The Philip Lee Canada Desk specialises in business relationships with clients from Canada.
As leader of our Canada Desk and Chairperson of the Ireland Canada Business Association (ICBA), Chris Collenette supports the growing economic relationship between Canada and Ireland, encourages foreign direct investment in Ireland, and outward investment to Canada.
We provide a range of services and advice to Canadian clients looking to establish operations in Ireland, including incorporation and company secretarial services, corporate law advice, M&A, employment contracts, tax advice, trademark advice, SLA/licences, and data protection advice.
Ireland and Canada have strong social ties dating back to the time of the famine. The Irish have been recognised as one of Canada’s founding peoples. 14% of the population claim some Irish ancestry, making the Irish the fourth-largest ethnic group in Canada.
These social ties have led to a long history of trade – Canada-Ireland merchandise trade now averages $3.6 billion annually since the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) came into effect. Bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Ireland totalled $3.9 billion in 2020 with Canadian exports of $672.3 million and imports of $3.2 billion.
There are several Canadian or Canadian-owned firms established here, including Great-West Life, Royal Bank of Canada, TD Bank, Scotia Bank, Bank of Montreal, Brookfield Asset Management, Fairfax Financial, Air Canada, Spotify, Open Text, Celestica, Couch-Tard, Irving Oil, Greenfield Global, and many more.
Co-operative and bilateral agreements
The Working Holiday Program (WHP) agreement, signed by both governments in 2003, has proved to be an effective vehicle for strengthening ties between Canadian and Irish youth.
Canada and Ireland are party to a Double Taxation Treaty (2005) and a signed update in 2016 to the 1989 Audiovisual Coproduction Treaty under which over 30 feature films and television dramas have been coproduced over the past decade, including Academy Award nominees ‘Room’ and ‘Brooklyn.’
In addition, a ‘Blue Skies’ air agreement was signed between Ireland and Canada in April 2007, which allows Canadian and Irish air-carriers to provide services between cities in Canada and Ireland.
Comprehensive Economic Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union
The long-awaited Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union was expected officially signed by Prime Minister Trudeau and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on 30 October 2016 and was passed by the EU Parliament on 15 February 2017.
Key features of CETA include removing 98% of customer duties, ending restrictions on open access to public procurement contracts, opening up the services market, offering predictable conditions for investors and helping prevent illegal copying of EU innovations and traditional product. Certain requirements for visiting visas have been removed.
As a result of CETA, Canada is one of the only developed countries in the world with guaranteed preferential access to the marketplace of almost one billion consumers in NAFTA and the EU. This represents over half the world’s output of goods and services.
Ireland, with our common law system, business friendly government, highly educated workforce, competitive 12.5% corporate tax and the OECD-approved 6.25% Knowledge Box tax for IP profits, is an ideal location for Canadian firms looking to establish operations in Europe to take advantage of the benefits of CETA.
A promising future
Over the past two years, there has been an influx of activity between Canada and Ireland, across many industry sectors:
- The Winnipeg, Manitoba-based NFI Group was awarded a contract to provide 45 electric buses to Ireland’s National Transport Authority in 2022, with the provision to provide an additional 155 electric buses to Ireland over the next five years.
- Emerald Airlines announced it would lease six turboprop aircraft destined for its Aer Lingus Regional services from Canada’s Chorus Aviation Capital.
- Canadian drone firm ZenaTech announced it would create 30 jobs in Ireland as part of its move into the Agritech sector.
- Think Research, a leading Canadian healthtech company, announced the acquisition of Pharmapod, a leading Irish healthtech firm.
- N’ware, a business applications software company from Quebec, announced that it is locating its European Headquarters in Laois, creating 25 new roles.
- Blacksquare, a global experience company headquartered in Calgary serving the drinks industry, has chosen Dublin for its EMEA headquarters.
- Bath Fitter, Canada’s leading bathroom refurbishment company has announced the establishment of its European Business Development Centre in Limerick. This facility is Bath Fitter’s first to be located outside of North America and will lead to 42 jobs.
- Greenfield Global, Canada’s largest producer of alcohol and fuel ethanol invested €30 million in its 40,900 sq. ft facility in Portlaoise.
- Canadian betting company The Stars group merged with owner of Paddy Power – Flutter Entertainment to create an Irish headquartered company with annual turnover of €5 billion.
- Brookfield invested in Imagine Communications at an estimated €100million.
- RX Source, a Canadian pharmaceutical distribution company located its European headquarters in Dublin.
- TELUS International acquired technology BPO Voxpro for an estimated €150 million.
- Press Reader opened its international headquarters in Dublin.
- Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) purchased Shell’s 45% stake in Corrib Natural Gas Field at a value of €830 million.
News and insights
Strike out for want of prosecution and the balance of justice
Key Contact: Clare Cashin - Partner | Michael Cahill - Senior Associate In the case of Barrett v Traymount Construction Ltd & Others  IEHC 502, the High Court had to consider an application by the first defendant (Traymount Construction Limited – the...
M&A Insights 2022 in review – A cross-border deal insight guide
Key Contact: Eoghan Doyle - Partner | Andrew Tzialli - Partner We are delighted to introduce the fourth edition of the Philip Lee M&A Insights guide. In this edition, we review deal activity across 2022, and consider the outlook for the year ahead. This guide...
Philip Lee appoints Eimear Collins as new dispute resolution and litigation partner
Pictured above: Eimear Collins with head of dispute resolution and litigation, Damien Young. Key Contact: Eimear Collins - Partner Philip Lee is very pleased to announce the appointment of Eimear Collins as a partner in its dispute resolution and litigation group....