COMPARED with the Canadian University Association (CUA), which started more than 30 years ago, the Chinese Canadian Association (CCA) is still in its infancy. But it is growing steadily and has contributed more than its years suggest - helping to strengthen the bonds that tie many Hongkong people to Canada. The association was started in 1987, one of the three Canada-related groups in the territory, along with the CUA and the Canadian Club. The main aim of the CCA is to serve as a link between those Hongkong Chinese people who have a similar Canadian background. The CCA, which now has 300 members, provides a focal point for Canadians in Hongkong for socialising, exchanging professional and business information, and maintaining and sharing their Canadian heritage. The chairman of the CCA, Kenny Tam, said many Hongkong people had strong connections with Canada. They had either immediate family or relatives in Canada or had studied and lived there. Some of them had now come back to the place of their birth - Hongkong - and had started to pick up their roots again in the territory. ''But this is not always easy,'' said Mr Tam. ''Those who come back, for whatever reasons, have to find jobs, and have to find schooling for their children.'' Mr Tam said schooling was vital and parents had to think about their children's education, and how it would be affected, when thinking about returning with their family from Canada. To help solve some of these problems, the CCA played a prominent role in establishing the Canadian International School in Hongkong. Several of the members of the founding board of the school were members of the association. The interest generated by the idea of setting up international schools - first suggested by Lord Wilson, when he was serving as governor of Hongkong - was so great that work on it began just six months later. Within two years the school was opened. ''The idea was to provide an affordable international school to help those people who were coming back. It was also intended to stop the brain drain as many Hongkong people were leaving,'' said Mr Tam, an accountant, who went to Canada in 1971, and returned to Hongkong 10 years ago. He said it was important for parents to know that when they came back to Hongkong there would not be any major disruption to the education of their children. ''If we stick together, we can achieve a lot,'' said Mr Tam reminiscing about the concerted effort that went to getting the international school off the ground. Mr Tam is now working towards strengthening the association by getting in touch with individual alumni associations with Hongkong people and informing them about the activities of the CCA.