Finland is an EU country known for its high level and alternative methods of education as well as for being one of the world leaders in the production of cell phones. The country is situated in the far northeast of the European continent, bordering Schengen Norway to the north and separated from Sweden and Estonia (also Schengen Countries) by the Gulf of Bothnia and the Baltic Sea, respectively.
The north of its territory covers part of Lapland, mountainous and semi-desert region inhabited by Lapps, traditional reindeer herders. Located beyond the Arctic Circle, this region is also famous for the aurora borealis. Conifer forests cover two-thirds of Finland’s surface, providing one of the most developed wood and paper industries in the world.
This Scandinavian nation also shares an extensive border and centuries of common history with Russia. After a hit by the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, the country recovered economically after joining the European Economic Community, now the European Union (EU), in 1995.
Since the transport network in Finland is excellent, it is easy to travel to visit cities like Turku, Tampere, Savonlinna, and Kupio. However, no trip to Finland is complete until watching an ice hockey match, tasting a smoked salmon sandwich, or getting beaten by birch twigs in an 80 ° C sauna before plunging into a freezing pool.
Finland is becoming a popular destination among Canadian travellers who choose to explore Scandinavia. Moreover, because it is part of the Schengen Area, Canadians travelling from one of Finland’s Schengen neighbours – such as Sweden, Norway, or Estonia – don’t need to apply for a visa.
Finland has been a part of the European Union since 1995 and together with its Scandinavian neighbours (Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, and Norway), the country signed the Schengen Agreement in 1996. However, it only became an official part of the Schengen Territory in 2001, when border-control systems with other the Member States were abolished.
Finland has been involved in all political discussions taken by the European Commission, and after the outburst of terrorist attacks in across the Schengen Area in 2015, the Finnish government has supported the creation of new immigration policies. Hence, when the ETIAS was suggested as a way to control illegal immigration and improve internal security, Finland stood by it.
Canada and Finland are modern, developed northern nations that share similar features on climate, geography, and even natural resources. In addition, the fact both countries are parliamentary democracies strengthens the already long tradition of bilateral relations. In 2011, the government of Finland published an action plan entitled “Finland and Canada – Northern Partners,” officializing a series of objectives in the partnership.
Due to their geographical location, Finland-Canada regional cooperation is strong and of the essence. The two nations collaborate in Arctic-related issues – both privately and through the Arctic Council – where officials discuss topics such as ice-breaking and winter navigation. Meanwhile, Canadian mining companies are widely present in the region of Lapland, being the largest employer in northern Finland.
Besides regional partnerships, Finland and Canada also work together to promote environmental protection, democratic development and humanitarian assistance on an international scale. The two countries hold strong bilateral trade relations, with stocks of direct investment growing since 2016. Considering Finland’s high standard of education, many student mobility programs have been developed since 2013.
Finland is a part of both the EU and the Schengen Area, which means that Canadian tourists are free to visit the country for up to 3 months in every 6-month period. Since 2016, Finnish citizens visiting Canada need to apply for an eTA when travelling for tourism purposes. Beginning in 2021, Canadian passport holders will have to apply for a similar authorization to visit the Schengen Area (including Finland). This new policy, called ETIAS, is a way to screen visitors coming from Canada or other visa-exempt countries before they arrive in Europe. Travellers are advised to apply at least 72 prior to departure.