Policy and History

The United States and Canada share two borders and their bilateral relationship is one of the closest and most extensive in the world. It is reflected in the high volume of bilateral trade–some $1.7 billion a day in goods and services–and in people-to-people contact. Almost 400,000 people cross between the countries every day by all modes of transport. In fields ranging from security and law enforcement to environmental protection to free trade, the two countries work closely together on multiple levels, from federal to local.

In addition to their close bilateral ties, Canada and the United States cooperate in multilateral fora, including international efforts to combat terrorist financing and money laundering. The two countries belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, NATO, WTO, G7, G20, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Organization of American States, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

  • U.S.-Canada Air Quality Agreement

    In 1991, the U.S. and Canada entered into an agreement to address transboundary air pollution, whereby pollutants released at one location can travel long distances, affecting air quality at their sources, as well as many miles away. The 1991 Agreement led to reductions in acid rain in the 1990s, and was expanded in 2000 to reduce transboundary smog emissions under the Ozone Annex.

  • Boundary Waters Treaty

    Signed in 1909, the Boundary Waters Treaty provides the principles and mechanisms to help resolve disputes and to prevent future ones, primarily those concerning water quantity and water quality along the boundary between Canada and the United States.

  • Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement of 1978

    The GWQA is a commitment of the United States and Canada to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem. (4.2MB PDF) Guide (829KB PDF) »

  •  Yukon River Salmon Agreement

    Signed in 2001, the Yukon River Salmon Agreement covers conservation, management and harvesting of salmon.

  • Tuna Treaty

    The Tuna Treaty of 1981 allows U.S. vessels to fish for albacore tuna in Canadian waters seaward of 12 miles from shore, and Canadian vessels to fish for albacore in U.S. waters seaward of 12 miles from shore. Treaty (14KB PDF) »

  • Pacific Salmon Treaty

    In March, 1985 the United States and Canada agreed to cooperate in the management, research and enhancement of Pacific salmon stocks of mutual concern by ratifying the Pacific Salmon Treaty.  Treaty (1.6MB PDF) »