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Canada and Finland sign new youth mobility agreement

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The Government of Canada continues to create new opportunities abroad for Canadian youth to experience other cultures and form lasting relationships. The Government of Canada also seeks to provide international youth with meaningful work and life experiences in Canada.

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario, (on behalf of the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship) and His Excellency Roy Eriksson, Ambassador of the Republic of Finland to Canada, today announced the signing of the Canada-Finland Youth Mobility Agreement. The agreement is expected to come into force in 2024.

This new agreement will allow Canadian and Finnish youth, aged 18 to 35, to work and travel in each other’s country under International Experience Canada (IEC) or the Finnish equivalent. There are three categories under IEC: Working Holiday, International Co-op (internship) and Young Professionals. Youth will be able to participate in the program for up to 12 months per category.

Canada and Finland enjoy excellent bilateral relations, founded on strong ties between our people and shared values. Canada and Finland celebrated 75 years of formal diplomatic relations in 2022, and this agreement will provide a new basis to further strengthen bilateral relations between our two countries. IEC will enable Canadian and Finnish youth, including Francophone and Indigenous youth, to immerse themselves in new cultures and experiences, while developing life skills, improving future job prospects and deepening social ties.

“This is an exciting day for young people in Canada and Finland. The signing of this youth mobility agreement means that it will be easier for Canadian youth to travel and work in Finland. For Finnish youth, this agreement will improve their access to jobs in Canada and provide them with opportunities to experience what our great country has to offer. At the same time, Canadian employers will have a bigger talent pool to find the workers they need.”

– The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“The cultural fabric of Thunder Bay and our region has been woven through with Finnish culture. From food, language and traditions, generations of Finns have contributed to our communities in many important ways. The Canada-Finland Youth Mobility Agreement will give youth of every background all across Canada an opportunity to learn from one another, strengthening ties between our two countries. International Experience Canada opens doors for young people to explore, learn, grow and connect with other nations around the world. We are excited to add Finland to the list of countries under International Experience Canada agreements.”

– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario

“For Thunder Bay and Rainy River youth, in particular, programs like the International Experience Canada can open doors to new perspectives, new skills, and new connections that will serve them well throughout their lives. Not to mention plenty of opportunity to eat my favourite Finnish food – Mojakka. This is also a great way to build on the close relationship between Thunder Bay and Finland.”

– Marcus Powlowski, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Rainy River

“We are happy to welcome the youth mobility agreement, which deepens the ties between our already close countries. The youth of both Finland and Canada will have even more opportunities to travel, work abroad and learn of each other’s cultures in the future.”

– The Honourable Tuula Haatainen, Minister of Employment, Republic of Finland 

Quick facts

  • IEC is a reciprocal program that allows Canadian and international youth to work and travel in each other’s countries.
  • The Canada-Finland Youth Mobility Agreement will come into force after it is ratified by both countries.
  • With this latest agreement with Finland, Canada now has youth mobility agreements with 36 countries and territories.
  • For the 2023 season, Canada is extending this opportunity to come to Canada through IEC to nearly 90,000 international youth. This expansion will help Canadian employers find the workers they need to fill labour shortages across the country.
  • More than 240,000 Canadians have participated in IEC since 2008, and many have returned to Canada with life-changing experiences valuable to both their personal and professional lives.
  • Youth who need help planning their IEC experience may consider using a recognized organization. They are typically youth service organizations that offer work and travel support to youth. They can be non-profit, for profit or educational organizations.
  • There are 144,055 Canadians of Finnish descent according to the 2021 Census.
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