Co-operation between the European Union and Canada in education and training started in 1990 and continues to provide opportunities for learners and to develop innovation in the sector.
The first formal EU-Canada Co-operation Agreement was concluded in November 1995 and renewed in December 2000 for an additional five years. It aimed primarily to promote understanding between the peoples of the European Union and Canada and to improve the quality of their human resource development.
The agreements led to funding for projects on international curriculum development and student exchange activities with jointly designed courses, including vocational education and training and language learning.
From 1995 to date, a total of 107 transatlantic consortia have been funded, involving 765 EU and Canadian higher education and training institutions. More than 5 600 students have participated in transatlantic exchanges.
In December 2006, the EU and Canada extended their agreement in the fields of higher education, training and youth for the eight-year period (2006-2013).
The EU-Canada programme is administered jointly by the European Commission (through the Executive Agency for Education Audiovisual and Culture) and Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC), together with the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
The 2006-2013 programme has funded 37 joint consortia projects involving 192 EU and Canadian higher education and training institutions are currently under way as part of the EU-Canada Transatlantic Exchange and Degree Partnership programme, and during the period more than 2 800 people will have had the opportunity to study, research and teach on the other side of the Atlantic.
These projects include a diverse range of academic disciplines, such as Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Sciences, Agriculture, Forestry, Health Science, Co-operative and Vocational Education, Multidisciplinary studies, etc. They involve the mobility of students, researchers and staff, including arrangements for credit recognition and transfer among participating institutions.
The EU has established an alumni association – OCEANS – to maintain links between former and future participants in the co-operation programme.
Calls for proposals were launched in 2007, 2008 2009 and 2010 but due to government-wide austerity measures, in 2011 Canada announced the cancellation of the annual calls in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
To enhance cooperation in higher education, a pilot Tuning study – similar to the Tuning Educational Structures in Europe, Latin America and the USA Projects – has been carried out by EU experts, supported by members of the Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE).
In addition, the European Commission and the Canadian government are engaged in a dialogue on youth policy issues.