Canada and the United Nations

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Flag of the United Nations.svg Flag of Canada.svg
United Nations membership
Membership Full member
Since 1945 (1945)
UNSC seat Non-permanent
Ambassador Marc-André Blanchard[needs update]

Canada has been a member of the United Nations since it was established, and has served six separate terms on the UN Security Council. Canada has also participated in United Nations peacekeeping missions.[specify]


The Canadian Delegation to the United Nations Conference on International Organization, San Francisco, May 1945.

In the initial set-up of the UN, McGill University law professor John Peters Humphrey established the Division for Human Rights in the UN Secretariat, and remained in charge of the division for twenty years. The initial work of the Division for Human Rights was the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of which Humphrey created the first draft and remained a champion of until its adoption by approval of the UN General Assembly in 1948. Canada has played an important part in the United Nations' peacekeeping program since the organization's establishment in 1945, after World War II.[specify]

In 1947, Canada played an important role in the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP). Canada was one of the 33 countries that voted in favour of the 1947 UN partition resolution, which led to the establishment of the State of Israel despite heavy pressure from the United Kingdom on the Commonwealth of Nations to abstain.

Secretary of State for External Affairs Lester B. Pearson, while he was the UN General Assembly President in 1957, proposed the concept of UN peacekeeping forces as a means of dealing with the aftermath of the Suez Crisis. He was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts and the establishment of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF). [1]

Canada and the Security Council[edit]

Canada has served in the UNSC for 12 years, thus ranking in the top ten of non-permanent members. As of 2015, it shares the fourth place in the list of non-permanent members serving on the Council by length with Italy. This places Canada behind Brazil and Japan (first place), Argentina (second place), and Colombia, India, and Pakistan (third place). Canada was elected for the following six terms: 1948–49, 1958–59, 1967–68, 1977–78, 1989–90, and 1999–2000 - once every decade. In 2010, it lost its bid for a seat in the 2010 Security Council elections to Germany and Portugal, marking the country's first failure to win a seat in the UNSC.[citation needed] In August 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would seek to return to the Council in 2021.[2] In making the announcement, Trudeau referred to "playing a positive and constructive role in the world" and claimed that the UN is a "principal forum for pursuing Canada’s international objectives – including the promotion of democracy, inclusive governance, human rights, development, and international peace and security.".[3]

National Film Board of Canada[edit]

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB), Canada's state film producer, has produced several works about or on behalf of the U.N. The first, the 1944 short film U.N.R.R.A. presents In the Wake of the Armies ... focused the work of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. The 1945 film Now — The Peace, on the formation of the U.N. at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, was produced by the NFB at the suggestion of Archibald MacLeish, then-Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs for the U.S. government.[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kay, Zachariah (2010). The diplomacy of impartiality: Canada and Israel, 1958–1968. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. 
  2. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Chapnick, Adam (2005-09-21). The Middle Power Project: Canada and the Founding of the United Nations. UBC Press. p. 116. ISBN 9780774812474. 
  5. ^ "Now - The Peace". Documentary film. National Film Board of Canada. 1945. Retrieved 28 August 2014.