Minister Joly names Canada’s Special Envoy for the Indo-Pacific

News release

April 19, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada

The partnership between Canada and the Indo-Pacific is deeply rooted in the vibrant and dynamic ties between our peoples, as well as long-standing trade and diplomatic relations. Canada is committed to strengthening this partnership to advance our ambitious Indo-Pacific Strategy, launched in November 2022. This will contribute to our economic resilience and growth, prosperity, security and national interests.

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today named Ian McKay as Canada’s Special Envoy to the Indo-Pacific. The Special Envoy will provide advice to the Government of Canada, as well as work with Canada’s network of diplomatic missions in the Indo-Pacific to ensure coordination of a whole-of-government approach and advance the strategic implementation of Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy.

Mr. McKay’s career spans decades in key financial, political and economic development roles at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. Previously, as special envoy to Japan, Mr. McKay played a critical role in finalizing Canada’s negotiations of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which serves to bring Canadian businesses closer to the region, facilitating deeper trade ties between Canada and our Indo-Pacific partners. As the founding Chief Executive Officer of Invest in Canada, Mr. McKay continued the work of promoting Canada and Canadian businesses around the world, including in the Indo-Pacific region.

As Special Envoy for the Indo-Pacific, he will contribute vast regional experience to the promotion of Canada’s enhanced engagement and leadership in the Indo-Pacific region.

Mr. McKay currently serves as Canada’s Ambassador to Japan and will continue to do so. Japan is a G7 partner with which Canada has a close and strategic bilateral relationship that includes close cooperation through our joint Action Plan for contributing to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.  

The Special Envoy will conduct high-level engagement with Canadians, and international stakeholders to identify new opportunities to expand cooperation in the region. He will spearhead high-level advocacy engagement with foreign governments and regional and multilateral organizations, as well as business leaders and civil society, in support of the Strategy.


“As the Indo-Pacific’s influence on the global stage continues to grow, the importance of Canada’s relationship with the region cannot be overstated. We have much to gain from deepening our bond with the region. With his extensive expertise in the Indo-Pacific, Ian McKay will play a leading role in driving Canada’s engagement with the region to new heights and seizing the tremendous opportunities it has to offer.” 

- Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

  • The Indo-Pacific encompasses 40 countries and economies: Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pacific Island Countries (14), Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea (Korea), Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.

  • The Indo-Pacific makes up more than one-third of all global economic activity. By 2040—less than two decades from now—the region will account for more than half of the global economy and by 2040, it will be home to two-thirds of the global middle class.

  • The Indo-Pacific region is home to 21 of the world’s 30 largest cities and 65% of the world’s population.

  • The Indo-Pacific is Canada’s second-largest merchandise export market, after the United States, with annual 2-way trade valued at $266 billion in 2022.

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Adrien Blanchard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Media Relations Office
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