Government of Canada
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Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) has undergone significant change since its modest beginnings in 1909, when it was housed in a tiny office above a barbershop in downtown Ottawa.

More than 100 years later, change remains a constant at DFAIT as the department keeps pace with a rapidly changing world and Canadians’ evolving needs and priorities.

Our Vision

Create a modern and integrated foreign and trade ministry that:

  • is flexible enough to respond to the future while remaining focused on its core mandate;
  • has the right people in the right places serving Canadians and making a difference in the world;
  • that generates continuous innovation and new thinking;
  • is an employer of choice.

Transformation Agenda

In 2007, the department launched a process of transformation which focuses on six key themes:

1. Aligning with government priorities

We are aligning the department to focus on the delivery of the government’s foreign and trade policy priorities: greater economic opportunity for Canada, with a focus on growing or emerging markets; the United States and the Hemisphere; Afghanistan, notably in the context of its neighbouring countries; and asserting Canadian leadership in emerging global governance. We are also changing the way we operate in order to respond quickly and flexibly to new and emerging priorities as they arise.

2. Strengthening our international platform

We are strengthening our international platform, bolstering our presence abroad and ensuring that our missions overseas are located in places that matter most to Canadian interests.

3. Improving services to Canadians

More than ever before, Canadians live, work, travel and do business abroad. Their engagement with the world depends to a large extent on the consular, passport and trade services the department provides. We have improved—and will continue to improve—these services so we may deliver them to Canadians in a more timely and cost-effective manner.

4. Focusing on our core business

We have strengthened the department’s policy and program activities in areas that are at the core of its mandate: peace and security, trade and investment, international law and human rights.

5. Strengthening accountability

DFAIT provides the most effective possible stewardship of public funds, through new structures and offices, including a Chief Financial Officer and a Chief Audit Executive, and by delivering programming in a manner that meets high standards of accountability.

6. Renewing our human resources

Public service renewal is a priority for the government and for DFAIT. We are renewing our workforce and have put a premium on learning, making sure our workforce retains the skills required to compete in today’s fast-paced world. We are also emphasizing knowledge of the languages that count for so much in this century: Chinese, Arabic, Russian, Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese.


For more information, please visit the Office of Transformation page.