As we head into what we hope will soon be the end of winter, a favorite holiday is once again here to lift our spirits, whatever the weather: St. Patrick’s Day. It’s the time of year when drinking black beer in the middle of the day and walking in the middle of Sainte-Catherine Street are not only allowed, but actively encouraged. Many burning issues may divide us, but at least we can agree on one thing: on March 17, everyone in Quebec is Irish.

In fact, many of us are also Irish the rest of the year. In the 2016 census, 446,215 people in this province identified as Irish and, by some estimates, 40% of Quebecers can boast of having an Irish grandparent or great-grandparent. In fact, even if the link with France is of course very strong, one could say that we are almost as Gaelic as Gallic.

Throughout the year, groups are dedicated to strengthening this link between Ireland and Quebec, the benefits of which are felt on both sides of the Atlantic.

Founded in 1991, the Ireland-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) of Montreal has a mission to foster close business relations between this city and the island of Ireland by providing Irish businesses with support and networking opportunities through through seminars, business lunches, social events and expert conferences. We work with groups such as Enterprise Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland to make the most of existing business opportunities.

In fact, there has never been a better time for Irish and Quebec businesses to work together.

This includes Northern Ireland, as the newly proposed ‘Windsor Framework’ means that, despite Brexit, Northern Ireland will continue to benefit from the European Union’s single market while remaining inside the UK. United. Even British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak admitted this, saying: “Northern Ireland is in an incredibly special position, the unique position worldwide of having privileged access not only to the UK’s internal market United… but also to the single market of the European Union. Nobody else has that… And that’s the price. »

For Quebecers and the Irish, the advantages of business collaboration are obvious. The two nations have many similarities. They are both known for their warm welcome and strong entrepreneurial spirit. Quebec’s wealthy, technologically advanced industrial society has an attitude very similar to that of Ireland. We are also both strong in a number of key industries, including digital technologies, financial services and fintech, aviation, construction and engineering, education, life sciences and healthcare. digital – the list goes on.

Canadian leaders worked hard to make the country an enabling environment, which resulted in the development of the Canada-Europe Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. This is one of the most comprehensive sets of tariff reductions ever achieved under a European Union free trade agreement; Since its provisional application in 2017, Irish companies working with the Canadian market have benefited from the elimination of 98.6% of all Canadian tariff barriers, as well as the opening of the Canadian market for services to Irish companies.

Everybody wins.

In recent years, dozens of Irish companies have successfully established themselves in the Quebec market, creating many jobs. Irish companies doing business successfully in the Quebec market include Multihog (multipurpose snow removal and street sweeping), SportLoMo (sports technology solutions), Keenan, Samco

Similarly, Quebec companies have found Ireland a natural haven. All Canadian businesses benefit from a range of free supports and services to help them establish offices in Ireland, both north and south. CGI, the Montreal information technology giant, recently announced the establishment of a base in Belfast, with the creation of 50 jobs.

Groups such as the Ireland-Canada Chamber of Commerce recognize the significant opportunities in Montreal for Irish businesses and are committed to helping them thrive – strengthening the ties between our countries. Working together, we look forward to continuing to strengthen the commercial partnerships between Ireland and Canada in the future, on March 17 and all other days of the year.