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Canada-EU CETA Civil Society Forum (CSF) Programme and Registration

November 12th, 2019
Ottawa, Canada

2019 Canada-EU CETA Civil Society Forum Programme

The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a landmark agreement that upholds and promotes the values shared by the EU and Canada. Under CETA article 22.5, Canada and the EU are to facilitate a joint annual Civil Society Forum, including participants from their domestic advisory groups, in order to conduct a dialogue on the sustainable development aspects of the CETA. Canada and the EU are to promote a balanced representation of relevant interests, including employers, unions, labour and business organisations, environmental groups, and Indigenous organizations as well as other relevant civil society organisations. Participation may also take place by livestream web-link.

The CSF sessions will be livestreamed and recorded. There will be a zone in the Forum room that is outside of the video livestreaming area.

The languages for the CSF are English and French. Live interpretation will be available for both languages.

To receive a registration form please contact us via email at before November 1st 2019.

8:30-9:30 Registration and welcome refreshments

Opening remarks, report on Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) Committee work, and instructions for the day

Participants have a key role to play in supporting the effective implementation of the CETA Trade and Sustainable Development, Trade and Labour and Trade and Environment Chapters.


Session I: Long-term approach to climate change, including mitigation and adaptation

Building on the “CETA: Taking Action for Trade and Climate” event and the “Canada-EU Cleantech Workshop”, participants are invited to discuss opportunities for joint actions under CETA to support technology innovation and deployment to address climate change, including adaptation and mitigation.     


Session II: Canada-EU Cooperation on labour standards with third FTA partners

Under the CETA Trade and Labour Chapter, the Parties have committed to cooperate to promote the objectives of the chapter, through actions such as the exploration of collaboration in initiatives regarding third parties.


Session III: Early review of the TSD chapters

Following the October 2016 agreement on the Joint Interpretative Instrument, Canada and the EU reconfirmed their commitment to advancing the early review of the TSD chapters and agreed to intensify efforts, with a view to reviewing the implementation of the chapters, including their enforcement mechanisms, and to propose solutions and outcomes at the second CETA Joint Committee meeting and subsequent Joint Committee meeting as pertinent.

15:00-15:15Refreshment Break
Open Topic Session

Session IV: Any other CETA Trade and Sustainable Development issues

Opportunity for participants to raise any other topics of interest related to the CETA Trade and sustainable development, Trade and labour, Trade and environment chapters

16:00-17:00Summaries of the four sessions presented to TSD Committee co-chairs
17:00-17:30Wrap up

The work of the Canada-EU CETA Trade and Sustainable Development Committee

Canada and the EU share a commitment to ensuring economic growth goes hand in hand with the protection and promotion of workers’ rights and the environment, as reflected in the CETA Chapters on Trade and sustainable development (TSD), Trade and labour and Trade and environment. The Trade and Sustainable Development Committee, established under CETA Chapter 26, is tasked with the oversight of the implementation of these three chapters.

The first meeting of the Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) took place in September 2018, in Brussels, where the Committee discussed the implementation of the chapters and cooperation initiatives.

Below is a summary of joint cooperation undertaken by the TSD Committee in 2018-2019.

Trade and environment

In September 2018, Canada and the EU adopted a recommendation on CETA, climate action and the Paris Agreement recognizing the importance of cooperation to address climate change and promote the mutual supportiveness of trade and climate policies. In response to this recommendation, Canada and the EU hosted a conference, “CETA: Taking Action for Trade and Climate” in Brussels in 24 January, 2019. Over 130 participants from business, civil society, Member States and international organisations convened, with the objective to explore how to best leverage CETA’s institutional and legal framework to support implementation of the Paris Agreement. Participants at this conference suggested several follow up actions, including supporting SMEs in the clean tech sector. In this context, a Canada and the EU are organizing a workshop on clean technology for SMEs that will be held during the Cleantech Export Week in Montreal on 6-7 November 2019.

As part of the TSD Committee work plan under the Trade and Environment Chapter, Canada and the EU have discussed potential cooperation in the areas of trade in plastic waste, and trade liberalization and biodiversity. This is in addition to other work, such as delivering a joint presentation to the World Trade Organisation Committee on Trade and Envrionment in May 2019, entitled “Implementation of the CETA Environment and Sustainable Development Chapters: Links to Climate Action”.

Trade and labour

In regards to work on trade and labour, Canada and the EU carried out a mapping of their respective labour initiatives, including support to current ILO projects, to identify in a systematic way synergies and areas of potential joint cooperation in third countries. In the meantime, the parties exchanged their experiences on the labour-related activities under their respective agrements with Peru and Vietnam.

The Parties are also collaborating on a Collective Bargaining Workshop, in the context of changing nature of work, to be held on the margins of the Civil Society Forum in November 2019.

Early review of the Trade and sustainable development chapters

At the first meeting of the TSD Committee in September, 2018, where the Parties had their first formal exchange of views in the context of the early review of the Trade and Sustainable Development chapters, (following the October 2016 agreement on the Joint Interpretive Instrument), Canada and the EU reconfirmed their commitment to advancing this process and agreed to intensify their efforts on this commitment, with a view to reviewing the implementation of the TSD chapters, including their enforcement mechanisms, to propose solutions and outcomes at the second CETA Joint Committee meeting and subsequent Joint Committee meetings as pertinent. The Parties also devised a joint work plan which includes at least three dedicated meetings on this issue in advance of the second CETA Joint Committee meeting. Work under this process is ongoing.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) / Responsible business conduct (RBC)

The EU and Canada have exchanged contact points and compared their respective approaches to support the uptake of CSR/RBC practices. Their respective lead representative organisations (CSR Europe and United Nations (UN) Global Compact Network Canada (UNGCNC)) have been in contact and the two Parties have received feedback in regards to the opportunities and challenges businesses are facing. To help businesses with this important endeavour, the UN Global Compact Network Canada shared with its EU counterparts a handbook it has developed for SMEs on implementing the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines, and a compendium on how companies can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). CSR Europe and the UN Global Compact Network Canada have explored further possibilities for sharing their experiences with businesses on both sides.

In line with the conclusions of the 1st TSD committee, the two Parties intend to translate these bilateral activities into longer-term engagement in supporting CSR/RBC practices in third countries.

Implementation of CETA's Trade and gender recommendation

In the follow-up to the recommendation on Trade and Gender adopted by the CETA Joint Committee, Canada and the EU have jointly undertaken a number of exchanges and activities.  In April 2019 in Brussels, Canada and the EU held a joint workshop on trade and gender, with more than 60 participants from business, civil society, Member States and international organisations.  There were two objectives for the workshop:  to learn from women-led businesses about their experiences under CETA and challenges they are facing as exporters more generally. A roundtable on women and trade in the context of CETA was also held on the margins of the Canada-EU Summit in Montreal in July 2019, with the participation of then EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom and Canada’s Minister for International trade Diversification, Jim Carr.

The two Parties are hosting regular Canada-EU video-conferences to facilitate the implementation of the action plan, which includes exchanging the Parties’ respective domestic gender equality policies, and laws (Feb 2019); and programs to support women entrepreneurs (June 2019), and a third exchange is planned for fall 2019, to discuss GBA+ and Impact Assessment. The two Parties are posting reports and the CETA gender and trade workplan on their respective websites.

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The information being requested will be used by GAC for the purpose of registering and processing your attendance participation at the 2019 CETA Civil Society Forum that will be held in November 2019.  The information you provide is voluntary and you may, without prejudice, withdraw your participation in the Forum. 

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