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Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) is among the most powerful of departments in the Canadian Government. DFAIT was established by the Liberal Party in 1995 by merging the Department of External Affairs with the Department of International Trade.

Following the union, the department maintained two separate ministers, one for foreign relations the other for trade, and added a third with responsibilities for international cooperation through agencies such as CIDA (the Canadian International Development Agency).

It should be noted that the change of terminology from "External Affairs" to "Foreign Affairs" marked an important milestone in Canadian Foreign Policy. At the time of the External Affairs portfolio's inception in 1905 Canada was still seen as a subsidiary of the United Kingdom without its own foreign policy that conducted most of its relations with other British Empire nations that could not be considered "foreign" lands.

The department is headquartered in the Lester B. Pearson Building on the bank of the Ottawa River in the nation's capital.

Current Ministers

Past Ministers