

March 20, 2003

  • The U.S. begins dropping missiles on Baghdad, Iraq, marking the start of a campaign to drive out Saddam Hussein. Under the leadership of the Liberal Party, Canada opts not to join the U.S.-led coalition against Iraq.

November 6, 2003

  • Canada ratifies the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea.

December 2003

  • Canada is invited to participate in a subgroup of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), launched earlier in the year by the U.S. to build on efforts by the international community to prevent and control the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The PSI is an activity, not an organization, and focuses on practical cooperation such as intelligence sharing.














February 2004

  • Prime Minister Paul Martin announces the creation of the Canada Corps. The primary goal of the Canada Corps is to send young Canadians abroad to help build solid institutions that allow countries to meet the challenge of managing their own development. Many envision it as a Canadian version of the American Peace Corps. In 2006 it is absorbed into the Office for Democratic Governance.

March 5, 2004

  • Canada announces a plan to send 450 troops as well as helicopters to Haiti.

April 14, 2004

  • Prime Minister Paul Martin announces that Canadian forces in Afghanistan will extend their mission into the summer of 2005.

June 9, 2004

  • Canada and Russia sign the Agreement Concerning the Destruction of Chemical Weapons, the Dismantlement of Decommissioned Nuclear Submarines, and the Physical Protection, Control and Accountancy of Nuclear and Other Radioactive Material (the Agreement).










  • Canada's International Policy Statement and Budget includes: 
  1. $425 million to support the immediate humanitarian response to the Asian tsunami disaster and long-term reconstruction. Canada becomes the fifth-largest international aid contributor to countries devastated by the Asian tsunami, behind Australia, Germany, Japan, and the U.S..
  2. Boosting international assistance by $3.4 billion over the next five years with the goal of doubling assistance from 2001-02 levels by 2010-11. This includes an increase in aid to Africa over the next five years, doubling its 2003-04 African aid level by 2008-09.
  3. $1 billion to further strengthen Canada's national security.

February 24, 2005

  • Despite earlier indications that suggested Canada might take part in ballistic missile defence, the Martin Government announces that Canada will not be participating in the BMD program.

March 2, 2005

  • Canada endorses the Paris Declaration, an international agreement that lays down a practical, action-oriented roadmap to improve the quality of aid and its impact on development.

March 23, 2005

  • Prime Minister Martin, U.S. President George W. Bush, and Mexican President Vincente Fox meet in Waco, Texas and sign the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, a trilateral effort to increase security and enhance prosperity among the United States, Canada, and Mexico through greater cooperation and information sharing. The aim is to improve productivity, reduce costs of trade, enhance joint responsibility of the environment, facilitate agricultural trade, and provide a more reliable food supply.

May 2005

  • Canada announces it will send 1,250 more troops to southern Afghanistan by February 2006.

June 2005

  • Canada, Mexico, and the United States sign “A Framework of Common Principles for Electronic Commerce” to serve as a catalyst for the development of electronic commerce and online business in North America. The Framework also serves as a tool through which to identify barriers to information flows that impede online trade, cross border business processes, and commerce.

July 2005

  • At the sixth meeting of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea in New York, Canada opposes any move towards a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling.

July 20, 2005

  • Parliament passes Bill C-38: The Civil Marriage Act. The Act extends marriage rights to same-sex couples, making Canada the fourth country in the world to take such a step.

August 2005

  • Canada sends two warships, the Shawinigan and the Glace Bay, to the Arctic port of Churchill for the first time in 30 years. The move is seen as a challenge to rival territorial claims and follows a disagreement with Denmark over Hans Island, an uninhabited island situated between Greenland and Ellesmere Island.

September 14 – 16, 2005

  • The United Nations Summit takes place in New York, gathering leaders of 191 states to review progress since the Millennium Declaration and to address key issues related to UN reform. States participating in the summit agree that the international community has a responsibility to protect and the duty to intervene when national governments fail to fulfill their responsibility to protect their citizens from atrocious crimes.

November 26, 2005

  • Four humanitarian workers, including two Canadians, are taken as hostages by gunmen off a Baghdad street. They are held for almost four months, until a British-led force frees them.

November 28 – December 9, 2005

  • The United Nations Climate Change Conference is held in Montreal, chaired by Environment Minister Stéphane Dion.








































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