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Canada-Italy Relations

Overview

Canada and Italy are often like-minded on key global and regional issues and work closely together in a range of multilateral institutions, including the United Nations, the G7, G20 and NATO. Canada’s large and dynamic Italo-Canadian community is engaged in all aspects—cultural, social, economic and political—of bilateral relations. Important business and science and technology delegations exchanged by Canada and Italy have given new momentum to innovative commercial opportunities and partnerships. Cultural and academic exchanges and people-to-people ties are strong.

Trade, investment and science and technology relations

Canada and Italy have a strong commercial relationship. The relationship’s greatest potential lies in two-way investment as well as in innovation and technology-based partnerships. The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement has been provisionally applied since September 21, 2017.

Italy is Canada’s 10th-largest export market in the world and the 5th-largest in Europe. In 2020, Canada’s merchandise exports to Italy were valued at $3.8 billion, and merchandise imports from Italy were valued at $6.6 billion, making Italy Canada’s eighth-largest merchandise trading partner globally and second largest merchandise trading partner in the European Union. Consumer goods, agricultural and agri-food products, and energy products were the top three products Canada exported to Italy in 2020, amounting to 75% of total exports to the country.

Machinery, pharmaceutical products, and beverages were the top 3  Canadian merchandise imports from Italy, accounting for 40% of imports. Italy ranks 7th in the world and 2nd in Europe as a source of imports for Canada. 

Bilateral trade in services between Canada and Italy in 2020 amounted to nearly $1.2 billion, with Canadian exports accounting for $385 million and imports accounting for $812 million.

Cultural, academic and youth exchanges

Canada and Italy have a strong and long-standing 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 December 2020, Canada and Italy signed a new youth mobility agreement. This new agreement will improve labour market access for Canadian and Italian youth between 18 and 35 years old by allowing them to work and travel for 12 months; candidates can participate twice for a total of 24 months. Youth will also be able to gain professional work experience with the addition of 2 streams: International Co-op and Young Professionals. Canada and Italy are longstanding youth mobility partners, having first signed a youth mobility arrangement in 2006. The new agreement will be implemented following ratification in Canada and in Italy.

There are two cultural agreements in force between Canada and Italy: one on film co-productions and one on cultural cooperation.

Bilateral instruments

In recent years, Canada and Italy have adopted new instruments or amended existing instruments to promote enhanced bilateral contacts, travel and business and to facilitate official relations between the two governments. These bilateral instruments cover a variety of issues, from double taxation to airworthiness and judicial cooperation. All bilateral treaties between Canada and Italy are available on the Government of Canada’s treaty web portal at: www.treaty-accord.gc.ca.

An updated extradition treaty entered into force in 2010. A new convention on double taxation entered into force in 2011, and its provisions are retroactive to January 1, 2011.In 2017, Canada and Italy signed an agreement for reciprocal recognition of drivers’ licences. Drivers’ licence exchanges will start taking place as Italy finalizes memorandums of understanding with individual provinces and territories.

The social security agreement (SSA) between Canada and Italy, which entered into force in 1979, was revised in 2017. It helps individuals who have lived or worked in Canada and Italy to qualify for pension benefits based on their affiliation with each country’s pension system. The SSA also permits continuity of social security coverage when people are sent by their employer to work temporarily in the other country and prevents dual coverage for the same work by both countries’ social security programs.

May2021

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Date Modified:
2021-05-27