Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today that Canada and Ukraine have signed a new agreement that will give young people more opportunity to travel and work in each other’s countries.
The announcement was made following a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Harper and Victor Yanukovych, President of Ukraine.
“Our two countries have strong ties underpinned by the more than 1.2 million Ukrainian descendants living in Canada today,” said Prime Minister Harper. “Today’s agreement will create exciting work and travel opportunities for our youth, forging new bonds between our countries for generations to come.”
The Memorandum of Understanding, which is expected to come into effect next year, will simplify and facilitate the process for qualified Canadian and Ukrainian citizens, aged 18 to 35, to travel and work in the other country for up to one year. Participants will gain a better understanding of the other country’s languages, culture and society and benefit from professional and personal development.
To date, Canada has entered into 30 other bilateral arrangements on youth mobility through the International Experience Canada initiative.
The Prime Minister also used the opportunity to announce that the next phase of negotiations towards a Free Trade Agreement with Ukraine will begin December 13. The first phase of negotiations between Canada and Ukraine on this agreement began in May 2010.
This year marks the 119th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Canada. Canada was the first Western country to recognize Ukraine’s independence, which attests to the close ties the two countries enjoy today.