The Canada-UK Colloquium is an annual event that aims to increase knowledge and educate the public about the advantages to be drawn from a close and dynamic relationship between the two countries. The event takes place alternately in each country, bringing together by invitation British and Canadian parliamentarians, public officials, academics, representatives from the private sector, graduate students and others. The organizers seek a carefully defined focus on issues of immediate concern to both countries. One of the Colloquium's main endeavours is to stimulate and to publish research on each subject under discussion. The list of publications shows the wide range of topics covered by the series.
The Colloquia are supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in Canada and by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the United Kingdom. Many private sector sponsors have also contributed generously to the colloquia over the years. The events are organized by the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University on the Canadian side; and by the Canada-UK Colloquia Committee on the British side, from which an executive board, the Council of Management, is elected annually.
The first Colloquium, attended by some sixty distinguished participants from both countries was held at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park in 1971 to examine the bilateral relationship. This theme figured in the second colloquium held at Leeds University in 1979, at Dalhousie University in 1984 and again at Kingston in 1996. A British steering committee, later to become the British Committee, was launched in 1986. The School of Policy Studies assumed responsibility on the Canadian side in 1996, succeeding the Institute for Research on Public Policy.
At the Denver Summit in June 1997, Prime Ministers Blair and Chretien issued a Joint Declaration to mark a programme of modernisation in the bilateral relationship which included a role for the Canada United Kingdom Colloquia. The programme was reaffirmed during Mr Chretien's visit to the UK in 1998.