FAQS

What is an Ambassador?

An Ambassador is the most senior accredited diplomat sent from one country to another. Canada’s Ambassadors are sent abroad to represent the spectrum of Canadian interests in their country of accreditation. As well, Canada’s Ambassadors are responsible for Canadian government programs and services at their mission, including consular and passport services to Canadian citizens abroad.

What is the difference between an Ambassador and a High Commissioner?

A High Commissioner is a Canadian Ambassador appointed to a country within the Commonwealth. As examples, Canada has High Commissioners to the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand, the Republic of India, the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Singapore as well as many others.

What is a Consul General?

A Consul General is the senior representative of the Government of Canada in a province or set of provinces, states or territories within a country where Canada has an Embassy or High Commission. For example, Canada has an Embassy in Washington, D.C. but Consulates-General in New York City and Los Angeles.

What is a Permanent Representative?

A Permanent Representative is the most senior accredited diplomat sent to represent a country at an international organization. Canada has a Permanent Representative to the United Nations, for example, as well as the Organization of American States (OAS), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

How are Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Consuls General selected?

All Heads of Mission are appointed by the Governor in Council, which are appointments made by the Governor General on the advice of the Queen’s Privy Council of Canada, represented by Cabinet.

Are all Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Consuls General members of the Canadian Foreign Service?

Although the majority of Heads of Mission are career diplomats with a lengthy career in the Canadian Foreign Service, on occasion the Government of Canada will appoint exceptional individuals to represent Canada’s interests abroad.

How can I join the Foreign Service?

Global Affairs Canada has more information on career opportunities, including those for the Post-Secondary Foreign Service Recruitment campaign.

How can I find out who is the Ambassador in a particular country?

Global Affairs Canada maintains a directory, Canadian Representatives Abroad, of all Canada-based staff at all its missions abroad.

How can I find out who was the Ambassador in a particular country in the past?

Global Affairs Canada maintains a complete list of Canadian Heads of Mission from 1880 to date, which is a tremendous resource for those with an interest in Canada’s historical representation abroad. This list is based on and completes a compilation made earlier of Canadian Heads of Mission from 1880 – 2000, (this latter link provides information on the exhaustive work done to develop the list).

How can I contact a retired Head of Mission?

For reasons of privacy, RHOMA will not pass on the personal contact information of its members. However, in certain circumstances RHOMA would be willing to pass on a message to a member. It would then be the member’s decision whether to establish contact with the individual making the inquiry.

How can I join RHOMA?

Retired Canadian Heads of Mission will find the necessary information to apply for membership in the page “Contact” of this website.

Hint: If you are looking for a specific word, topic or name, just write it in the “Search” box at the bottom of any page; it will facilitate and quicken your research.

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