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Canada-Mexico Partnership - 2020 Annual Report

Table of contents

Part I: Message from the national co-chairs

As national co-chairs it gives us great pleasure to present the 2020 Annual Report of the Canada-Mexico Partnership (CMP). Sixteen years into its existence, the CMP continues to demonstrate its value as the preeminent mechanism for dialogue between Mexico and Canada to promote bilateral cooperation in political, economic, social, academic and cultural affairs.

The CMP is a unique mechanism that includes a plurality of stakeholders from the private and public sectors, who meet annually regardless of changes at the political level. The prevailing success of the CMP is due to its continuing adaptability in order to reflect the priorities established by the stakeholders. The ultimate goal of the CMP is to provide a space for stakeholder engagement on key priorities in order to develop strategies that increase our economic competitiveness and enhance bilateral cooperation on agri-business; trade, investment and innovation; environment; energy; forestry; human capital; mining; and culture and creativity.

The 2020 Annual Report presents an impressive compilation of results coming out of the 16th Annual Meeting of the Canada-Mexico Partnership. In compliance with health security measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, for the first time in its history, the CMP meeting was 100% virtual. While 2020 has been a challenging year for CMP working groups because of travel restrictions and the fact that in-person meetings were impossible, the annual meeting served to take stock of the progress achieved over the past year, and discuss plans for further collaboration in 2021. Attendance was remarkable this year, with over 100 participants in the opening session. The meeting also benefitted from a strong social media presence, including a local joint press release.

This year's CMP annual meeting placed particular emphasis on gender equality, a priority issue for both countries, and discussed ways in which Canada and Mexico can work together to overcome the crisis generated by COVID-19 and to strengthen their cooperation on trilateral issues to contribute to the prosperity and well-being of North America as a region. All 8 working groups met during or on the margins of the annual meeting. It is worth noting that, in addition to Foreign Secretary Ebrard’s video thanking participants for their engagement, the 2020 CMP also saw participation at a high political level (Mexican Energy Secretary Nahle & NRCan Parliamentary Secretary Paul Lefebvre). The success of this year’s annual meeting is generating momentum for increased collaboration in the coming year.

We want to thank all working groups for the tangible results they seek to deliver year after year and for their strategic vision for 2021. The CMP remains relevant and continues to benefit from provincial, civil society, academic and private sector input. We also request that all groups include a gender perspective in their 2021 work-plan and that they seek to maintain frequent meetings to advance priorities. We are confident that 2021 will be as successful as previous years in contributing to the enhanced Canada-Mexico bilateral relationship.

Roberto Velasco
Head of the Unit for North America
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mexico

Michael Grant
Assistant Deputy Minister for the Americas
Global Affairs Canada

Part II: Profile and 2020 Institutional Report of the Canada-Mexico Partnership

The CMP was launched in 2004 by the governments of Canada and Mexico as a bilateral initiative to promote public and private cooperation. It involves participants from the Canadian and Mexican governments, business sectors, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders. The CMP is constituted by eight working groups, whose goal is to enhance collaboration in their respective sectors of interest. While each working group operates autonomously during all year, all CMP members gather for an annual meeting, which is hosted on an alternating basis by each country. The most recent meeting was held virtually on November 26, 2020 (hosted by Canada).

Although the CMP involves a wide spectrum of actors from different government departments, the general coordination and management is jointly led by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico (SRE). The national Co-chairs are the Assistant Deputy Minister for the Americas at Global Affairs Canada and the Head of the Unit for North America at the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Since the beginning, the CMP was designed as a flexible entity, subject to ongoing revision and adjustment to best reflect the changing dynamics and priorities of our respective governments and societies. For instance, in 2019 the CMP national co-chairs agreed to explore the possibility of creating a new working group on Indigenous Affairs. Their willingness was reiterated during the 2020 CMP.

Ongoing revitalization and revision of the CMP is consistent with successful past practices and can further stimulate synergies and innovation, streamline working groups, and achieve greater involvement from various stakeholders, including state/provincial authorities, representatives from non-governmental organizations and academia.

Working groups and activities of the CMP

The activities of the eight working groups of the CMP define the work of the partnership as a whole. Each working group is co-chaired by a Canadian and Mexican senior governmental officers from the appropriate ministries. Currently, the eight working groups are:

Canadian working groups co-chairs are from the following institutions:

Mexican working groups co-chairs are from the following institutions and agencies:

Annual meetings of the CMP

Mexico and Canada alternate hosting duties each year. The annual meetings serve as a focal for the reorientation of the activities of the working groups and, at the same time, present the opportunity for the co-chairs to analyze the achievements, efficiency and future course for their working groups and the CMP as a whole. The main objective of the annual meeting is to adopt and promote a strategic vision, as well as a work plan aligned with the priorities of the bilateral agenda.

Some working groups hold joint meetings in order to share experiences, build partnerships, and identify and develop cross-cutting projects. The CMP also promotes the participation of other stakeholders in the annual meetings, including academic and private sector leaders from both countries and from the Canadian provinces and Mexican states, which in the past has led the participation of representatives from Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Quebec, Jalisco, State of Mexico, Chihuahua and Morelos.

Overall, the annual meeting serves as a space to highlight the impact of this Partnership on the bilateral relationship, in which all participants can exchange views, experiences and best practices. Furthermore, it provides a networking stage for all its members. The CMP is the most important mechanism to promote the bilateral relationship.

The CMP has held the following annual meetings:

  1. Ottawa, Ontario - October 25, 2004
  2. Vancouver, British Columbia - September 30, 2005
  3. Ciudad de México, D.F. - March 7, 2007
  4. Kanata, Ontario - March 4-5, 2008
  5. Jiutepec, Morelos - March 23-24, 2009
  6. Niagara on the Lake, Ontario - April 19-20, 2010
  7. Ciudad de México, D.F. - April 7-8, 2011
  8. Ottawa, Ontario - May 29-30, 2012
  9. Ciudad de México, D.F. - July 8-9, 2013
  10. Calgary, Alberta - September 8-10, 2014
  11. Ciudad de México, D.F. - November 25-26, 2015
  12. Ottawa, Ontario - November 23-24, 2016
  13. Ciudad de México, CDMX - November 23-24, 2017
  14. Ottawa, Ontariop - October 11-12, 2018
  15. Ciudad de México, CDMX - November 27-28, 2019
  16. Virtual meeting (hosted by Canada) - November 26, 2020

Part III: Reports of the working groups

Agri-business Working Group

Canadian Co-chair

Mary Robinson
Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA)

Fred Gorrell
Assistant Deputy Minister of International Affairs
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

Mexican Co-chair

Juan Cortina
Vice-President of Foreign Trade
National Agricultural Council (CNA)

Santiago Arguello
Coordinator of Agriculture
Secretariat of Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRICULTURA)


The 16th annual Canada-Mexico Agri-business Working Group (ABWG) meeting was hosted by Canada and Co-chaired by Mary Robinson, President, Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), Fred Gorrell, Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM), International Affairs Branch (IAB), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Juan Cortina, Vice-President of Foreign Trade, Mexico’s National Agricultural Council (CNA), and Santiago Arguello, Coordinator, Agriculture, Mexico’s Secretariat of Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRICULTURA).

The ABWG serves to deepen our bilateral relationship in areas of mutual interest and engage in dialogue in areas where we are not aligned.

Impact of COVID-19

The impact of COVID-19 on the agriculture and agri-food sector was a topic that was discussed throughout the meeting. The ABWG agreed that 2020 has been an unprecedented year that has changed the lives of people everywhere and highlighted inequalities around the world.

As a result of the global pandemic, both countries are facing unparalleled global health and economic challenges. While supply chains have been remarkably resilient in these extraordinary circumstances, access to affordable food is a growing problem for too many, especially for the vulnerable population as people struggle with loss of livelihoods and increased food prices. Canada and Mexico agreed on the importance of continued strong cooperation and solidarity to tackle these challenges.

ABWG participants agreed that frequent engagement and a strengthened personal relationship between Victor Villalobos, Mexico’s Secretary of AGRICULTURA and Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s Minister of AAFC has been essential to ensuring minimal interruptions to trade or delays at our borders during the global pandemic. The complementarity of bilateral agri-food trade was highlighted, as well as the modernized CUSMA implemented this year.

Three topics jointly proposed and mutually agreed to were addressed during the session. The following results were achieved:

Theme #1: Trade flow opportunities and challenges within existing free trade agreements

The ABWG acknowledged the significant and frequent level of official engagement that has taken place at the Secretary-Minister level which has been imperative to ensuring trade flows freely during the global pandemic. Participants reiterated the importance that this senior government leadership continue to explore a potential approach to facilitate the bilateral trade of products from vulnerable populations.

ABWG participants recognized the TMEC / CUSMA presents many opportunities and challenges. One common area of concern is the potential surge of commercial remedy actions and investigations from the United States (U.S.) such as the United States’ seasonal produce plan. Both sides committed to sharing information and continuing to collaborate on this issue, since we are complementary trading nations, and it is critical that trade flows freely as determined by TMEC / CUSMA and the WTO.

Government and industry representatives from both countries agreed that the Canada-Mexico organics equivalency arrangement is progressing well. In terms of next steps, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency committed to responding to Mexico’s National Service of Health, Food Safety and Quality’s most recent correspondence (dated September 30th, 2020) by the end of December 2020. This was mentioned as an example of regulatory alignment, and ABWG participants also noted the importance of science-based measures related to trade.

ABWG participants agreed that a regional and international rules-based trading system is imperative and discussed the importance of a strong and healthy agriculture and agri-food sector to ensuring a stable food supply, including products from marginalized communities such as women and indigenous farmers and small and medium enterprises.

They also discussed the importance of adapting to digitalization given the current global circumstances as well as some of the benefits that are stemming from the reduction of person-to-person interaction.

The Mexican government encouraged the working group to consider a proposal from the Mexican beef industry to work with the U.S. on a regional re-export approach to facilitate the movement of Mexican agriculture and agri-food products that are already in inventory in the U.S. to respond to sales opportunities that come up in Canada for these products. The idea is that the U.S. would certify the re-export of the existing inventory from within the U.S. as opposed to having to ship product directly from the establishment of origin in Mexico. The Mexican government suggested this re-export approach could also be useful for Canadian product that is in inventory in the U.S. and would like to be re-exported to Mexico.

All participants agreed the ABWG is a vital mechanism to help encourage continued close ties between our countries and to resolve issues expeditiously, before they snowball out of control.

Theme #2: Labour issues in agriculture

The ABWG recognized the importance of the Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) program to the Canadian agriculture sector and to Mexican labourers. Participants agreed the TFW program should continue, and that there is always room for improvement considering the new conditions with the COVID pandemic.

Urbanization and aging populations are two key challenges in terms of attracting workers to the agriculture sector. The ABWG emphasized the need to make agriculture an attractive sector, for example, by ensuring equitable benefits, fair wages, and good quality of life.

There is already a sense of partnership between Canada and Mexico and an interest in increasing collaboration, especially in complimentary areas such as labour arrangements. Neither country should take labour availability or access to labour for granted especially in light of global food security and impact on local economies.

Canada and Mexico agreed on the importance of a formal agriculture labour strategy that considers each country’s challenges, seasons, and crops to ensure global food security which is of increasing importance. Both parties agreed the strategy must address immediate, medium, and long-term issues.

Theme #3: Pesticide restrictions - International initiatives and collaboration opportunities to facilitate trade and to enable farmers’ choice

Recognizing that different or missing pesticide Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) make it challenging to export, it is important to continue to work together to maintain farmers’ access to plant protection products.

Both parties acknowledged that over the years, Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. have achieved substantial progress on harmonization under the NAFTA/CUSMA Technical Working Group (TWG) on pesticides. Industry expressed concerns about the decision from the Mexican Ministry of Environment (SEMARNAT) to restrict imports of glyphosate, and anticipated shortages in the Mexican market soon. AGRICULTURA recognized that glyphosate plays an important role in agriculture production in Mexico, so the challenge is how to achieve a less residual level and evolve to a more ecologic agriculture as mandated by President Lopez Obrador. AGRICULTURA reported to be in communication with SEMARNAT about this issue and noted that the official and legal mandate is to work together in a public-private way to find feasible (technical and economically) alternatives to replace gradually the use of glyphosate. In the meantime, the federal government refrains from acquiring, using, distributing, and promoting the glyphosate, but the private sector is able to continue using it.

Both parties reaffirmed that North American alignment is key to success as well as the need for science and risk-based decision making. They expressed their interest in promoting the adoption of new technologies to foster competitiveness in the agricultural sector and reiterated the need for transparency in terms of how decisions and processes are undertaken. The ABWG recommends the group continue discussing this issue bilaterally.

ABWG participants also agreed it is important to recognize that crop protection products such as glyphosate, can significantly reduce green house gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration. As well, it can help increase productivity/yields and keep productions costs low for all agricultural operations including marginalized farmers in Mexico.

Culture and Creativity Working Group

Canadian Co-chair

Julie Boyer
Director General of International Trade
Canadian Heritage (PCH)

Mexican Co-chair

Pablo Raphael de la Madrid
Director General of Promotion and Cultural Festivals
Secretariat of Culture (SC)


The Culture and Creativity Working Group (CCWG) held its annual meeting on November 26, 2020. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was hosted by Canada in the virtual format. The Canadian delegation was headed by Ms. Julie Boyer, Director General of International Trade Branch at Canadian Heritage, while Mexico’s delegation was led by Mr. Pablo Raphael de la Madrid, Director General of Promotion and Cultural Festivals, of the Ministry of Culture of Mexico.

CCWG had a robust meeting agenda and attracted more than 50 participants, which reflects the countries’ interest in cultural cooperation. The Canadian delegation was represented by officials from Canadian Heritage, Global Affairs Canada, Embassy of Canada to Mexico, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, and Canadian Heritage’s portfolio agencies, National Film Board, Canada Media Fund, Telefilm, Canada Council for the Arts, and Canadian Museum of History.

Mexico’s delegation was represented by officials from Ministry of Culture, National Institute of Indigenous Languages, Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economy, National Institute of Indigenous Peoples, and Mexico’s Embassy to Canada.

The themes for this year’s Canada-Mexico Partnership overall meeting were North American agenda and gender equality. North American considerations are ever-present in CMP discussions, considering the US being the largest trading partner for Canada and Mexico.  With the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (known as CUSMA in Canada and T-MEC in Mexico) coming into force on July 1, 2020, both Canada and Mexico secured exceptions in the agreement for their respective cultural industries. These exceptions allow both countries to continue to set the course for cultural policy development and provide government support to the hard hit subsectors, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gender equality is an important consideration for any CMP working group and it is already engrained into CCWG’s Action Plan. Ahead of the meeting, Canadian Heritage shared a document on gender parity and respectful workplace in Canada’s federal organizations supporting the country’s audio-visual sector.

The meeting agenda comprised presentations from both Canadian and Mexican delegations, based on areas of interest and deliverables identified in the CCWG’s Action Plan. The Action Plan for 2020-2021 was also discussed. The following presentations were delivered:

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on cultural industries in Canada

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on cultural industries in Mexico

The modernization of the Broadcasting Act in Canada

Indigenous Peoples’ intellectual property and collective rights in Canada

Indigenous Languages Act: Legal framework of conservation and promotion of indigenous languages in Canada

“México Creativo” (Emerging Cooperation Laboratory, Similarity Laboratories and Economic Indicators of the Creative Industries and Development of Cultural Economy)

Diversity of Content Online – Towards Guiding Principles (Canada)

MONDIACULT 2022 (Mexico)

Culture and Creativity Group Action Plan 2020-2021

The co-chairs went over the current Action Plan and instructed their teams to identify opportunities and means for future cooperation between Canada and Mexico. The following key new items were added to the Action Plan:

Canada will consider adding a presentation on Indigenous Screen Office to the Action Plan, based on the interest expressed by Mexican colleagues.

Collaboration in cinematography

Valerie Creighton, President and CEO of Canada Media Fund (CMF), participated in the discussion of the item. Canada Media Fund fosters, promotes, develops and finances the production of Canadian content and relevant applications for all audiovisual media platforms. Ms. Creighton expressed CMF’s desire to operationalize the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) it signed with IMCINE in 2019. Under the MOU, the parties agreed to promote projects which prioritize and emphasize content focused on children, youth and indigenous peoples of Mexico and Canada. This item remains to be revisited, considering the current COVID-19 pandemic situation.

Jannike Curuchet, Assistant Director of International Promotion of IMCINE, expressed the IMCINE´s interest in continuing the collaboration with Canada, in starting to update the co-production agreement and sharing information on new funds. She also expressed IMCINE´s intention to explore new opportunities for audiovisual exchange, through digital platforms, particularly cycles of indigenous cinema, children and films directed by women.

Digital Economy Laboratory

Mariana Delgado, Director of the Digital Cultural Center, commented that the proposal is related to “Compás Creativo”, which is the creative economy program that the Digital Cultural Center adds to the “México Creativo” project. She highlighted that the Center has been working closely with the Montreal Society of Technological Arts (SAT) and with the General Delegation of Quebec in Mexico. She pointed out that there is a particular interest in knowing the infrastructures that the SAT is developing. Pablo Raphael de la Madrid added that, from August to date, emerging cooperation laboratories have been carried out with Canada on the reopening of cultural spaces, the creative economy and the relationship between Mexico, Canada, and the United States.

Canada Media Fund is interested in a potential collaboration with Digital Cultural Center in this regard and can share examples of the work it did with counterparts in other countries, for example on immersive media with the United Kingdom.

Artistic residencies

Pablo Raphael de la Madrid reported that the National Fund for Culture and the Arts (FONCA) is currently undergoing a deep restructuring due to the disappearance of public trusts, which does not imply the elimination of its budget. He mentioned that at the Complejo Cultural Los Pinos a residency space will be opened.

Concluding remarks of the Mexican Co-chair, Pablo Raphael de la Madrid

He thanked the delegates for their presence, highlighting that the number of projects in the different areas in which both countries are working is a reflection of a very robust relationship.

Concluding remarks of the Canadian Co-chair, Julie Boyer

The Canadian co-chair thanked both Canadian Heritage and Ministry of Culture teams for creating and executing such a full meeting agenda, which aligned with the group’s Action Plan in terms of information sharing on areas of interest identified, as well as reflecting and addressing the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on cultural industries in both countries. The CCWG brought together many departments and organizations, which have a vested interest in culture, trade and Indigenous affairs. The co-chair encouraged continued information sharing between Canada and Mexico, sharing best practices in cultural policy development and thus ensuring continued collaboration between our countries.

Next Steps for CCWG

The co-chairs agreed to revisit the Action Plan in the following six months: re-examine the leads for each actionable item, review each item through a COVID-19 lens and evaluate what is realistically possible to accomplish in the pandemic environment ahead of the next CCWG annual meeting in November 2021.

Energy Working Group

Canadian Head of Delegation

Paul Lefebvre
Parliamentary Secretary to the
Minister of Natural Resources

Canadian Co-chair

Eric Bélair
Director General of Energy Policy and International Affairs
Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)

Mexican Head of Delegation

Norma Rocío Nahle García
Secretary of Energy

Mexican Co-chair

Velvet Rosemberg Fuentes
Director General of International Affairs
Secretariat of Energy (SENER)

I. Introduction and objectives

A brief Canada Mexico Partnership (CMP) Energy Working Group meeting took place virtually on November 26, 2020, from 12pm to 12:30pm EST, hosted by Natural Resources Canada, and organized in collaboration with the Secretariat of Energy (SENER).

Canada was represented by Mr. Paul Lefebvre, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources. Mexico was represented by Her Excellency, Rocío Nahle, the Secretary of Energy. Mr. Miguel Angel Maciel, Undersecretary of Hydrocarbons at SENER, took over as the Mexico’s Head of Delegation for the second half of the meeting due to the Secretary’s limited availability.

CMP Energy Working Group co-chairs Dra. Velvet Rosemberg, Director General for International Affairs, SENER, and Eric Bélair, Director General of Energy Policy and International Affairs Branch at Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), were also present, with DG Bélair serving as the session moderator. Other Canadian participants included Ms. Sandra Diaz, Business Development Officer at the Alberta Mexico Office; Mr. Cristian Gonzalez-Paez, Regional Manager (Americas) at the University of Alberta; and, Mr. Scott McLean, the University of Calgary Representative in Mexico.

DG Bélair inaugurated the meeting with welcoming remarks, noting that the CMP Energy Working Group is a forum where not only governments, but also industry and civil society can identify and advance programs and projects that serve the interests of both nations.

II. Outcomes

In his opening remarks, Parliamentary Secretary Lefebvre thanked the Secretary for honoring some of Mexico’s past commitments on energy cooperation.  Noting that the transition to a low carbon energy system is the core of Canada’s approach to energy policy, the Parliamentary Secretary outlined parts of Canada’s approach, including decarbonizing industry and transport, reducing energy use; and encouraging the development of clean energy sources.

While government policy is key, Canada understands that investors and international partners also play a vital role. Accordingly, the Parliamentary Secretary briefly touched upon the important role of private investors in the energy transition in both Canada and Mexico. He ended his remarks by highlighting that putting people at the center of energy development was a value Canada, Mexico and the new US administration share that could be a fruitful focus for future bilateral and trilateral cooperation. Cooperation to support this effort could include sharing best practices on the subject of clean energy access for remote and rural communities and encouraging Mexico’s participation in several multilateral initiatives, e.g. the joint Canada-International Renewable Energy Agency initiative on transitioning remote communities to renewable energy, the International Energy Agency’s Equal by 30 campaign; and working within Clean Energy Ministerial framework to develop a new work area on the social dimension of the energy transition.

Secretary Nahle delivered brief remarks by highlighting that the energy sector is important to Mexico. While agreeing that dialogue between the two governments should continue, she emphasized that in a bilateral relationship, each country operates on the basis of sovereignty and self-determination. The Secretary outlined that Mexican policy aims to ensure that economic development and social well-being go hand in hand, in particularly in remote communities. The policy also aims to strengthen value chains within Mexico’s energy sector. She noted that the Mexican government is closely looking at energy – and the electricity sector in particular – to ensure that foreign and national investment conditions are met. The Secretary ended her remarks by emphasizing the importance of dialogue and collaboration between Canada and Mexico. Exchange of best practices and expertise in the area of technology was mentioned as a starting point for bilateral cooperation.

DG Bélair then invited Canadian stakeholders to provide remarks. Ms. Sandra Diaz, the Province of Alberta representative, briefly highlighted Alberta’s commitment to strengthen engagement with Mexican counterparts, including through the CMP. Representatives from the Universities of Alberta and Calgary thanked SENER for their continued collaboration and provided updates on their respective projects in Mexico.

Mr. Cristian Gonzalez-Paez highlighted that the two knowledge network projects involving the University of Alberta and the Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo (IMP) have finished year two and three deliverables, respectively. The third network focused on skills development and training, with the National Autonomous University of Mexico, is currently being restructured due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Due to funding delays, the projects have had to use the University’s funds. Mr. Scott McLean also mentioned the delayed funding for four University of Calgary projects (two involving the IMP and two involving Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey). He further noted that Mexican stakeholders, including Petróleos Mexicanos and civil servants, have provided positive feedback on the projects and that the projects’ successful completion will provide a return on investment. Both universities requested a follow-up from SENER regarding the status of funding.

In Mexico’s closing remarks, Undersecretary Maciel noted that SENER would give careful consideration to the universities’ projects. He also committed to discussing and providing feedback on a trilateral meeting with the US. Parliamentary Secretary Lefebvre closed the session by noting that Minister O’Regan looked forward to a meeting with Secretary Nahle to discuss how both countries can work together with the new US administration, as well as to continue the ongoing dialogue on ensuring a predictable investment climate in North America.

While the time allotted to the 2020 CMP Energy Working Group did not allow for substantive discussions on collaborative activities for the next year, working group members look forward to further engagement on how they can deepen bilateral collaboration over the course of 2021.

Environment Working Group

Canadian Co-chair

Lucie Desforges
Director General of Bilateral Affairs and Trade
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)

Mexican Co-chair

Iris Jiménez
Deputy Director General of International Cooperation and International Affairs
Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT)

I. Introduction and objectives

The Environment Working Group (EWG) of the Canada-Mexico Partnership (CMP) is the main mechanism for identifying issues of common interest in environmental protection and collaboration on bilateral initiatives.

The EWG virtually met on November 26, 2020, with the objective of reflecting on the activities of the 2020 Work Plan as well as identifying potential new areas for collaboration. This session welcomed over 50 participants, meeting from across ECCC and SEMARNAT, in addition to several other departments including Natural Resources Canada, Health Canada and provincial representatives from Alberta and Quebec, as well as Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico.

Six priority issues were discussed:

As well as resuming the cooperation between Parks Canada and SEMARNAT/CONANP, which seek to advance the commitments of their 2019 MOU, which seeks to strengthen and exchange information on Natural Protected Areas.

Government officials from Canada and Mexico presented information on each topic and identified synergies in order to collaborate in multilateral and regional fora, in addition to bilaterally.

The meeting contributed to strengthening bilateral environmental relations, both at the federal, provincial and state-level, and through collaboration with the private sector and civil society.

II. Results

1. Nature-Based Solutions to Address Climate Change and Conserve Biodiversity


ECCC and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico (SRE) presented an overview of the NBS Action Track under the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) and on the advancements of NBS in both countries, highlighting lessons learned and discussing the future of bilateral cooperation following the NBS Summit in January 2021 and COP-26.

Action Items

2. Environmental Cooperation through Trade Agreements


Canada and Mexico jointly proposed a virtual workshop on the illegal trade of turtles and tortoises that could include additional partner countries under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This would be an opportunity to showcase Canada and Mexico’s co-leadership on environment and trade, particularly amongst CPTPP members. Mexico also proposed to reactivate the North American Wildlife Enforcement Group, seeking continuity on the share of information and best practices in wildlife protection and illegal trade.

Furthermore, the Embassy of Canada in Mexico presented a proposal for a capacity-building “boot camp” (intensive training session) which would strengthen policymakers and parliamentarians’ awareness of integrating environmental considerations in trade agreements and would include negotiation simulations.

These undertakings recognize the use of trade agreements as means to address environmental and climate change related matters and highlight the leadership of Canada and Mexico as promoters of trade and sustainable development as mutually supportive agendas.

Action Items

3. Sustainable Practices in the Extractive Industry

A) Indigenous Consultation and Participation

Canada presented a proposal for a “live case study” on best practices for Indigenous consultation processes in major mining operations performed by Canadian mining companies in Mexico. This initiative would serve as an example of corporate social responsibility in the extractive sector and showcase more sustainable mining practices that could be useful for adoption in the extractive industry in Mexico. This proposal enjoys the support of Natural Resources Canada and the Embassy of Canada to Mexico. SEMARNAT indicated its openness to receive a more detailed proposal in order to conduct internal and inter-Ministerial consultations.

Action Items

With respects to mining operations, Mexico expressed interest in exchanging technical experiences in relation to the design criteria and risk analysis for the construction, operation and closure (post-operation) of tailings deposits with the aim of learning from the Canadian regulations, studies and the methodologies applied. Canada holds significant experience in this area at the provincial level.

Action Items
B) Green Technologies

Canada presented a proposal for a virtual trade mission on “Green Mining” to promote green technology, exchange best practices, share expertise in improving sustainability in the mining sector, and establish bilateral private sector networks. This proposal will seek to complement the work currently undertaken by the Canadian and Mexican governments to create Business-to-Business opportunities for both countries.

Action Items

4. Trans-boundary Movements of Plastic Wastes under the Basel Convention


Mexico proposed the establishment of a network between Mexican and Canadian experts on the Basel Convention’s Plastics Amendment and its provisions for Prior Informed Consent (PIC). This network would support technical cooperation for the lifecycle management of plastics, and exchange best practices and lessons learned for the recycling of plastics and their respective safety standards, in addition to providing guidance to Mexican officials in the development of a plastic waste inventory to ensure proper identification and environmentally sound management of plastics.

Action Items

5. Sound Management of Chemicals, Pesticides and Hazardous Wastes


Mexico proposed to organize a series of webinars and virtual meetings to exchange techniques and methodologies for environmental risk assessment on pesticides and the management of hazardous materials. In doing so, Mexico would be able to strengthen its capabilities in the sound management of pesticides. Representatives of Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (Health Canada) and the Industrial Sectors and Chemicals Directorate (ECCC) confirmed previous experience in the exchange of best practices with other countries.

Action Items

6. Capacity Building for Workers in Waste Water Treatment Plants


Mexico proposed expanding a domestic capacity-building network for wastewater treatment workers. The network is interested in including Canadian expertise through the delivery of training to members of the Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA). This proposal would follow a train-the-trainer model, in which Mexican officials would receive a compact training program that focuses both on specific training content and on how to replicate the training for other Mexican officials across the country.

Action Items

III. Challenges and Opportunities

The EWG facilitated a successful virtual session, which benefitted from the participation of a wide range of experts. Over 50 participants from both Canada and Mexico, with different areas of expertise, attended the working group meeting. The 2020 edition of the EWG recorded the highest number of participants in its history. The diverse group of participants allowed for informative discussions that led to the identification of opportunities for synergies among attendees.

The COVID-19 global pandemic was identified as an underlying challenge for the bilateral and regional engagements of the Canada-Mexico partnership. Both parties agreed that, during 2021, these engagements would be limited to virtual engagements. Given the impossibility for face-to-face meetings, virtual engagements are expected to provide an opportunity for greater participation at a lesser cost and lower carbon emissions related to travelling.

The activities identified will contribute to the strengthening of institutional capacities to face emerging environmental and climate change challenges.

Forestry Working Group

Canadian Co-chair

Jeff Waring
Director General of Trade, Economics and Industry
Canadian Forest Service (CFS)
Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)

Mexican Co-chair

Luciana Ludlow Paz
Acting Head of International Affairs and Financing Promotion
National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR)


Within the working group on Forests there is a strong consensus that the CMP provides an important institutional mechanism for systematizing cooperation, convening and strengthening partnerships and promoting the integration of science and policy. By working together, the WG on Forests has become better at asking the right questions, getting the right data, and obtaining better answers to help support and respond to priority areas, such as forest carbon accounting, wildland fire management, building with wood and landscape approaches to sustainable forest management. This collaborative approach provides new data, joint access to resources, accelerates learning and our ability to share knowledge on critical issues of common concern.

Priority Areas of work reaffirmed by the working group on Forests include:

  1. Wildland fire management
  2. Forest carbon accounting
  3. Building with wood
  4. Revisiting the possibility of Mexico rejoining the International Model Forest Network

Highlights from the WG on Forests:

1. Wildland Fire Management

Due to a low fire risk season in Canada this year there was no exchange of wildland fire management resources between our two countries. However, preparations were made to enable deployments if required.  As part of our Memorandum of Understanding Memorandum of Understanding for the Exchange of Wildland Fire Management Resources between Canadian and Mexican Participants, the annual Operating Plan between Canadian and Mexican participants was reviewed and signed in June 2020. The Operating Plan clarifies the requirements and standards  for the exchange of wildland fire management resources, and was updated via email and phone calls (due to the COVID-19 pandemic there was no face-to-face meeting).  In short, Canada did not request support this year, but Mexico stood ready to assist.

Mexico shared its development and implementation of an online tool called SISECOIF (Wildland Fire Fighter Selection System for International Deployments) for registration and selection of potential firefighters to assist internationally based on the requirements of our MOU.

Canada (Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre - CIFCC) highlighted the promotion and training of gender perspectives in wildland fire management, logistics and firefighting activities to eliminate gender discrimination. Guidelines for a national code of conduct are in development and consultations with Mexico have helped to shape progress to date.

Canada (CFS) shared updates on the International Fire Danger Rating System and recent trainings in Costa Rica, Malaysia, and Switzerland. Domestically, the Danger Rating System model will be updated for 2025 to better evaluate different scenarios of vegetation management around communities and fire behaviour, and improve the Fire Weather Index System to include grasslands. These changes can make Canadian tools more easily applicable in other countries such as Mexico.

At the request of Mexico, Canada also shared an overview of the WildFireSat initiative – a new initiative to launch a dedicated satellite for near-real time data that will inform wildland fire management decision-making tools. Canada is currently in the design phase and will keep Mexico updated on progress.

Year ahead – focus on:

  1. Maintaining the annual Operational Plan. In the spring of 2021, complete a detailed review of clauses and the mitigation plan noting COVID-19 will be a big challenge for any international deployment.
  2. Real time training or technical exchanges on wildland fire.
  3. Updates on WildFireSat opportunities and grassland monitoring.
  4. CIFFC to share gender and diversity plan and explore potential collaboration with CONAFOR.

2. Forest Carbon Accounting

The important role of the forest sector in nature-based solutions contributing to reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions is recognized in both Canada and Mexico.

Nationally, Mexico is working to better track deforestation and forest degradation to better understand their extent of forest cover. This includes improved satellite data and high precision mapping which improves reporting (Monitoring, Reporting and Verification) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and can influence the design and implementation of public policy.

Members of the working group on Forests from Canada and Mexico have jointly developed three publications on North American cooperation on climate change mitigation options and benefits of modeling. In March 2020, the Canadian Forest Service led a training workshop in Mexico on Carbon Budget Modeling (CBM) and Generic CBM. Canada has a number of scientific papers under development on the GCBM.

Mexico (CONAFOR) has shared the work carried out in the development of better methods for the estimation of activity data, such as the Satellite System for Forest Monitoring (SAMOF). The SAMOF utilizes two approaches, one spatially explicit and the other based on sampling - allowing CONAFOR to have an estimate of deforestation rates, as well as to evaluate the uncertainty of the calculations.  This approach helps to determine the areas of the country where gross deforestation by ecoregion occurs with greater magnitude, and to define the direct cause of the change of land use. CONAFOR also shared the progress and commitments of mitigation impact assessment, as well as the inputs, methods and progress of the results of different projects.

Canada (CFS) reported on the various collaborations carried out bilaterally, as well as trilaterally between the three North American countries within the framework of the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), where improvements to the Carbon Budget Model were highlighted.

Year ahead – focus on:

  1. Support the assessment and implementation of science-based mitigation activities, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the forestry sector and beyond.
  2. Experts leading this area of work will meet virtually in the near future to agree upon actions to mutually advance work in this Forest Carbon Accounting.

3. Building with Wood

Mexico is seeing large demand for wood homes/cabins. Currently, work is underway with the National Housing Council (CONAVI) and the Council for Construction Wood (COMACO) to identify areas of opportunity between wood producers and home builders, particularly in rural and peri-urban areas. In response, Mexico is developing a new building with wood program, focused on housing and low-rise buildings. The academic and private sectors are important partners. The program will source local and sustainable resources, improve value chains, open new markets, lead to better integration between industry and advance innovation in the forest sector.

Within the framework of the Mexico-Canada Partnership, CONAFOR is interested in supporting the dissemination of information and advancing knowledge of building with wood through:

Year ahead – focus on:

  1. Continued collaboration to share knowledge and learn from Canada’s experience in programs that support technical aspects of construction using wood – in particular low and mid-rise buildings.
  2. Explore approaches to promote and inform the advancement of Mexico’s proposed first prototype of a housing community constructed with wood.

4. Areas of Collaboration: International Model Forest Network

Inclusive and shared governance challenges in Mexico, Canada and around the world are becoming increasingly important. This year Canada continued to share the 30-year history of the International Model Forest Network and how the Model Forest approach to sustainable forest management is addressing issues such as: integrated natural resource management, landscape governance and climate change adaptation through local level participation in wildland fire management.  Mexico, through representatives from CONAFOR, participated in Latin American Model Forest Network events in May and November 2020 and learned how the Model Forest partnership structure is inclusive of stakeholders across the landscape such as governments, indigenous peoples, industry, academics and others who develop a vision of sustainability for their landscape. CONAFOR’s participation in the Latin American Model Forest Webinar on deforestation also demonstrated how the network structure enables the acceleration of learning and knowledge sharing.

Year ahead – focus on:

Canada will continue to invite Mexico to participate in IMFN activities, learn more about the network and options for participation. Mexico confirmed their commitment to exploring the IMFN partnership and will continue to review the invitation. They will share a firm decision in 2021.

Overall, several of the working groups in person activities planned for throughout the year were postponed or cancelled due to the global health pandemic. Nonetheless, some working group activities were able to advance through virtual platforms and some new opportunities were able to be pursued. As an example, the annual CMP meeting held virtually this year provided opportunity for broader engagement of participants (approximately 21 individuals participated in the working group on Forests meeting – the highest number of participants ever).  The WG on Forests is hopeful 2021-22 will allow for combined virtual and in-person cooperation in priority work areas.

Input to the report from working group participants include:

Mexican Participants

  1. Luciana Ludlow Paz
    Acting Head of International Affairs and Financial Development, CONAFOR
  2. Juan Manuel Villa Mejía,
    Operations Deputy Manager, CONAFOR
  3. José Armando Alanís de la Rosa
    Manager of the National Forest Monitoring System, CONAFOR.
  4. Oswaldo Carrillo Negrete
    Head of the Specialized Technical Unit in Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (UTEMRV), CONAFOR
  5. Eder Larios Guzmán
    Responsible for Reporting and Registration of the UTEMRV, CONAFOR
  6. María de los Ángeles Soriano Luna
    Specialist in forest modeling UTEMRV, CONAFOR
  7. César Moreno García
    Specialist in forest modeling at the UTEMRV, CONAFOR
  8. Marcela Olguín Álvarez,
    Expert in forest modeling
  9. Mario Antonio Mosqueda Vázquez
    General Coordinator of Production and Productivity, CONAFOR
  10. Francisco Loya Chávez
    Manager of Supply, Transformation and Markets, CONAFOR
  11. Irma Karina López Sánchez
    Manager of International Cooperation, CONAFOR
  12. Vanessa Carolina Becerra Álvarez
    Deputy Manager of International Cooperation, CONAFOR

Canadian Participants

  1. Jeff Waring
    Director General, Trade, Economics and Industry Branch, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada
  2. Jeffrey Biggs
    Director, Trade and International Affairs Division, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada
  3. Werner Kurz
    Senior Research Scientist, NRCan-CFS
  4. Mike Wotton
    Senior Research Scientist, NRCan-CFS
  5. Natasha Jurko
    Geospatial Fire Technologist, NRCan-CFS
  6. Joshua Johnston
    Forest Fire Research Scientist, NRCan-CFS
  7. Dave Bokovay
    Director of Operations, CIFFC
  8. Maria Sharpe
    Fire Science and Information Manager, CIFFC
  9. Christa Mooney
    Senior Policy Advisor, NRCan-CFS
  10. Rich Verbisky
    Senior Advisor, Trade and International Affairs Division, NRCan-CFS

Human Capital Working Group

Canadian Co-chair

Jennifer Daubeny
Executive Director of International Education
Global Affairs Canada (GAC)

Mexican Co-chair

Gustavo A. Cabrera Rodríguez
Director General of Scientific and Technical Co-operation
Mexican Agency for International Development
Cooperation (AMEXCID)
Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (SRE)

Introduction and overview

Due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Canada hosted the XVI meeting of the working group on Human Capital (HCWG) via virtual means, on November 25, 2020. The online format enabled participation by 60 stakeholders from the Mexican and Canadian national, state and provincial governments, educational institutions, industry associations and non-governmental organizations. Both Co-chairs welcomed the strong participation from both sides, which showed the enduring mutual commitment to support the ongoing development of Canada-Mexico cooperation in international education.

Mexico was the 10th largest source of international students studying in Canada on study permits of six months or more in 2019, and the second-largest source of international students in Canada from the Americas, after Brazil. Over 17,000 Mexican students chose Canada as a language studies destination in 2019, including for short-term language training, exchange programs or full-time language study. Mexico continues its strong efforts to promote Mexico as an academic destination for Canadians.

Recalling lessons learned from the 2019 HCWG meeting, prior to the 2020 HCWG a trilingual Initiative Tracking Sheet was developed, into which stakeholders were invited to share details on their past, current and planned education initiatives with Canadian and Mexican partners. With the availability of this reference document, the Co-chairs sought to encourage more interactive and strategic discussions on the meeting themes, rather than stakeholders’ updating the members on their past year’s institutional projects.

This enabled robust discussions between a diverse range of participants that touched on a number of priority areas for bilateral education cooperation, including student mobility, opportunities for Indigenous students and better use of the programs offered for Canadian students and language education. It also allowed for the exchange of updates regarding bilateral research cooperation initiatives, objectives for work-integrated learning, and new scholarship opportunities for Mexican students to pursue studies in Canada.

Throughout the day, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was a central theme, with stakeholders sharing the impact of the pandemic on their initiatives, as well as how particular groups of students, such as Indigenous students and women, have faced specific challenges. Stakeholders exchanged perspectives on their shared challenges and priorities during the pandemic, as well as their responses and mitigation strategies toward ensuring the continuity of cooperation, what has worked for them and what has not, recognizing that enabling students to meet their learning objectives remains a top priority.

Finally, some of the projects and initiatives that are under development were presented to the group, as well as the areas of interest to be covered. Stakeholders reinforced their commitment to work bilaterally to reach the established goals.

Given the shortened length of the meeting, the Canadian and Mexican governments agreed that the final Action Plan would be developed jointly following the meeting, and committed to produce this without delay.

Key Results of the 2019-2020 Action Plan

List of Achievements

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international education was cited as a key factor affecting the implementation of a broad number of Canada-Mexico education initiatives. Nevertheless, stakeholders were able to share a number of results achieved since the previous HCWG meeting in November 2019 in Mexico City. Status updates were provided both in the discussion and through the Canada-Mexico Education Initiative Tracking Sheet.

Some of the key results of both parties include:

Key Issues for the HCWG 2020

A. Support Continued Exchange of Information and Best Practices, to Overcome Challenges Created by the Pandemic

The group’s discussion highlighted the shared challenges faced by education stakeholders in Canada and Mexico due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and underscored the need to maintain open channels of communication. Ongoing communication is key to ensuring that collaboration is developed and maintained even as stakeholders adjust their plans to account for new public health, technological and economic realities.

Although a number of mobility initiatives were affected by the pandemic, stakeholders observed some advantages to new virtual modes of collaboration, including increased accessibility to education opportunities for students and faculty enabled by online platforms. Stakeholders committed to exploring opportunities to develop further collaboration through these platforms. Some promising examples shared included Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan)’s virtual 2020 TVET inter-sectoral forum with Pacific Alliance countries, which attracted 1,000 participants (vs. 200 in 2019). The eMovies initiative created by the Inter-American Organization for Higher Education was also applauded, as it enables Canadian and Mexican post-secondary institutions to offer virtual courses to students at other participating institutions, expanding opportunities for their students to participate in virtual mobility.

At the same time, stakeholders acknowledged the need to keep working to address barriers faced by some students and communities to accessing virtual education opportunities, including Indigenous students, students without adequate financing, and students in rural communities, noting that missing or unreliable technology and/or internet connectivity can create challenges.

B. Student Mobility

The Mexican government stressed the importance of international experience for youth to develop their leadership skills, foreign language proficiency, and personal and professional networks. The Mexican delegation further confirmed that it would be relaunching the Mexican Government Scholarships for Foreign Students in early 2021, using a new delivery format (currently being designed).  The program will prioritize initiatives aligned with Mexico’s national priorities, including the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while also continuing to launch a general call for proposals. The program will integrate virtual learning and research, and go beyond bilateral mobility to include academic opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Mexican SRE also noted its interest to reactivate the Canada-Mexico Youth Mobility arrangement, and its intention to pursue renewal/renegotiation of the agreement with Canada.

The Canadian government provided an update on the Outbound Student Mobility Pilot led by Employment and Social Development Canada and administered by Colleges and Institutes Canada and Universities Canada. In addition to supporting opportunities for Canadians to pursue studies and work abroad, the Pilot aims to increase mobility to non-traditional student destinations, including in Latin America. Although the Pilot has been delayed by the pandemic, a call for proposals has been launched for an Innovation Fund that will support projects to test innovative modes of learning, including virtual mobility initiatives. EDUCAFIN shared that it has transitioned to hybrid models of program delivery, allowing scholarship students to begin programs online and then to travel for in-person learning once conditions allow. EduNova is working with Global Affairs Canada and Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service to support virtual engagement initiatives, as Mexico is a priority country for Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia is also working to promote outbound mobility.

C. Opportunities for Indigenous Students

Stakeholders from both countries reaffirmed their commitment to developing international education and mobility opportunities for Indigenous students. Such opportunities not only contribute to the professional and personal development of individual participants, but also strengthen linkages and exchange between Canadian and Mexican Indigenous communities. The Instituto Nacional de los Pueblos Indigenas (INPI) indicated its strong interest to increase collaboration and mobility with Canada, as it has a program to support Indigenous education. AMEXCID noted that its Grant Program for Canadian Indigenous Students was postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19, but confirmed plans to relaunch the program in March 2021. It hopes to welcome 40 Canadian Indigenous students to Mexico under the program. AMEXCID would like to see increased reciprocity of mobility opportunities for Mexican Indigenous students, and encourages Canadian educational institutions to propose collaboration. GAC noted that the Outbound Student Mobility Program places a priority on increasing outbound mobility by underrepresented groups, including Indigenous students. Mexican students, including Indigenous students, are also eligible to apply for Canada’s Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program.

The Canada-Mexico Indigenous Higher Education Roundtable, which provides a platform for discussion of opportunities for enhanced mobility, research collaboration and development of Indigenous initiatives, is regarded as an important vehicle through which to further develop cooperation. Stakeholders looked forward to engaging through this mechanism in the future. Lakehead University has received funding to build capacity around Indigenous mobility, and the University of Saskatchewan indicated its interest in hosting a future edition of the Roundtable in Canada. CICan also expressed interest in exploring how it could share its experiences and best practices through the Roundtable, as it has lessons learned through its delivery of education initiatives for Indigenous students.

D. Language Education

AMEXCID is working with Languages Canada (LC) to modernize the Proyecta 10,000 program to ensure that it includes both language learning and development of soft skills. Canadian stakeholders welcomed this positive update, as the pandemic forced cancellation of a number of mobility initiatives under the program in 2020. While revision of the program is still underway, changes could include:

At this time, AMEXCID aims to deliver the Proyecta program using in-person mobility, but timelines remain unconfirmed, given the ongoing limitations imposed by the pandemic.

Language Canada’s (LC) presentation underlined the continued importance and growth of language education in the bilateral education relationship. Mexico was the fourth-largest source of language students in Canada in 2019. LC noted the strong appetite to reinstate programs put on hold due to COVID-19, and observed that schools have pivoted to virtual mobility, and are placing a high priority on student safety and delivering a high-quality educational experience. While online learning has helped ensure continuity in service delivery, face-to-face experiences remain essential. The Government of Canada’s October 20, 2020, changes to entry restrictions affecting international students were cited as a positive development. Although some institutions may not currently feature on the list of designated learning institutions approved to receive international students, the list will continue to be updated.

E. Other Topics of Interest

Stakeholders broadly agreed that online mobility will remain a reality of international collaboration even after COVID-19. Recognizing this, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Mexico suggested the creation of a task force within the HCWG to explore opportunities for promoting online mobility and online education, including through work-integrated learning. The Canadian Co-chair also observed that Canadian post-secondary students have pursued virtual international practicums during the pandemic, including with Mexican organizations, and indicated this could be an interesting model to replicate. The Mexican Co-chair provided an update on new CONACyT medical scholarships for which a call for proposals will be launched in January or February 2021 for residencies enabling Mexican students to pursue studies abroad in medicine, with a focus on viruses.


The Canadian and Mexican Co-chairs welcomed the active engagement of Canadian and Mexican education counterparts at the meeting, which showed their strong desire to maintain and strengthen Canada-Mexico cooperation in international education. In the face of the specific challenges to education cooperation posed by the pandemic, the Canadian Co-chair underscored the importance of continued exchange of information and best practices. Such exchanges would continue to support mutually beneficial two-way mobility and international collaboration to respond to the educational objectives and learning needs of Canadian and Mexican students, including Indigenous students and women, as the global health situation continues to evolve.

As the pandemic poses significant obstacles for the delivery of existing collaboration programs in their current models, the Mexican government confirmed its support to overcome these challenges, and stressed that international experience is important for youth to develop their leadership skills, foreign language proficiency, and personal and professional networks. The Mexican Co-chair emphasized the importance of taking action in the creation of virtual initiatives focusing on the development of soft skills for future leaders. The Canadian Co-chair likewise expressed support for education stakeholders exploring new and innovative means of collaboration, including through virtual models.

The HCWG discussions were productive, with a focus on a range of academic cooperation with strong results for both countries.  Despite the pandemic, new initiatives by state/ provincial governments, citizens and educational institutions also bode well for the future.

Bilateral relations between Canada and Mexico are moving forward in a manner that reflects a shared commitment to working together to respond to global challenges, and confirms academic cooperation is a key element enabling the two countries and its citizens to meet and overcome these challenges. Both countries indicated their commitment to embrace new and innovative forms for human capital collaboration, to increase the potential for identifying successful solutions to barriers. Although some potential challenges were noted related to technical infrastructure, both Canada and Mexico welcomed the collaboration between HCWG stakeholders, enabling both countries to further augment their strong economic and people-to-people ties, and to meet educational goals within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The efforts of Canada and Mexico, through the working group on Human Capital, support the intention to make the North American region the most competitive and dynamic worldwide, and reflect Canada and Mexico's commitment to the socio-economic and cultural development and well-being of their populations.

Mining Working Group

Canadian Co-chair

Photinie Koutsavlis
Director General of Policy and Economics
Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)

Mexican Co-chair

José Rafael Jabalera Batista
Director General of Mining Development
Secretariat of Economy (SE)

I. Introduction and objectives

The Mining Working Group meeting took place on November 26 via videoconference.

The Canadian delegation included representatives from Natural Resources Canada including from the Geological Survey of Canada, the Embassy of Canada to Mexico, and the Canada-Mexico Chamber of Commerce (CANCHAM). The Mexican delegation was comprised of representatives from the Mexican Secretariat of Economy including from the Geological Survey of Mexico and the Mexican Mining Fund, the Mexican Embassy to Canada, and the Mexican Mining Association (CAMIMEX). On average, the event had between 30 and 40 participants on the line throughout the day.

The discussion focused on topics of mutual interest including COVID-19 recovery, community engagement during mineral exploration, supply chain development, local procurement, and taxation. The session concluded with the agreement by both countries on a work plan to be implemented on 2021.

II. Results

José Jabalera presented on the importance of the mining sector to Mexico, and the impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had in the mining industry. Mark Boyland, Director, Industry and Economic Analysis Division, Lands and Minerals Sector, presented on the impacts of the pandemic in Canada’s mining sector and some of the economic recovery programs the Canadian government has put forward to support the mining industry. Later in the morning and on the topic of community engagement during exploration, the working group had presentations from Flor de María Harp, Director General, Geological Survey of Mexico; a presentation from PDAC on their E3 plus initiative; and a presentation from the Canadian Embassy in Peru on two guides they developed for community engagement during exploration.

The working group also had a presentation from the Mining Shared Value organization - part of Engineers Without Borders Canada - on their Local Procurement Reporting Mechanism (LPRM) and some of the work they have done with the mining cluster in the Mexican state of Sonora. The Mexican Economic Intelligence Unit located under the Secretariat of Economy provided a presentation on their innovative tool for data analytics and data visualization called Data Mexico. The website is quite advanced and allows you to locate information on productive sectors including mining as well as on their supply chains.

Deloitte Canada provided a presentation on best practices for taxation regimes, and Alfredo Tijerina, Director General, Mining Development Trust, presented an overview of the changes coming in 2021 on the taxation front in Mexico.

III. Future Actions

The program concluded with the review and endorsement of a 2021 work plan. The working group agreed to organize an event involving mining clusters from both countries as well as companies with innovative solutions from the mining services and supply sector to create trade promotion opportunities between Canada and Mexico. It was also proposed that a presentation by a Canadian jurisdiction (BC or Quebec) or the Mining Association of Canada on financial guarantees for mine closure will be give, as Mexico had identified this as a topic of interest. It was also agreed to adapt the guide developed by the Canadian Embassy to Peru to the Mexican context, as well as to continue the work underway to develop a live case study on Indigenous consultations in collaboration with the Environment Working Group and the Canadian Embassy in Mexico City.

Trade, Investment and Innovation Working Group

Canadian Co-chair

Eric Walsh,
Director General of North America Policy and Relations
Global Affairs Canada (GAC)

Mexican Co-chair

Lydia Antonio
Director General of International Treaties’ Monitoring,
Administration and Compliance Oversight
Secretariat of Economy (SE)

José Treviño
Mexican Business Council for Foreign Trade, Investment and Technology (COMCE)

Introduction and Overview

The Canada-Mexico Partnership’s Trade, Investment and Innovation Working Group (TIIWG) meeting was held virtually, November 25 and 26, 2020. More than 60 participants from Federal governments, province, territories, states and private sector attended the event.

The impacts of COVID-19, have profoundly affected life around the globe. Isolation, contact restrictions, border restrictions and economic shutdowns imposed affected countries and tested the resilience and innovation of many global economies. In their introductory remarks, both co-chairs presented the overall economic contexts of their respective countries. They spoke of their governments’ actions in ensuring a coordinated North American response by keeping essential sectors operational and maintain global value chains during this time; their work in multilateral forums such as the WTO Ottawa group; their efforts in implementing and promoting trade agreements and the various mechanisms and tools to assist small and medium sized enterprises grow their exports.

The current impact of COVID and the importance of preparing for a post-COVID recovery, was a running theme for the two days of discussion. Participants discussed how their countries have had to pivot in some sectors to secure manufacturing and supply chains of critical goods such as PPE, testing, essential drugs, vaccines and therapeutics. Both countries agreed that now more than ever, collaboration and maintaining open borders are of prime importance and that ‘North America should be drawing closer, not closing borders’.

As part of a focused discussion on sustaining medical supplies in the North American market, Canada presented its expertise and world leading technologies in numerous sub-sectors such as medical imaging (image guided therapies), in-vitro diagnostics (microfluidics), cardiology (TAVI and TAVR) and brain health and senior care (Baycrest Hospital in Toronto was named by Newsweek in 2019 as the top geriatric hospital in the world). Mexico provided an overview of the pharma industry and recent changes which have had major impacts on drug supplies. The discussion highlighted a few interesting opportunities to leverage including excess capacity in manufacturing and laboratories in Mexico, and Mexico being a destination for clinical trials. Finally, regulatory cooperation was suggested as a potential next step to increase dialogue and better align objectives to reduce barriers while maintaining standards and requirements.  While this falls outside of the purview of the TIIWG, the group could explore how to raise this concern with relevant interlocutors in both countries.

Two presentations from Canadian private sector participants helped focus the meeting on areas of interest moving forward. While the private sector noted the new CUSMA is a good thing, it does not resolve all problems. Apotex pointed to domestic regulations which in the pharmaceutical industry require bio-equivalency tests in both Canada and Mexico and expressed the view that this should be eliminated as an onerous requirement.

Livingston International, noted that regulatory reform under the new CUSMA will help but that there have been anxious moments during the rollout of the new agreement as companies try to understand what is required of them.

COMCE emphasized that there are multiple areas of opportunity to generate synergies between the private sectors of both nations. It mentioned the importance of the pharmaceutical industry in the region and the priority of having an efficient mechanism for the production and distribution of vaccines, in order to face COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of Mexico´s actions to avoid COVID-19 spread, Mexico presented the epidemiological risk traffic light launched at the state level to regulate the use of public space according to the risk of contagion of COVID-19).  Measures adopted by Mexico, Canada and the United States were discussed to align the essential sectors of the regional economy at the beginning of the pandemic and the agreement adopted to restrict non-essential travel across land borders.

Canada and Mexico both presented updates on CUSMA and what has been done in the 148 days since the agreement entered into force in July 2020. Mexico has held 40 coordination meetings with its counterparts in the private sector and government and with Canada and the US. Mexico also has a strategy to promote the new NAFTA, including several seminars or workshops with all Mexican States and through consular networks in Canada and the United States.  Canada presented its efforts for capacity building within the Trade Commissioners Service as well as the tools and intelligence it provides for Canadian businesses.

Mexico highlighted that it is not only a trade agreement but also an integration and cooperation one that provides a legal certainty to our economic partners. It offers a unique opportunity to enhance North American competitiveness and integration with new provisions, giving a robust framework to develop and beef up regional value chains. It is considered a fundamental tool for economic recovery.

Additionally, it was underscored that Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Transpacific Partnership (CPTPP) is an new trade generation agreement which provides the opportunity to diversify our exports in sectors such as 1) agricultural, 2) agro-industrial, 3) automotive, 4) aerospace, 5) electrical and 6) electronic, among others.

Mexico and Canada share a common view on keeping open and connected global value chains and reducing or eliminating restrictions on trade flows, which has been shared.

Key Results of 2019-2020 Action Plan

List of Achievements

The challenges posed by COVID-19 impacted the initial TIIWG Action Plan proposed for 2020.  A number of initiatives had been cancelled, postponed and a few have moved to a virtual platform where possible. While the plan had to be revised to reflect the current reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, it encouraged innovation and the discovery of new tools to be able to deliver on initiatives

Building from discussions at last years TIIWG and the groups joint commitment to support trade data reconciliation between the two countries, Statistics Canada (StatsCan) and The National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico (INEGI) presented their project, whose objective is to analyze the bilateral trade discrepancies between the Canada and Mexico to apply a reconciliation methodology which will provide quality balanced bilateral trade data. This information will be useful in the analysis of regional and global value chains.

To date, the group has had several meetings and has exchanged information on trade in goods and services. Next steps will be to finalize the application of the general method agreed to and review the results and identify larges discrepancies and trends. The OECD will be contacted for advice as to how to manage the final balancing. The group noted that official statistics would not be modified as a result of this exercise.

On the Canadian side, some initiatives that took place and worth noting: The Canada-Mexico private equity meeting organized in collaboration with CVCA and AMEXCAP (Aug. 2020); Meetings for the data reconciliation project (Sept. 2020); the Women in Innovation Virtual Mission for Canadian women-owned businesses in the Life Sciences and ICT sectors; the first cohort of the Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) program; and an ICT trade mission (all in Nov. 2020).

The Private Equity meeting was meant to exchange information on current trends and discuss COVID-19 impacts. It permitted new relationships to develop and the momentum to be maintained. All virtual missions were successfully delivered and some saw a higher than usual participation rate due to the remote accessibility feature. More B2B meetings could be organized and we saw strong interest from local contacts in connecting with Canadian businesses. Between September and November 2020, the first CTA program focused on Smart Cities and used various collaboration platforms to offer high touch services to 10 high potential companies coming from Coast-to-Coast including women in leadership roles. Preliminary results show very promising outcomes for most participants.

On the Mexican side, initiatives that took place included: the launch of the DataMexico platform that allows the integration, visualization and analysis of public data to promote innovation, inclusion and diversification of the Mexican economy (July 2020) with Canadian participation; Mujer Exporta Mx business roundtable which linked businesswomen from Mexico, United States and Canada; Meetings of investment capital funds organized by AMEXCAP and the Canadian Association of Funds private equity (CVCA); the celebration of the Foodvenirs México E-business roundtable; the launch of virtual fairs with Quebec and Ontario carried out by COMCE; the dissemination of CUSMA provisions and opportunities with Ontario and Quebec chambers of commerce and representatives of the private sector through virtual seminars.

The progress of the project to reconcile statistics on bilateral trade in goods, carried out by INEGI and Statistics Canada was also reported during the meeting Mexico agrees with Canada on the importance of analyzing and working on bilateral trade discrepancies. It is necessary that both Statistics Institutions keep working to deliver useful information to identify potential business opportunities.

Proposed CMP Initiatives from Canada for 2020-2021

  1. Private Equity and Venture Capital
    1. To continue with the momentum created since 2018 and in support to the CVCA, efforts will be made to reach out to Mexican private capital interests to familiarize them to the Canadian private capital ecosystem and main actors. The primary objective is to link Canadian and Mexican venture capital funds and to develop mechanisms to support and finance start-ups and innovation projects from both countries with the objective of increasing and accelerating their expansion and reach in North America.
  2. Canada-Mexico Pension Funds Virtual Meeting
    1. To further develop the Canada-Mexico private capital network and extend to Pension Funds, this event would bring the major pension funds from both sides to discuss trends and opportunities in this market; and network. Objective is to promote capital investments on both sides.
  3. Women in Business Virtual Mission to Mexico
    1. Introduce women entrepreneurs to the Mexican supplier diversity ecosystem and corporate programs through presentations and personalized B2B meetings.
  4. Canada-Mexico Data Reconciliation Project
    1. To better understand with data, the Canada Mexico trading relationship and explore new and emerging opportunities between our countries.
  5. Canadian Technology Accelerator
    1. High touch services to 10 high potential Canadian SMEs in innovative sectors. Two cohorts per calendar year.
  6. Mexican Petroleum Congress
    1. Up to seven (7) Canadian companies will be recruited to participate in the Canadian delegation. Participation includes access to the Canadian Pavilion, virtual briefing session on the Mexican O&G market, virtual matchmaking program of meetings with potential local buyers, or partners.
  7. FAMEX 2021
    1. Virtual or in-person trade mission to showcase Canadian aerospace capabilities to local contacts; seize increasing market opportunities in the sector by participating in a Canadian pavilion; expand the network by engaging with key decision makers.
  8. Convención minera de Acapulco
    1. Support a delegation of Canadian mining suppliers to the Sonora Mining Conference and develop a complete program which would include B2B meetings with target contacts.
    2. Explore women in mining panel
  9. ANTAD 2021
    1. Canadian presence at Expo ANTAD-Alimentaria, Mexico's largest retail trade show.
  10. Virtual Agriculture Women Trade Business Mission
    1. Recruit 12 to 15 Canadian women-owned suppliers of agri-food products, focusing on: gourmet/specialty agri-food products; private label; health & wellness; food ingredients (including beans and pulses).
  11. Green Mining Trade Mission to Mexico
    1. The trade mission would take place virtually on the margins of the “Congreso Internacional Minero Acapulco 2021”. A program would be developed got Canadian Cleantech suppliers, including: a market briefing session; B2B meetings with Mexican and Canadian mining companies; the possibility for companies to pay for an exhibition space as part of the Canadian mining pavilion (should the situation allow).
  12. Global Petroleum Show
    1. Recruit a delegation of 3 to 5 Mexican delegates to participate in North America’s leading energy conference (held in Calgary). Target companies will include top O&G firms in Mexico.
  13. MIREC Trade Mission to Mexico
    1. MIREC is the most important renewable energy event in Mexico to date. Exhibitors in 2018 included more than 1,500 renewable energy experts providing the opportunity for Canadian companies to meet with large multinational companies with operations in Mexico as well as potential representatives and government officials.
    2. We will focus on participation of Canadian companies that can offer energy efficiency solutions to industrial clients, or for providing small-scale solutions to the private sector in terms of generation not connected onto the main grid given the current climate in the renewables sector in Mexico.

Proposed CMP Initiative from Mexico for 2020-2021

  1. CUSMA Promotion
    1. CUSMA Promotion in Canada (virtual meetings) through our consular network.
  2. Capacity-building Seminar for Women Entrepreneurs
    1. Seminar focused on how to take advantage of business opportunities in Canadian and Mexican markets.
  3. Business Roundtable for Women Exporters
    1. Follow up roundtable and capacity building session of Mujer ExportaMX for women, in order to expand export opportunities to Mexican own businesswomen with importers from Canada and the U.S., within the framework of CUSMA expand on export opportunities for Mexican-owned business.
  4. Cooperation towards a Common Platform of Economic Information, Integration and Visualizations
    1. The Global Economic Intelligence Unit is proposing to explore the possibility of creating a joint bilateral platform to compare trade and investment data and information, including geographical profiles (cities, provinces, states), economic sectors and other economic indicators of interest for decision makers and companies.
    2. Mexico also proposes to develop economic intelligence cooperation projects, that could include information, knowledge and experiences exchange, as well as technical cooperation. Data Mexico platform is suggested to be the starting point for above proposals.
  5. Meeting between Mexican and Canadian PE and VC Funds during the AMEXCAP Summit
    1. Organize a meeting between Mexican PE and VC funds and Canadian LPs and investors in the framework of 2021 AMEXCAP Summit.
  6. Mission of Mexican General Partners to CVCA Event
    1. A group of Mexican General Partners members of AMEXCAP will integrate a mission to attend the CVCA event and gather with Canadian investors and other GPS.
  7. Virtual Meetings with Canadian Provinces interested in Doing Business in Mexico
    1. Identify Canadian provinces interests with specific Mexican States/sectors in order to develop a workplan for 2021- Asociación Mexicana de Secretarios de Desarrollo Económico (AMSDE)
  8. Webinar Series to Promote Opportunities in Canada for Mexican Exporters
    1. Organize a webinar series to explore business & investment opportunities with COMCE members.
  9. Videoconference on How to Promote Trade and Investment with Canada
    1. Organize a videoconference with the NEA (Negocios Entre Amigos) association on how to do business in Canada.
  10. Videoconference on How to Promote Trade and Investment with Canada
    1. Organize a videoconference with the Mexican Comisión de Asuntos Internacionales, Instituto Mexicano de Contadores Públicos on how to do business in Canada.
  11. Exchange 2021 Activities of Federal and Provincial Governments with the Canadian Embassy in Mexico
    1. This will allow COMCE to participate/cooperate with Canadian authorities in Mexico during the execution of such activities (particularly trade missions, videoconferences, etc.).
  12. Sharing of Best Practices on Innovation and Services between Canada and SE (DG for Innovation)
    1. Proposals will be submitted to the Canadian counterparts in the near future

Note: All projects include a cross-cutting pillar for the inclusion of women, youth, indigenous people, and entrepreneurs.

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