Catalonia and its Relations with Canada
Catalonia’s economy is very similar to Quebec’s and Ontario’s. Its leading sectors are ICTs, life sciences, agriculture (wine and gourmet), renewable energies as well as the automobile and aerospace industries, among others.
Catalonia’s population is similar to those of countries like Denmark, Bulgaria and Austria.
With a population of 7.4 million, Catalonia represents 16% of the total Spanish population.
At €28,095 / year, Catalan GDP per capita is above the European average (EU-25) and on a par with those of France and Germany.
It is one of the “Four Motors for Europe” (along with Rhône-Alpes in France, Baden-Württemberg in Germany, and Lombardy in Italy).
The relations between Catalonia and Canada’s main provinces - Quebec and Ontario - have been firmly established and close for a number of years. In 1996, a collaboration agreement was signed with the Quebec Government in sectors as varied as education, culture and the economy. And in 2007, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Ontario Government to promote technological relations between the two regions. More recently, Biocat signed an agreement with Biopolis in Quebec to promote relations with the BIO sector in both regions.
Of the 22 Canadian companies with investments in Catalonia, 19 are located in Barcelona’s metropolitan area. In turn, 12 of the 14 Catalan companies with investments in Canada are in Quebec and/or Ontario.
Since February 2010, the Canada-Spain Youth Mobility Programme for young Canadians and Spaniards between the ages of 18 and 35 has been offering the opportunity to secure the visitor’s permit needed to enjoy a professional experience, complete post-graduate studies, learn a language or undergo cultural immersion for a period of up to one year.
Connections between Canada and Catalonia are improving each year. Both Air Transat and Air Canada offer two direct flights a week from Canada’s major cities to Barcelona in the spring and summer.