As northern bilingual parliamentary democracies with similar geography, climate and natural resources, Finland and Canada have much in common. Both countries are emerging as leading-edge information societies, and there is a strong sense of shared values in such areas as domestic policy, development, human rights and environmental issues. It’s not surprising, then, that Finland and Canada work closely together in many areas, including multilateral organizations such as the United Nations (UN), the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Both Finland and Canada are members of the Arctic Council, an international forum that addresses the common concerns and challenges facing the governments of Arctic nations. As circumpolar matters gained prominence, Finland’s Northern Dimension initiative—whose aim is to enhance cooperation with Russia and other partners in economic management, energy, the environment and other fields—was adopted as Economic Union (EU) policy and incorporated into Canada’s foreign policy. Also, the indigenous Sami people of Northern Finland have established regular exchanges with Canadian Inuit groups.
Finland and Canada have traditionally played a very active role in international arms control and disarmament, peacekeeping and crisis management. Both countries have made major contributions to peacekeeping operations, mine clearance and other humanitarian efforts around the world.
Cultural and educational exchanges between Finland and Canada have increased in recent years, at both the individual and the institutional level. Finnish and Canadian universities and colleges offer reciprocal distance learning and academic exchange programs.
Both Finland and Canada participate actively in the University of the Arctic, a network of academic institutions and programs in the circumpolar North. The University is developing program structures designed to deliver higher education "in the North, for the North, and by the North." Five Finnish universities are currently members of the network: Helsinki University of Technology, Kemi-Tornio Polytechnic, Oulu Polytechnic, Rovaniemi Polytechnic, and the University of Lapland.
Bilateral trade flows are comparatively modest, reflecting, inter alia, the fact that the two countries compete in several resource-based sectors. In 2013, Canadian exports to Finland amounted to $350 million CAD, while imports of Finnish goods to Canada totaled $1.1 billion CAD. In the provincial level, the most important trade partners of Finland are Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.
Canadian exports to Finland petroleum and oil products, motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts, ores and minerals, as well as instruments and apparatus. From Finland Canada imports renewable fuels, machinery and machine parts, electronics and nickel ores.
Finnish direct investment to Canada is comparatively high totalling $2.5 billion CAD in 2013. Canadian direct investment in Finland is, by contrast, quite modest: $120 million CAD in 2013. Nearly all of the Canadian investments in Finland were made by a selected few, but important mining companies, such as Agnico-Eagle Mines, Inmet and First Quantum Minerals. Finnish investors in Canada include such companies as Kone, Metso, Neste Oil, Wihuri, Stora Enso, Kemira, Nokia and Outotec.
Source: Statistics Canada