Citing "interference" in its internal affairs, Saudi Arabia said on Monday it was expelling Canada's ambassador, recalling its envoy in Ottawa, and freezing its business ties with Ottawa, AFP reported.
The ministry said it rejected Canada's characterization of events in Saudi Arabia, and said it wouldn't stand for outside intervention.
Saudi Arabia suspended new trade and investment with Canada after that country's foreign ministry urged Riyadh to release arrested civil rights activists, it said in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency on Sunday.
It is understood to come in response to Canada's statement of concern over the arrests of human rights activists in Saudi Arabia.
"We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists".
The Saudi foreign ministry calls the use of "immediately release" in Canada's tweet "unfortunate, reprehensible, and unacceptable in relations between states".
"The Ministry also affirmed that the Canadian position is an explicit and transparent interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia", the ministry said.More news: Twitter can't believe what President Trump has tweeted about LeBron James
"Very alarmed to learn that Samar Badawi, Raif Badawi's sister, has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia", Freeland wrote on Twitter.
#Statement | We have been briefed by what the #Canadian foreign minister and the Canadian embassy to the #Kingdom released on what they named "civil society rights activists", and we affirm that this negative and surprising attitude is an incorrect claim.
Just two months ago, Saudi women were given the right to drive a auto, yet several of the country's most prominent women's rights activists - including some who fought for years to drive - were arrested earlier this year on national security grounds.
The majority of Canada's exports to the Middle Eastern nation are vehicles, machinery and mineral products. "Canada stands together with the Badawi family in this hard time, and we continue to strongly call for the release of both Raif and Samar Badawi".
His wife and three children live in Quebec and became Canadian citizens last month.
The arrests were in line with Saudi laws, and those detained have been provided with due process during investigation and trial, according to the foreign ministry statement.
An English version of the Saudi government's statement said Ms. Freeland and the Canadian government are wrong to criticize the kingdom.