Job Opportunity in Ottawa

The Embassy of Belgium in Ottawa is recruiting
a Trilingual Executive Assistant to the Ambassador

The offer:

  • A varied job with responsibility and visibility in a pleasant international environment;
  • Contract of indefinite duration, starting on April 15th 2019;
  • Competitive and secure salary and working conditions.

Main tasks:

  • First point of contact for persons wishing to be in contact with the Ambassador;
  • Management, coordination and co-organization of the Ambassador’s agenda (meetings, correspondence, travels, visits, etc.);
  • Administration relating to the Ambassador’s professional expenses;
  • Correspondence and contact with amongst others the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairsand Canadian government officials;
  • Maintenance of a data base relating to the Ambassador’s professional contacts;
  • Support with the organization of events and public diplomacy initiatives of the Embassy.

Main skills and competences:

  • Fluent in French, English and Dutch (written and oral);
  • Proficient with computer programs such as Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint;
  • Have an affinity and fondness for Belgium, its culture, food and humor;
  • Good communicator and pleasant colleague within a small team;
  • Ability to respect deadlines and to work autonomously and accurately;
  • Tactfulness and confidentiality

Others:

A prior similar work experience and knowledge of Canadian and Belgian institutions are an asset. Enthusiasm, flexibility and eagerness to learn quickly are assets too.

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Applications or questions relating to the job description should be sent to the attention of Mr. Patrick Deboeck, head of administration, at Patrick Deboeck@diplobel.fed.be

Deadline for applications: February 10th, 2019

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Understanding European Privacy Laws: Impacts on Canadian Business

By Ken Mark, Freelance writer.

On November 16 at the KPMG offices at 333 Bay Street the Belgian Canadian Business Chamber hosted  seminar on the recently announced European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In his opening remarks, Christian Frayssignes, vice-president of the Canadian Belgian Canadian Business Chamber (CBBC)  reported that in the first year of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the 28-member European Union,  Canadian exports increased 3.3 -per cent imports rose 12.5 per cent.

André van der Heyden, CBBC vice-president and COO also reminded  the audience that Brussels is the de facto capital of Europe being the home for several major European Union governing bodies as well as the ideal entry point for goods to reach more than half of the EU’s 510 million consumers

Cristina Onosé, Director Canadian Marketing Association,  explains  that under General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Canadian firms must strengthen their IT data security practices and procedures to comply with of the EU’s requirement. As of November 1, 2018, its mandatory data breach notification will  be coming into force in Canada.  

GDPR  requires Canadian firms doing business with the EU to notify the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and all affected individuals if they suffer any type of loss of personal information that causes a real risk of major  harm. If Canadian companies offering goods or services to European Union (EU) residents or monitor the behavior of EU residents within the EU, they will now need to comply with strict new rules around how they collect, handle and secure information.

Says Derek Lackey, Toronto-based Managing Director of Newport Thomson, a data & privacy compliance consulting firm, “ concludes that Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which sets out the privacy obligations that firms must adhere to when they handling  personal information obtained in commercial is no longer adequate. 

He supports GDPR proposed  rules requiring firms to protect the personal and other data of their consumers and clients and formally requesting permission to share the personal data which they have collected. As well, he supports imposing penalties for non-compliance which do not exist under PIPEDA. “Enforcement is the key to protecting Canadians’ personal electronically collected data,“ he says.

Lackey also notes that the so-called FANG group of high-tech titans Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google may soon face huge fines from European and other regulators for their casual approach to sharing and selling their consumer data without informed consent.

In his comments, Donald Johnson, a partner with the law firm Air& Berlis and Honorary Consul General of Belgium in Toronto explained that existing data protection rules are inadequate in the today’s IT world based on involving external cloud computing solutions. He also notes that since 2012, the European Union has moved forward to become the world  leader in consumer data protection laws. He says, “Originally, personal data protection laws were based on principles, not rules.” 

He also mentions that many Canadian firms believe that they do not need to meet the new GDPR rules.  But if they have any business links with European firms, they should check if they need to comply. In fact, at the end of 2017, almost 40 per cent of EU companies were not ready for the new legislation.

In her comments, Sharon Bauer, a partner with the consulting firm KPMG outlined that GDPR requires that forms must inform regulators that their data system has been breached and if there is severe damage to  customer data  its cause and how it was repaired. Failure to  comply may lead to severe fines.

However, Bauer concludes that a positive certificate of assessment becomes  a seal of approval for the firm that increases the comfort level of its customers buying their products or services.

“It assures them ‘You can do business securely with us’.” 

CETA – Canada’s trade with Europe one year later, by Christian Siviere

CETA – Canada’s trade with Europe one year later

It’s a great tool for Canadian businesses to expand their export markets as well as their supplier base

Signed in October 2016, CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union has now been in effect a year, as it was provisionally implemented on September 21st, 2017.

Most of its provisions are in effect since that date, particularly the reduction of tariffs or Customs duties, the opening of government procurement, the mutual recognition of standards and the facilitation of the movement of professionals. It’s a great tool for Canadian businesses to expand their export markets as well as their supplier base, thereby lessening our dependence on the United States.

While its overall impact, particularly on services and investment is hard to measure at this relatively early stage, looking at our statistics on the trade of goods with the EU should tell us how popular CETA is with Canadian exporters. There are different ways to calculate exports but the figures commonly quoted by Global Affairs Canada indicate European exporters have been faster than us, as up to July 2018, Canadian exports to the EU have grown by a mere one per cent while our imports from the EU have increased by a whopping 12 per cent.

Of course, Canadian businesses have their eyes riveted on what’s happening with NAFTA, since so much of our trade is with the U.S. and this explains why they have not yet rushed to the conquest of the European market. Ironically, for European businesses, the Canadian market is small but still has good potential, as we are so close to the huge U.S. market.

Whatever the reason for the current imbalance, it is interesting to look at what’s happening at the individual country level. Canadian exports to the UK, by far our first European market, were down three per cent, as we exported $15.240 billion worth of goods there from September 2017 to July 2018, compared to $15.789 the year before. Exports to our third European market, France, were down eight per cent from $3.085 billion to $2.827 billion and to Belgium down five per cent from $2.674 billion to $2.537 billion.

On the plus side of the ledger, exports to our second European market, Germany, were up six per cent, from $3.358 billion to $3.556 billion. Exports to the Netherlands were up 23 per cent from $2.420 billion to $2.965 billion, and those to Italy climbed by 19 per cent from $2.120 billion to $2.536 billion.

Canadian exports with notable growth included aluminum, automobile parts, chemicals, cranberries, and maple syrup. Most of these products are exported by ocean and the Port of Montréal, Canada’s gateway to Europe, reported a four per cent growth in its European container traffic from January to August 2018 versus the same period in 2017.

As to CETA’s final implementation, twelve European countries out of 28 have ratified it, the latest one being Austria in June 2018. The process continues, albeit slowly. Its only provisions that are pending final ratification of all EU member parliaments concern investor-state dispute settlement and portfolio investment.

Meantime, trade remains wide open under CETA’s provisional implementation and our exporters should bring Europe closer to the top of their agenda.

Belgian passport – Belgisch paspoort – Passeport belge / Toronto – 07+08/11/2018

BELANGRIJK –  IMPORTANT

Do you need a new passport in the coming months and do you wish to have your biometric data taken in during a visit from the Flying Kit in Toronto on 7 and 8 November 2018? This link will explain you how to proceed.

Hebt u in de volgende maanden een nieuw paspoort nodig en wenst u uw biometrische gegevens te laten opnemen tijdens het bezoek van de Flying Kit  in Toronto op 7 en 8 november 2018? U vindt de procedure in deze link.

Vous avez besoin d’un nouveau passeport dans les mois à venir ? Il vous est possible de faire enregistrer vos données biométriques lors de la visite du « flying kit » à Toronto les 7 et 8 novembre 2018? Toutes les informations sont disponibles dans ce lien.

Annual General Meeting 2015

The purpose of this Annual General Meeting is to elect the new Board of Directors. Candidates for the Board may be viewed here.

Date: June 9, 2015, 6:00-9:00 pm
Location: Aird & Berlis LLP Brookfield Place, 181 Bay Street, Suite 1800, Toronto ON, M5J 2T9

Anyone interested in presenting themselves as a candidate for election to the Board of Directors must send notification to idalia@belgiumconnect.com no later than May 31, 2015.

Additional documents for the AGM:
BCBC AGM 2014 – Minutes
BCBA By-Laws 1997

Buy tickets here: (tickets include wine & appetizers) AGM 2015 :

Canada’s international trade, with focus on Belgium: the February 2015 statistics

Statistics Canada’s latest data shows that Canadian exports to Belgium, which amounted to $198 million in December and went down to $163 million in January, were down again to $96 million in February. Canadian imports from Belgium on the other hand, which came to $114 million in December and were down slightly in January to $110  million, went back up to $133 million in February. So as we can see from these figures, our bilateral trade fluctuates and it will be interesting to see how it will evolve in the coming months.

Overall, Canada’s imports declined 0.7% in February while exports were up 0.4%, compared to January, reducing the Canadian merchandise trade deficit with the world from $1.5 billion in January to $984 million in February. Continue reading

Hope for Hearts Gala

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Over and above the work and time they put into their roles at SickKids, Dr. Luc Mertens (originally from Belgium, and a member of the BCBC) and Dr. Barbara Cifra have volunteered to take on a new challenge – hosting a fundraiser in support of the Echocardiography Lab at SickKids. Promising to be an unforgettable experience, Hope for Hearts Gala will include a delicious dinner, abundant silent and live auctions, as well as great performances and special guests.

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Angel Investing in Canada

On March 4, the consulates of the three Bs – Belgium, Britain and Bulgaria invited Gerard Buckley to talk about accessing angel investing in Canada. We’d like to thank Ken Mark (ken.mark@rogers.com), Freelance Writer, for the following report; and Luca Viorel – YourAdOnline our professional photography services.

Frank March 3

The basic definition of angel investing is using personal funds to purchase equity or debt in early- or growth-stage companies. It is the first infusion of professional money, i.e. post-“love” or family money in such enterprises.

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