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Canada and India build strong economic ties


Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander led the Canadian delegation at the Vibrant Gujarat Conference – a biennial summit hosted by the Government of Gujarat in India – where Canada highlighted the strong ties between Canada and India.

The delegation arrived in Gujarat on January 11 for the opening where Alexander spoke at the Summit’s official inauguration.

As well, the four-day trip provided the delegation with the opportunity to showcase Canada’s commercial strengths in India, promote Canada as an investment destination of choice, and provide a platform for businesses to take advantage of trade and investment opportunities.

The Canadian delegation included Dr. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women; Devinder Shory, Member of Parliament for Calgary Northeast and co-Chair of the Canada-India Parliamentary Association; and Patrick Brown, Member of Parliament for Barrie and co-Chair of the Canada-India Parliamentary Association.

Alexander also had the opportunity to highlight developments in Canada’s economic immigration policy, such as the newly launched Express Entry system and the Start-up Visa program.

Following Vibrant Gujarat, Alexander travelled to Bengaluru to celebrate the opening of a new visa office.

A few quick facts:

• Bilateral trade between Canada and India totalled a record $5.8 billion dollars in 2013, and has more than doubled over the last ten years.

• More than 1.1 million people living in Canada can trace their heritage back to India.

• In 2013, more than 33,000 Indian citizens became permanent residents in Canada.

• Express Entry will manage applications for four federal economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and a portion of Provincial Nominee Programs.

• With the Start-up Visa, Canada is targeting a new type of immigrant entrepreneur who has the potential to build innovative companies that can create jobs for Canadians and compete on a global scale.

“Canada is proud to participate in the Vibrant Gujarat summit,” said Alexander. “This summit allows us to further strengthen ties between Canada and India by highlighting business opportunities, sharing experiences and trading ideas.”

“As co-Chair of the Canada-India Parliamentary Association, I am very excited to join my colleagues as part of the Canadian delegation,” said MP Devinder Shory.

“It is because of our strong people-to-people ties that the relationship between Canada and India is stronger than ever.”

“I am honoured to be making my fifteenth visit to India, my ninth visit to Gujarat and I am keen to attend Vibrant Gujarat for the fourth time to speak about the flourishing Indo-Canadian friendship,” said MP Patrick Brown earlier.

“People-to-people connections are what make the Canada-India relationship so dynamic, and this is particularly evident in Gujarat.”

Leitch met with her Indian counterparts, the ministers responsible for labour and women’s issues and discussed issues such as eradicating child labour, efforts to combat violence against women and girls, and how to best encourage more women to join India’s growing economy.

At the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, she spoke about the importance of corporate social responsibility and how companies and the communities in which they operate can both benefit from responsible business practices.

Leitch also met with representatives from grassroots organizations to discuss women’s empowerment and other labour-related issues.

She discussed results of a Canadian-funded project focusing on reducing vulnerabilities and promoting decent work and the overall labour situation in India and in the South Asian region with Tine Staermose, Director of the International Labour Organization Decent Work Team for South Asia.  

A special highlight of the Delhi component was the Minister’s meeting with Kailash Sathyarti, the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

Minister Leitch and Sathyarti discussed several issues such as promoting women’s rights and the need to fight harmful and barbaric practices such as early, child and forced marriage.  

“We are proud to work with domestic and foreign stakeholders to encourage responsible business practices while promoting Canada abroad as a strong, stable and prosperous place where businesses can grow and thrive,” said Minister Leitch.

“We continue to work with our international partners like India to ensure that working conditions are fair and safe, fundamental rights are respected and vulnerable workers are protected,” she added.

“We will also continue to promote the importance of more women participating in the labour market, and the need to protect and defend the rights of women and girls,” concluded Minister Leitch.



Posted: Feb 3, 2015

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