Canada - Finland Relations

Canada and Finland share a long tradition of excellent relations marked by frequent bilateral exchanges on best domestic practices and common priorities. Canada values Finland as a high-tech, like-minded northern nation and member state of the EU. The two countries have much in common as bilingual northern parliamentary democracies with similar geography, climate and natural resources.  Finland’s Canada Action Plan “Finland and Canada – Northern Partners” published in 2011 presents a number of concrete objectives for strengthening our bilateral cooperation.

Regional cooperation

Canada–Finland relations on Arctic issues are strong. Cooperation takes place predominantly through the Arctic Council, which both countries regard as the leading multilateral forum on Arctic issues. With one-third of its territory north of the Arctic Circle, Finland is a natural partner for Canada at the Arctic Council. Canadian and Finnish officials, as well as companies, collaborate closely in the area of winter navigation, ice-breaking and shipbuilding. Finland has high tech Arctic expertise and experience which provide the basis for frequent exchanges on best practices. Canadian mining companies have a strong presence in Northern Finland; estimated at over $1.6 billion in cumulative mining assets. Canadian companies are among the largest private sector employers in Lapland.

Global issues

Shared values and commitment to a rules-based international system provide the foundation for similar approaches to issues on the global agenda, such as promotion of security, democratic development, environmental protection, sustainable northern development and indigenous affairs. Both Canada and Finland have played a very active role in promotion and protection of human rights, humanitarian assistance as well as crisis management and peacekeeping.

Trade and investment

In the Canada Action Plan (2011), Finland commits to enhance trade and innovation with Canada. In 2014, bilateral trade between Canada and Finland stood at nearly $2 billion. Canadian merchandise exports to Finland totalled $568 million and Finnish imports to Canada over $1.4 billion. Finland is a large investor in Canada and a priority market for investment attraction. At the end of 2013, the stock of direct investment from Finland into Canada was $2.2 billion. Canadian direct investment in Finland was officially listed at $792 million for the same time. Interest from Canada towards the Finnish innovation system is strong among the Provinces and Territories, national organizations and federal departments. Several exchanges between Finland and Canada have occurred in this area in recent years, as well as on Finnish technology in forestry and bio-renewable energy.

Academic relations, youth mobility and culture

Finland has a renowned education system that encourages post-secondary student exchanges, making the country a good destination for Canadian students and also a source of highly-educated youth interested in studying in Canada. This student mobility lays the groundwork for important long-term economic and social connections between both nations. In the academic year 2013–2014, close to 250 Finnish students studied in Canada. Cultural cooperation between the two countries, especially in music, performing arts and audiovisual production, is vibrant. There are roughly 130,000 Canadians who claim Finnish descent, served by a wide network of Finnish cultural and community organizations. In Finland, the Finnish–Canadian Society promotes closer ties between Finns and Canadians. In addition, Canadian indigenous groups have established regular exchanges with the Sámi indigenous people of northern Finland and Scandinavia.

August 2015

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