Canada Signs Youth Mobility Agreement with Slovakia

Minister Van Loan says initiative will help youth in both countries gain valuable experience abroad

(No. 230 - July 20, 2010 - 10:35 a.m. ET) The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today signed an agreement with Slovakia on youth mobility under the Government of Canada’s International Experience Canada (IEC) initiative. This agreement will make it easier for Canadian and Slovak youth between the ages of 18 and 35 to travel and work in each other’s country for up to one year. Minister Van Loan signed the agreement on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, during a visit to Slovakia.

“This agreement will benefit the long-term international interests of both Canada and Slovakia by helping our youth gain unique cultural opportunities through significant travel, life and work experiences abroad,” said Minister Van Loan.

In 2009, approximately 73,000 young people from Canada and abroad took advantage of the IEC initiative, under which there are now more than 25 arrangements around the world.

Canada and Slovakia enjoy excellent bilateral relations, largely thanks to Canada’s sheltering of Czechoslovak political refugees in 1948 and 1968, steadfast support for dissidents throughout the Communist period and the strengthening of Canada-Slovakia personal and family ties since 1989. The community of 64,000 Canadians of Slovak heritage is a link which enhances the ties between the two countries.

Canada was also the first country to ratify Slovakia's membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Slovakia has grown in the last decade and reached over $192 million in 2009.

For more information, please consult International Experience Canada.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Monika Bujalska
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Peter Van Loan
Minister of International Trade
613-992-9304

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000