In terms of bilateral trade and direct investments, Canada is Switzerland’s second most important economic partner in the Americas. In multilateral forums, the policies the two countries adopt tend to coincide, leading to mutually beneficial cooperation. As a member of the G7 and of the G20, Canada plays a major role in questions of interest to Switzerland, particularly international finance and taxation issues.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Canada
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Switzerland and Canada share similar interests and values, they have in common federal structures and multilingual societies. They both have open and market oriented economies encouraging trade and investments. Their strong bilateral trade has been regulated since 2009 by a Free Trade Agreement concluded between Canada and the EFTA.
Political consultations between high ranking representatives of the respective foreign ministries take place on a regular basis.
Canada is Switzerland's second-largest economic partner in the Americas. In 2019, Switzerland imported almost CHF 1.2 billion worth of goods from Canada and exported goods valued at CHF 4.4 billion to Canada. These exports were mainly composed of pharmaceutical products.
Switzerland is among the ten biggest foreign investors in Canada, with total invested capital amounting to CHF 31 billion at the end of 2018. That year, Swiss companies employed over 35,800 people in Canada.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
In 2018 Switzerland and Canada signed a joint declaration on education, research and innovation, which now provides a formal framework for the close scientific collaboration already underway.
Researchers in Canada can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
There is also an agreement for the exchange of young professionals, who can obtain a work permit for up to 18 months.
Cultural exchanges are frequent and particularly vibrant in certain regions. The fact that Switzerland and Canada share a common language (French) facilitates exchanges between the two countries.
Swiss nationals in Canada
At the end of 2019, there were 40,000 Swiss citizens living in Canada.
History of bilateral relations
Canada has been a destination for Swiss emigrants since the 17th century. Switzerland's first honorary consulates in Canada were established in Montreal (1875), Toronto (1906), Vancouver and Winnipeg (1913). The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1945.