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Relations between Canada and Wallonia-Brussels

Parlement Ottawa | © Benoit Debaix - Unsplash.com
Parlement Ottawa | © Benoit Debaix - Unsplash.com.

The relations between Wallonia-Brussels and Canada are based upon a core of values, a shared history and the common aim to work towards a sustainable development. They focus in particular on cultural, academic, scientific, economic and youth cooperation and exchanges. Their involvement in the Francophonie and the sharing of the French language also brings together Wallonia-Brussels, Canada, the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario within the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

Prior to the institutional reforms in Belgium, numerous agreements between Canada and Belgium were signed in a wide variety of areas. Since 2007, the agreement on international youth mobility (working holiday program) enables young Canadians to explore Belgium and young Belgians to explore Canada while having the possibility to work. In 2018, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation inherited a cinema co-production agreement originally signed between Belgium and Canada, from which many co-productions have since emerged.

 

Relations with Québec

Quebec and Wallonia-Brussels have developed particularly strong relations over time. In 1980, Wallonia signed its first international cooperation treaty with Quebec, and subsequently, in 1982, the French Community of Belgium signed an agreement with the Beautiful Province.

In March 1999, following the institutional developments of the Belgian entities and in order to symbolically reaffirm the privileged nature of the Wallonia-Brussels/Quebec relations, a framework agreement (concerning the areas of education, culture, housing, higher education, research, innovation, etc.) was signed by the heads of the Walloon Government, the French Community Government and the College of the French Community Commission of the Brussels-Capital Region (COCOF), on the one hand, and of Quebec, on the other hand. The implementation of the cooperation is ensured by the Minister of International Relations and the French-speaking community of Quebec and by Wallonia-Brussels International.

It was also in Quebec that Wallonia-Brussels established its first Wallonia-Brussels General Delegation on November 5, 1982, in Quebec City. In 1996, the AWEX office was established in Montreal, while in 2013, the Wallonia-Brussels General Delegation opened a branch in Montreal as well. In 2014, the WBI Science and Technology Liaison Office for Canada was established in Montreal, at the Quartier de l'Innovation.

 

Towards new collaborations with Ontario

A wide array of exchanges take place between Wallonia-Brussels and Ontario, mainly in the academic, economic and cultural areas. On September 22, 2021, the Minister-President of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and the Minister of Francophone Affairs of Ontario signed a joint declaration committing their government to further strengthen their cooperation in various fields, including in particular, higher education, digital, youth and the promotion of the French language as well as the economic Francophonie.

 

Cooperation with Acadia

Since several decades, Wallonia-Brussels and the Acadians have developed privileged relations. On May 28, 1998, an agreement between the Province of New Brunswick and the Commission communautaire française de Bruxelles was signed.

In addition, as of 2003, the Société nationale de l'Acadie (SNA) and Wallonia-Brussels implemented several cooperation programs to facilitate contacts and the creation of partnerships between the Acadian people and Wallonia-Brussels in the fields of youth exchanges and cultural development, especially literature, cinema and music.