Canada is an important North American friend and ally. It maintains close ties with Germany through its membership of NATO and the G7 and is receptive to European and German interests owing to its history and national identity. The two countries’ commitment to common values and convictions is evident from their active involvement in international bodies and organisations, especially when it comes to security and disarmament matters, human rights, humanitarian missions and peacekeeping operations.
Examples of good cooperation between the two countries include the signing of the Canada-EU Strategic Partnership Agreement, the initiative to strengthen the control and non-proliferation of small arms and light weapons, as well as joint efforts to support the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Official visits between the two countries are frequent and underline the quality of the bilateral relations. In February 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Germany, accompanied by his Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.
Nearly 3.2 million of the 37.1 million Canadians have German roots. German immigration to Canada began some 300 years ago. In the last century, strong ties were forged between Europe and North America as a result of the partition of Germany, the Berlin blockade and the division of Europe by the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. In the defence of shared values, Canada demonstrated its solidarity with the Federal Republic of Germany.
Since 21 September 2017, the provisional application of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the European Union and Canada has provided German-Canadian trade relations with new momentum. Overall, though, bilateral trade relations have lagged behind the two countries’ economic potential. Canada’s wealth of natural resources has so far played only an insignificant role in the supply of raw materials and energy to Germany, but is of growing interest to the German market, especially because of Canada’s political stability.
In 2018, German exports to Canada were worth 10.16 billion euros, compared with 9.67 billion euros in 2017. During the same period, German imports from Canada were worth 4.70 billion euros, compared with 4.39 billion euros in 2017. According to German foreign trade statistics, Canada ranks 26th among buyers of German exports and 37th as a supplier of German imports. By contrast, Germany is the fourth largest supplier of Canada’s imports and the seventh largest export destination for Canadian goods. Germany’s main exports to Canada are motor vehicles and vehicle parts as well as machinery. Its primary imports from Canada are raw materials. In addition, the two countries supply each other with data processing equipment, electrical and optical goods, as well as chemical products. Germany’s share of direct investment is small compared to that of Canada’s biggest investor, the United States.
Canada and Germany concluded a double taxation agreement in 2002.
Cultural, academic and scientific relations
A focus of German cultural relations and education policy in Canada is promoting the German language. Germany supports numerous scholarships, exchange and travel programmes, as well as German language schools and the National Heritage Schools. Further initiatives include the DAAD Information Centre in Toronto, which promotes Germany as a place to study across the country, and the Internet platform called So German, which provides information about the activities and projects of German institutions in Canada. In addition, the International Parliamentary Scholarships (IPS) programme enables young Canadians to undergo a five-month internship at the German Bundestag. Thanks to the Youth Mobility Agreement (YMA) between Germany and Canada, young Germans and Canadians between the age of 18 and 35 can spend up to a year in the partner country in order to gain work experience, travel or gain insights into culture and society. There are also more than 200 partnerships between German and Canadian higher education institutions. Canada has two all-day German schools: the Alexander von Humboldt German International School Montreal and the German International School Toronto. The former offers instruction from kindergarten to the German higher education entrance qualification (Abitur), and the latter from kindergarten to year eight.
When it comes to cooperation in science and research, Canada is one of Germany’s most important partners worldwide. Numerous collaborations have been established between German and Canadian research and intermediary organisations as well as universities and the private sector since the signing of the German-Canadian Intergovernmental Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation in 1971. Current priority research areas are natural resources, energy, the environment (including Arctic and oceanic research), modern manufacturing technologies, information and communication technologies as well as health research.
In addition, a large number of German research institutions are present in Canada. There are not only two Max Planck Centres in the country – the Max Planck-University of Ottawa Centre for Extreme and Quantum Photonics (Ottawa, Ontario) and the Max Planck-UBC Center for Quantum Materials (Vancouver, British Colombia) – but also collaborative research projects involving the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario) and Western University (London, Ontario) that deal, respectively, with health care and lightweight engineering. What is more, there is collaboration with Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) on refugee studies. Canada is also the site of the Helmholtz Association’s largest international collaborative project, the Helmholtz-Alberta Initiative (HAI).