Dearest members of the BCBC,

With 2019 coming to an end, I would like to take this as an opportunity to reflect on this year’s highlights.

The BCBC organized multiple networking events and presentations related to business involving Belgian-Canadian relations. First, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Canada and the Delegation of the European Union to Canada celebrated CETA’s second year since its provisional implementation in an event which featured keynote speeches by Peteris Ustubs, Ambassador of the European Union to Canada, Michael Thompson, Deputy Mayor of City of Toronto and Head of Economic Committee and Stephen W. Green, Labour Mobility Expert and Senior Partner at Green and Spiegel.

The BCBC also organized a presentation on the subject of economic challenges facing the new federal government with Craig Alexander, Partner & Chief Economist at Deloitte Canada as keynote speaker. The talk was followed by a Belgian beer tasting with internationally-renowned beer expert Stephen Beaumont.

As CETA gives Belgium companies virtually tariff-free access to a Canadian market of 37 million people, the BCBC put together a webminar on how to grow a food-related business in Canada, and beyond, featuring Jo-Ann McArthur, President of Nourish Food Marketing, who gave an overview of opportunities and pointed out the potential pitfalls.

Business with Belgium Seminar “Invest in Europe!” also took place this year, featuring speakers Alexandre Braconnier, from Degroof Petercam, Gilles Brédas, Economic and Commercial Counsellor at the Consulate General of Belgium (Montreal) and Hedy Afsharian, Director Business Banking at the CIBC. The speakers gave practical advice on the growing opportunities in Belgium.

The BCBC also organized multiple social events, such as the Garden Party, the Belgian National Day celebration, the Festival de Musique, the Belgian film at EUFF Toronto and, most recently, the Saint Nicolas Fund Raising. All year long, the BCBC held its recurring events, Frites Night and the Wine Tasting.

All of those events in 2019 have allowed the BCBC to be at the forefront of the growing relationship between Belgium and Canada.

2020 is shaping up to be a very busy year as well as the BCBC has started planning for remarkable events, among which the long-awaited 2020 Gala. Our only wish for Santa is that the BCBC’s achievements in 2020 surpass those of 2019.

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my warmest wishes for the holidays. See you next year!

Xavier Van Overmeire

President – Belgian-Canadian Business Chamber

and The BCBC Board of Directors

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