Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary – 2018 Highlights

January 02, 2019 8:00 AM | Anonymous

Dear Members and Friends,

2018 marks eight (8) years since the Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary was founded.  It has been an exciting time to be a part of this organization and the community.  We have seen many changes in the Irish and Canadian economies since that time, however, the ties between Ireland and Canada continue to strengthen.

Canada is Ireland’s seventh largest trading partner outside the EU. The ICBA reports that there are now over 70 Canadian companies in Ireland employing over 13,000 people – an increase of over 40% since 2014. The IDA has estimated Canadian Direct Investment in Ireland at €12 billion, ranking Ireland as the tenth largest destination for Canadian investment.

The ICCC in Calgary has had a busy year.  In addition to beginning to redevelop the website, we are also implementing membership management software to improve efficiencies, communications and automation.  Throughout the year we hosted a number of events for information and networking, including an evening networking event and some great speakers.  Here are a couple of highlights:

Blockchain Technology – Luncheon Event

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies are important elements in the changing global landscape and our event featuring both Michael Brown, Director of Innovation ATB, and Todd Hirsch, Vice President and Chief Economist from ATB, and ICCC Members and guests were able to access leading information on this sector.

Blockchain technology is relevant to the Alberta economy and our need to focus on diversification of our economy.  This technology and various applications are being developed by ATB as an emerging solution for global trade in the energy sector.  Our speakers broke down the elements of blockchain, how it applies to global opportunities and, that to build and implement a minimum viable ecosystem (MVE) in a blockchain solution, an engaged ecosystem of participants is required – one that includes suppliers, partners, customers, regulators and competitors.

His Excellency Kevin Vickers – Ambassador of Canada to Ireland – Breakfast Event

In May, Ambassador Kevin Vickers, Ambassador of Canada to Ireland, spoke to our Members and guests on the strong ties and history between Ireland and Canada.   This insightful breakfast presentation was sponsored by our long-term supporter – Vermilion Energy.  On July 12, 2017, Vermilion and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board announced a strategic partnership, that came into realization on November 30th, 2018 whereby Vermilion assumed operatorship of the Corrib natural gas project and increased its ownership interest to 20%.

During the presentation, Ambassador Vickers highlighted that Ireland has built a strong system for innovation commercialization which Canadian business could explore for trade and export opportunities.

Large growth areas in the Irish market include data centres, the Internet of Things, eHealth and cyber security, to name a few.   In addition, a strong area for opportunities for Canadian firms are in the infrastructure sector –  from energy efficiency technology, to design and management of building systems and sustainable products in both the residential and non-residential construction market.

The insightful presentation highlighted many areas of opportunity where businesses in Canada already have the expertise and are seeking market expansion.

And finally, every event, all communications, membership and financial management, inquiries, speaker requests and more are made possible by the work of a team of dedicated and hard-working volunteers.  Without them, we would not be able to succeed.  My sincere thanks go to Gavin Kavanagh, Maggie McGee and Adrian Nagle!

We have a busy year coming up in 2019.  Please read on for more information on upcoming events and messaging from Ambassador Kelly and Enterprise Ireland.

We are looking forward to welcoming you at various events throughout 2019.  Wishing you and yours all the best of the special time of year and a prosperous 2019!

Laureen Regan




Direct flights between Dublin and Calgary Announced!

Market access is always a key driver in market expansion and bi lateral trade – there is a lot of excitement around WestJet’s very timely announcement this Fall of direct flights between Calgary and Dublin beginning in June 2019. This announcement has many businesses exploring how they can now more easily look to grow and diversify their markets in either Ireland, Canada and/or the EU. The ICCC is looking forward to working with WestJet to build awareness of the new route. Many Members and stakeholders have expressed that they are excited to be able to fly directly between Calgary and Dublin.



Ireland Increases Presence in Canada

We heard of two significant and exciting announcements this year which indicate a strong interest in increased trade focus and support of Irish diaspora on the Canadian market:

  1. We were delighted to welcome Consul General Frank Flood to Canada in September this year and the official opening of the Diplomatic Consulate in Vancouver.
  2. IDA – the inward development agency for Ireland is opening a Canadian office. Located in Toronto, we are looking forward to welcoming the head of IDA in Canada, Deirdre Moran, early in 2019.



In November, ICCC Members and Guests were asked for their input to help guide and build on the success of the Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce. The Board hosted a small dinner and spent the evening engaging with long time members and guests to learn more about their ideas and suggestions.

In addition, an online survey was distributed. Respondents answered questions on topics/sectors of interest, purpose of the ICCC, what the ICCC is doing well, and where we need to improve. Here are highlights of some of the responses:

• Sectors/topics of interest for events include: Finance, IT, Energy, Export/Trade, CETA, Agriculture and business-related topics.

• Primary functions of the ICCC:

  • Connect Irish/Canadian businesses
  • Promote Ireland/Canada trade
  • Create and strengthen business relationships/trade between Ireland and Canada
  • Networking events and access to information

• Top challenges facing businesses: Economy, Political Climate, Diversifying into New Markets, Increasing Costs to do Business, Access to Capital

• Areas for improvement: More consistent communications and more events and opportunities to network

The Board will be reviewing the survey results more fully and laying out a plan to address the requests and suggestions throughout 2019.



The Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary, would like to sincerely thank key sponsorship partners this year:

Vermilion Energy
Ambient Media Inc.


We thank them for their support!



Save the Dates:

1. January 24, 2019 Breakfast Presentation, Mark Porter, EVP of People for WestJet. Watch for event information coming shortly.
2. February 2019 – Ambassador Jim Kelly
3. March 2019 – St. Patrick’s Day event



Message from His Excellency Jim Kelly, Ambassador of Ireland to Canada

It is my pleasure to send Christmas greetings to members of the Ireland-Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary.

As 2018 comes to a close, we look back on an exceptionally busy and productive year in which we have welcomed visits by eight members of the Government of Ireland to Canada. The unprecedented political and diplomatic activity over the past two years reflects the importance which the Irish Government attaches to our contemporary relationship with Canada – more Irish Ministers have visited Canada in the last 18 months than in the previous seven years combined!

This increase in engagement has been driven by opportunities and challenges. These include the new trade and investment opportunities arising from the EU-Canada CETA Trade Agreement, as well as the disruption caused by Brexit and the NAFTA renegotiations which has conversely served to draw Ireland and Canada closer together in an uncertain world. As a result, we have seen a continued growth surge in trade, investment and tourism between our two countries.

2018 also marks a new departure with the opening of a diplomatic Consulate General in Vancouver. This marks the first expansion of Ireland’s permanent diplomatic presence in Canada since 1939 and will enhance our capacity to serve the growing community in Western Canada. It will also provide a base for increased political, diplomatic and trade engagement with the west, including more Ministerial visits to the region. The IDA – Ireland’s investment promotion agency – will also be opening an office in Toronto early next year, joining Enterprise Ireland and Tourism Ireland in supporting the continued growth of the Ireland-Canada trading relationship.

I want to congratulate Laureen Regan and the members of ICCCAL on another successful and active year of strengthening relationships between Canadian and Irish businesses. 2018 is closing on a positive and exciting note with WestJet’s announcement of its inaugural Dreamliner 787 service from Calgary to Dublin, commencing in June 2019. This new direct connection will boost tourism and greatly enhance the potential for closer business links between us. As Ambassador, I look forward to my next visit to Calgary in February 2019 and to working with all of you to further strengthen those important ties.

Happy Christmas and best wishes to all of you for 2019.

Nollaig Shona agus Ath-bhliain faoi Mhaise Daoibh go leir!

Jim Kelly
Ambassador of Ireland



Message from Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland client companies posted record growth to the Canadian market in 2017, in excess of 19%. This growth reflects the deepening trade relationship between Ireland and Canada, which has since September 2017, been supported by the implementation of CETA, the EU Canada trade deal.

Enterprise Ireland client success stories:

  • Enterprise Ireland client company CX Index has recently secured a deal with ATB Financial in Alberta. CX index produces a customer experience technology that develops solutions that enable businesses to get the most from customer feedback.
  • D4HTechnologies has been working with response teams in the oilsands in Alberta in providing comprehensive management of personnel, equipment and emergency incidents through its cloud- based platform.
  • In November 2018, Enterprise Ireland client company, Irish Fairy Doors, an Irish toy-maker, announced a major partnership with Canadian media distributor DHX Media, to develop strategies to grow the toy brand globally, including a potential long-form content project.
  • Showcase, hosted in Dublin in January 2019, is Ireland’s biggest annual creative exhibition. With over 450 of Ireland’s leading design and craft companies exhibiting at the show and hundreds of international buyers in attendance, it is set to be an exciting event. Many Canadian retail buyers, distributors and manufacturers will visit the Show this January and we are excited to host representatives from Alberta in 2019.
  • In September 2018, Enterprise Ireland was also delighted to host Mr. Andy Chuck of Alberta Health Services at the inaugural North American Healthcare Forum, in the Aviva Stadium Dublin. Andy was among 35 senior leaders contributing their perspectives on the future of Healthcare in Canada and the USA.
  • Education in Ireland: The University of Calgary (U of C) has a student exchange agreement with the University of Limerick and the Quinn School of Business at University College Dublin. SAIT Polytechnic and MacEwan University maintain degree completion agreements with Irish institutes of technology.

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