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Canada 2004


Canada France 1604-2004
Canada France 1604-2004
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ROUND TABLE ON MOBILITY AND EXCHANGES
Paris, February 5, 2004


2004 will mark the 400th aniversary of the first settlement of French and European explorers in Canada. This event provides an opportunity to celebrate the exceptional ties which have developed between Canada and France. To this end, the Canadian Embassy has launched a program of activities which will update the perception of Canada in France, enhance partnerships and networks between our two countries and foster exchanges in the areas of culture, academic and economics relations, trade and tourism.

One of our priorities is to promote youth-related issues and provide new and exciting opportunities for exchanges in the long-term. Youth-related activities, which have been planned as part of the Canada-France 2004 Program, will strengthen initiatives undertaken by both governments since 1998. These initiatives include :

  • The signature in December 1998 by our two Prime Ministers of an agreement on the mobility and exchanges of young people, as well as the establishment of a Bilateral Working Group. This Group took stock of existing policies and procedures, evaluated existing exchange programs and submitted a report to the two Prime Ministers in June 2000.

 

  • In February 2001, the Canadian Embassy organized a first Round Table on Mobility and Exchanges to examine the results of the report prepared by the Bilateral Working Group and gather input from concerned parties. At this meeting, both governments committed to reducing obstacles to youth mobility.

 

  • The signing of a Working Holiday Agreement implemented in June 2001 gives 7000 young people from each country the opportunity to travel and work in the other country for up to one year.

 

  • On October 3, 2003, Minister Bill Graham of Canada?s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, signed a Framework Agreement on Mobility and Exchanges during a trip to France.


Our governments have identified youth-related issues as a priority for several reasons : the need to adapt educational and training systems for workers to better meet the demands of increased globalization ; to attract, strengthen, and retain a highly skilled labour force; and to ensure that the majority of workers are able to respond to the changing skill requirements of the new economy.



The Framework Agreement signed in October 2003 creates new opportunities to increase the mobility of Canadian and French youth. To raise awareness of the Agreement and evaluate its impact, the Embassy has organized a Round Table on February 5, 2004. The Embassy has invited interested institutions, agencies, associations, businesses and individuals to help consolidate changes brought by this new Agreement and become involved in implementing, building and strengthening new partnerships and network.

Six workshops have been organized as part of the Round Table to explore themes of particular interest to our two countries. The Embassy will call upon a broad range of Canadian and French representatives to develop identified themes and chair these workshops.

History

There are more than 20 Canada-France exchange programs, including the young workers? exchange programs under the 1956 Agreement, programs managed by the OFQJ (Office Franco-Québecois de la Jeunesse) and the Association France-Québec, the Students Work Abroad Program (SWAP) and the Working Holiday Program (WHP), which has been operating since June 2001. Each of these programs has a quota that is based on the level of participation of young people in both countries.

In addition to these exchange programs, a growing number of young people are choosing to study in the other country, participate in inter-institutional exchange programs or obtain on-the-job training placements or internships, a prerequisite for a large number of study programs in France.

The possibilities of obtaining an on-the-job training placement or an internship in the other country were limited to those registered in a study program and required a three-party agreement between the post-secondary institution, the recruiting organisation and the student.

The success of the WHP, in both Canada and France, clearly demonstrates the level of interest Canadian and French youth have in gaining experience in the other country when administrative procedures are simplified. The WHP quota was filled well before the end of the year it came into effect. Both countries therefore agreed to expand the program from 500 to 700 places in 2003.

The administration of exchange programs is often complex and labourious. Some operating angencies charge sizable fees to prepare and submit files to obtain a visa, with no guarantee of an on-the-job training placement or employment. In addition, many existing programs no longer meet the needs of the growing number of young people who wish to gain international experience.

On this basis, both governments undertook to revise the 1956 Agreement and negotiate a new Framework Agreement in an effort to respond to the new reality.


Framework Agreement on Youth Mobility and Exchanges

This Framework Agreement fosters youth mobility in all socio professional categories, including students seeking on-the-job training placements or interships or short term employment, young workers and young professionals, or those seeking to discover and work in the other country. The new Agreement eases the administrative burden governing these exchanges.

It is now possible for Canadian and French youth (18 to 35 yrs) to:

  • obtain on-the-job training placements or internships as part of a study program under a three-party agreement (the student, the educational institution and recruiting organization) (maximum 12 months);
  • obtain employment contracts to gain professional experience in the course of, or after completion of a program of study, under two-party agreements (youth and recruiting organization) (maximum 12 months);
  • obtain short-term employment in the other country during vacation periods (maximum 3 months);
  • in the case of young workers/professionals, obtain employment contracts affording them the opportunity to increase their knowledge of the language, society and culture of the other country and gain professional experience at the international level (maximum 18 months);
  • travel in and explore the other country with the possibility of working as a means of funding their stay (maximum 12 months).

Student visas issued to those registered in a study program or those who wish to complete a portion of their studies in the other country under an inter-institutional agreement are not delivered under the Framework Agreement.

The agencies responsible for the management of exchange programs are now in a position to focus their efforts on offering quality services, strengthening partnerships with their counterparts in the other country and identifying on-the-job training placements, internships and employment opportunities for participants.


A Round Table on Youth Mobility and Exchanges

As mentionned, in view of the implementation of the Framework Agreement, the Embassy is organizing a Bilateral Round Table on Mobility and Exchanges on February 5, 2004.

Invitations have been extended to Canadian and French representatives from universities, colleges, post-secondary associations, agencies responsible for study or exchange programs, businesses, chambers of commerce, youth organizations, the public and private sectors, heads of institutions, professors and young people.

This Round Table will take place is two parts:

A plenary session will be held in the morning to take stock of our governments? initiatives to promote mobility and exchanges, to clarify changes brought by the new Framework Agreement and to address related issues on a more general level.

Six workshops will take place in the afternoon to discuss concrete initiatives:

1. The New Role of Agencies and Organizations in the administration of Exchange Programs: How has the role of agencies and organizations changed in the new context? What type of services will now be required? What opportunities exist and how can new networks be developed with potential employers?

2. On-the-Job Training Placements, Internships and Employment Opportunities : How can a directory of short-term, on-the-job training placements, internships and employment opportunities be developed? What jurisdictions are involved? How can public and private sector organizations contribute? Exploring the development of programs in specific sectors: the digital economy and the Charié Commission: what are the training needs for young people who wish to work in this sector?

3. The Creation and Implementation of Binational Study Programs: What are the advantages? What methods, tools and mechanisms are necessary in creating and implementing binational study programs? What obstacles exist? Which programs and in which fields of study? How should opportunities for on-the-job training placements, internships and employment be integrated in the other country?

4. The Integration of Young People Through the Transatlantic Partnership: What are the methods for promoting mobility for youth at risk? What is the potential impact of providing opportunities for international mobility? What guidance is necessary? What partnerships are required for putting mobility programs in place for this youth at risk?
Promoting skills aand trades, a priority for both governments: a tool to facilitate integration?

5. Canada and Europe: What is Canada?s place within the context of the European construction? What are new opportunities exist? What challenges exist?

6. Young People Speak Out: How can youth mobility be better promoted? What are young people?s perspectives on existing programs and procedures? What are their recommendations?


The workshop chairs have been asked to develop these themes and prepare a short handout which the Embassy will forward to participants before February 5.

Presentation of the Agreement
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Read the Agreement

Read the day's report

Read the workshops' report:
Workshop 1
Workshop 2
Workshop 3
Workshop 4
Workshop 5
Workshop 6