Canada and Italy are like-minded countries on key global and regional issues, partners in a range of multilateral institutions such as the UN, G8 and NATO. Canada’s large and dynamic Italo-Canadian community is particularly interested and engaged in all aspects - cultural, social, economic and political - of our bilateral relations. Important business and Science and Technology delegations in both directions between Canada and Italy have given new impetus for the advancement of innovative commercial opportunities and partnerships. Cultural and academic exchanges and people-to-people ties are strong.
The Government of Italy and key Italian business associations have given their strong support for the proposed Canada-EU Trade Agreement and the Canada EU Framework Agreement. In 2011, Prime Minister Harper made a successful visit to RCAF forces in Sicily, in support of NATO Operation Unified Protector. Since taking office in November 2011, Prime Minister Monti has not yet visited Canada, but the two leaders have met at Summits in Korea and the US. Several Canadian Ministers have visited Italy recently, including Minister Baird, Minister Fast, Minister Mackay and Minister Fantino.
Canada and Italy have a strong commercial relationship. In 2011, two-way trade between Canada and Italy improved and exceeded C$7.1 billion dollars (an increase of 10% from the previous year). The greatest potential lies in promoting two-way investment, as well as innovation and technology-based partnerships. Italy is Canada's 15th largest export market, and 10th largest source of imports. Italy ranks 7th on the Canadian Commercial Interest List (CCIL). Canadian imports from Italy totaled C$5.1 billion in 2011 compared to C$4.64 billion in 2010. In 2006, Italy’s FDI totaled $1.6 billion, ranking as the 10th largest foreign direct investor in Canada from Europe, and 20th globally. In 2011, Canadian direct investment in Italy increased to to $523 million, from $434 the previous year, with Italy ranking as the 13th largest destination of CDIA in Europe, and 42nd overall.
Canada and Italy have a strong and longstanding academic relationship, reinforced by inter-university and private-public academic agreements that generate new ideas and research projects, build relationships, and encourage youth mobility. Canadian studies programs throughout Italy, and the Italian Association for Canadian Studies, further contribute to these important people-to-people ties.
In January 2012, Canada and Italy renewed the very popular bilateral Working-Holiday Program, a category of International Experience Canada’s youth mobility initiative created for both students and non-students to experience another culture through travel and work. Young Canadians and Italians, between the age of 18 and 35 inclusive, are now entitled to spend up to twelve months in the other country, with a work permit valid for the first six months. The current quota is set at 1000 participants from each country per year, up from 600 in 2010.
Italy is in the top-twenty list of top importers of Canadian cultural goods and the 8th most important source of cultural imports into Canada. Canada has a permanent Pavilion at the Venice Biennale where a Canadian artist and architect (in alternate years) represent the country.
The two governments are currently working on the ratification of new and amended bilateral agreements to promote enhanced bilateral contacts, travel and business and to facilitate official relations between the two governments. These bilateral instruments cover, among others, the areas of social security, mutual recognition of drivers’ licences and reciprocal employment. An updated extradition treaty entered into force on November 17, 2010. The new Convention on double taxation entered into force in 2011, and its provisions have retroactive effect as of January 1, 2011. There are two cultural agreements in force between Canada and Italy: one on film co-productions and one on cultural co-operation.
Program on Cultural, Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the Government of the Italian Republic and the Government of Canada for 2000-2004 (available in Italian only) | PDF * (73 KB)
Executive Program of the VI Meeting of the mixed Subcommittee Québec-Italy on cultural cooperation (available in French only) | PDF * (70 KB)
* If you require a plug-in or a third-party software to view this file, please visit the alternative formats section of our help page .