Relations between Ireland and Canada are close, based on family ties, cultural affinities and shared democratic political traditions. Almost 3.9 million Canadians, or 13% of the population, claim some Irish ancestry. In recent years, shared values and interests have provided the basis for a further strengthening of the Canada-Ireland relationship, particularly in meeting the challenges of domestic and global governance. There is a growing dialogue and increased cooperation and sharing of "best practices" on development assistance, education, parliamentary reform, healthcare, and in other social and economic policies.
Internationally, Canada and Ireland collaborate closely at the United Nations, in the Human Security Network and other international fora to advance our strong commitment to multilateralism, peacekeeping and development assistance - particularly with respect to Africa. Both Ireland and Canada were leaders in building international support for the Ottawa treaty to ban landmines.
Canada-Ireland interparliamentary relations have been particularly active since March, 1998. The Ireland-Canada interparliamentary group is the largest such entity in Canada's Parliament. High level visits and business missions traditionally have constituted a key element in the Canada-Ireland relationship.
Canada and Ireland are party to several bilateral treaties, including a Double Taxation Treaty (2005), a Social Security Agreement (1992), and a Film and Video Relations Agreement (1989).
A Blue Skies air agreement was signed between Ireland and Canada in April, 2007. It will allow Canadian and Irish air carriers to provide services between any city in Canada and Ireland. Canadian carriers will be allowed to use Ireland as a platform to serve a third country and vice versa.
The Working Holiday Program (WHP) agreement, signed by both governments in 2003, has proved an effective vehicle for strengthening ties between Canadian and Irish youth. This initiative gives young adults (under 35 years of age) from both countries an opportunity to work and/or vacation in each others' country. The WHP complements the existing Student Work Abroad Program (SWAP) that has been in operation for over a decade.