Canada and Norway enjoy a longstanding partnership based on common history, and a mutual set of values and interests. The two countries collaborate in a number of different fields, including trade and industry, security and peacekeeping, the Arctic, and research and education.
One of the first links between Canada and Norway was established in Newfoundland some 1000 years ago, when the Vikings arrived and established the first known settlement in North America. They were later followed by fishermen, tradesmen and immigrants. Norwegian polar explorers set foot on Canadian soil from the final years of the nineteenth century, amongst them Otto Sverdrup, who mapped large tracts of the Arctic regions. Following World War 2, Canada and Norway entered into NATO, continuing the extensive cooperation that originated during the war. Collaboration at the United Nations and other international multilateral forums also characterize the Canadian-Norwegian relationship.
Canada and Norway share domestic similarities as relatively small populations spread over a vast country with abundance in natural resources, they are large producers and exporters of oil and gas, and important geo political actors in the Arctic. Both countries have a rich, but fragile northern environment, and consequently are committed to environmentally sustainable resource management.
Canada and Norway entered into NATO in 1949. As founding members of the organization Canada and Norway have a long history of collaboration on security issues and both countries are firmly committed to the alliance and strong trans-Atlantic relations. Today the two countries face a range of similar challenges, and recently Canada took part in the Norwegian – led military exercise Cold response in Northern Norway. Canada and Norway are also members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Canada and Norway enjoy close and harmonious trade relations. Both countries engage in substantial activity on global markets, and promote the ideals of a free and equitable world trade system, governed by a universal set of rules. These common values and interests are reflected in Canada and Norway’s fellow membership in multilateral organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
In 2009, Canada and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) entered into a free trade agreement. In addition to the free trade agreement, Canada and Norway also entered into a Bilateral Agricultural Agreement.
In 2013 Norwegian export to Canada measured NOK 8216 million, while Norwegian import from Canada measured NOK 11737 million. The common commercial interests mainly revolves around energy and natural resources. Both Canada and Norway are in addition important exporters of seafood, respectively ranking as the fourth and second largest worldwide.
In March 2014, Canada and Norway concluded an industrial security arrangement to support ongoing bilateral trade. The arrangement is meant to complement the existing trade mechanisms between the two countries.
Both Canada and Norway are Arctic costal states and thus prone to the major changes taking place in the region. Melting polar ice pose challenges such as increasing commercial activities, security and preparedness, as well as environmental concerns. To meet these challenges in a responsible matter, the two countries collaborate closely within the framework of the Arctic Council and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
In addition, Canada and Norway hold regularly bilateral Northern Dialogues to discuss Artic issues such as climate change and resource management. Both countries have nationals living in the Arctic region, and thus considers it important to promote sustainable development, economically and socially, for their inhabitants. Protection of the cultural heritage of the indigenous peoples in the region is considered as a priority. The Arctic is highlighted as a key strategic priority area in both Canadian and Norwegian foreign policy strategies.
Research and education
Norway and North America has a long tradition of scientific and technological cooperation, and both Canadian and Norwegian institution considers it important to maintain and strengthen this relationship. Canada’s priority research fields largely correspond with Norwegian interests, such as the development of the Arctic, aquaculture, energy and climate research.
In 2014, the Norwegian Embassy in Ottawa, the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, the Research Council of Norway, the University of Toronto and the National research Council Canada, collaborated to organize the Trans-Atlantic Science Week in Toronto. The conference promotes further cooperation amongst researchers, innovation and educational institutions, businesses and organizations in the US, Canada and Norway. The Arctic was the theme of 2014's Trans-Atlantic Science Week, emphasizing Canada and Norway’s shared interests and concerns in the region.