Joseph Caron was born in Windsor, Ontario. He graduated from the Université d’Ottawa with an Honors B.A. in 1970.
Mr. Caron joined the Trade Commissioner Service in 1972, and served abroad in Saigon and Ankara, Turkey. In 1975, he began Japanese language studies, and subsequently served four times at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, including as Minister and Head of Chancery.
During the 1980s, he undertook private-sector assignments with responsibilities in Japan, China, Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan. He served as Manager for Asia for the Council of Forest Industries of British Columbia, based in Tokyo, from 1984 to 1987. He also worked briefly for the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, responsible for South and South East Asia.
In Ottawa, he has held several positions related to Asian and international economic affairs, including serving in the Foreign and Defense Secretariat of the Privy Council Office under Prime Minister Trudeau. He was also deeply involved in G-8 Summitry, actively participating, over the years, in eight Economic Summit Meetings.
In 1998, he became Assistant Deputy Minister for Asia-Pacific at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and served as Canada’s Senior Official for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, responsible for managing the Canadian participation in APEC including the Leaders annual summit.
From 2001 to 2005, Mr. Caron served as Canada’s Ambassador to the Peoples’ Republic of China, with concurrent accreditation to North Korea and Mongolia.
From 2005 to 2008, he was Canada’s Ambassador to Japan.
In 2008, Ambassador Caron was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo, for his efforts in developing the Canada-Japan relationship.
In August 2008, Mr. Caron became High Commissioner to the Republic of India, with concurrent accreditation as Ambassador to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal and the Kingdom of Bhutan. He served in India for two years, and retired from the Canadian Foreign Service during the summer of 2010.
In the fall of 2010, Mr. Caron was appointed to the Board of Directors of Manulife Financial Corporation. Manulife is one of Canada's largest financial institutions, in both insurance and wealth management, with extensive interests in the United States, Japan, China and throughout Southeast Asia.
In September, 2011, he was also appointed to the Board of Directors of Vancouver International Airport.
In October, 2011, he was accorded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree by York University and the Schulich School of Business for his work in India on behalf of the Schulich School.
After serving as a member of the Advisory Council to the Board of Directors of Westport Innovations Inc. for almost two years, in August, 2014, Mr. Caron was invited to join the full Board. Westport is the world's leading technology company in the rapidly expanding field of LNG and other gaseous fuels to power on and off road vehicles. It has collaboration agreements with 7 of the world's largest automobile companies and 3 of the 4 largest truck engine companies.
He is a Distinguished Fellow of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and a Professor and Honorary Research Associate at the Institute of Asian Research of the University of British Columbia.
Mr. Caron has established Joseph Caron Inc. in Vancouver, British Columbia.