Canada and Italy sign new youth mobility agreement

News release

New International Experience Canada Youth Mobility Agreement will improve labour market access for Canadian and Italian youth

December 11, 2020—Ottawa—The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, and His Excellency Luigi Di Maio, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Italian Republic, today signed a new bilateral youth mobility agreement between Canada and Italy.

This new agreement will improve labour market access for Canadian and Italian youth between 18 and 35 years old by allowing them to work and travel for 12 months; candidates can participate twice for a total of 24 months. Youth will also be able to gain professional work experience with the addition of 2 streams: International Co-op and Young Professionals. 

Canada and Italy are longstanding youth mobility partners, having first signed a youth mobility arrangement in 2006. The new agreement will be implemented following ratification in Canada and in Italy.

The International Experience Canada (IEC) Program facilitates the process for young people to gain valuable international work experience and travel abroad. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a number of temporary measures, including travel restrictions, this agreement with Italy will open up new opportunities for future work and travel once conditions permit. At this time, only youth with current and valid job offers can travel to Canada under the IEC Program.


“I’m very pleased that we were able to reach this agreement with Italy, which will provide both Canadian and Italian youth with even more opportunities to live, travel and work abroad once it is safe to do so. We live in an increasingly interconnected world where innovation often comes from those who have travelled widely, who have an appreciation for other cultures, and whose eyes have been opened to new ideas, insights and ways of doing things. This contributes to strengthening ties between Canada and Italy, and the diversity and economic strength of our 2 countries.”    

 – The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“This Agreement, aimed at strengthening the exchange of experience and knowledge between Italian and Canadian citizens and at creating new opportunities for vocational training responds to a deeply felt need by today’s youth. I am certain that it will help further strengthen the already excellent bilateral relations between Italy and Canada.” 
– His Excellency Luigi Di Maio, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Italian Republic

“Canada and Italy have long enjoyed deep cultural ties. The International Experience Canada Youth Mobility Agreement will allow the next generation of Canadians and Italians alike to gain a better understanding of our cultures, languages and history. This agreement symbolizes yet another linkage between our 2 countries.”

– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

  • There are more than 1.5 million Canadians of Italian descent, which is one of the largest Italian communities outside of Italy in the world.

  • Canada supports youth mobility through International Experience Canada (IEC), which manages reciprocal bilateral youth mobility arrangements. These arrangements allow Canadians to travel and work in partner countries and territories, and allow international youth to do the same in Canada. 

  • Canada has formal youth mobility arrangements with 36 countries and foreign territories.

  • More than 200,000 Canadians have participated in the IEC Program since 2008, and many have returned to Canada with life-changing experiences valuable to both their personal and professional lives. 

  • There are 3 categories of participation under the program:

    1. Working Holiday participants receive open work permits that allow them to work anywhere in the host country, to support their travels.
    2. International Co-op participants receive employer-specific work permits that allow students to gain targeted experience in their field of study.
    3. Young Professionals participants receive an employer-specific work permit to gain targeted, professional work experience that is within their field of study or career path.
  • Please note: Media may access photos from the signing ceremony at the following link:

Associated links


Follow IEC:

Alexander Cohen
Minister’s Office
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

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