On July 11, 2023, the Belgian Canadian Business Chamber hosted its Annual General Meeting (AGM) followed by a Cocktail Reception and Honorary Distinction Presentation by Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to Canada, to Christian Frayssignes in Toronto, Canada.

Among the attendees were His Excellency Mr. Patrick Van Gheel, Honorary President of the Belgian Canadian Business Chamber, Maxime Ramon Counsellor at the Belgian Embassy, Frank Murari, Trade Commissioner for Wallonia Trade & Investment (AWEX), Yves Lapere with Flanders Investment & Trade and members and friends of the BCBC.

Xavier Van Overmeire, BCBC President, described where we are today and where we are going in 2023 and 2024: “The Chamber has changed its image over the last 5 years. The BCBC has become a chamber of commerce where the members & partners do business and share their experiences – where the members & partners (sometimes) sell their expertise – where the members & partners enlarge their business network.

Gregory Petit-Dufrenoy, BCBC Partnerships Director, informed the assembly that the number of BCBC partners has been growing steadily, from 17 in 2022 to 28 in the first half of 2023!

Our BCBC Partners are The Port of Montreal, Actito, Air Canada, ALFID, ArcoInfo, asUgo, CBTW, Degroof Petercam, Dentons LLP, Desjardins, Incosa Solutions, Investissement Québec International, John Cockerill, Landmark Cinemas, Mazars, McClelland Premium Imports, Manuchar Canada, Molson Coors Canada, Nourish Food Marketing, PolyBEER, Reynaers Aluminium, Schneider Electric, Puratos, Solvay, Theodorus, Tractebel Engie, Umicore and  WRLWND.

Anne Popoff, BCBC’s Director of Events, said that the Chamber hosted 12 events since the last AGM. From our traditional Frites Night, now converted into European Networking Meet Up Nights with 5 other European Chambers of Commerce, to Belgian Beer & Wine Tastings and VIP Business Luncheon in partnership with the Belgian Embassy, to culminate the year with the 2nd BCBC Business Excellence Awards Gala at the King Edward Hotel and the Belgian days.

The BCBC organized once again a campaign to raise funds for The SickKids Foundation, led by Dr. Matthias Dedobbeleer, BCBC Director. Maxime Ramon, Belgian Embassy representative concluded by presenting a renewed and expanded BCBC Board of Directors. Representatives from Puratos, Landmark Cinemas Canada, Schneider Electric, Deloitte, CBTW, Desjardins and Wodan & Co are now joining the Board. Xavier Van Overmeire, Partner at Dentons Canada, has accepted to lead the BCBC for another year; Frederic Landtmeters, President of Molson Coors Beverage Company, will be Vice-President and Gratia Derde, Chief Administration Officer at University of Ottawa, the CEO of the Chamber.

The new composition of the 2023 – 2024 BCBC Board is as follows:

Xavier Van Overmeire, Dentons Canada, BCBC President * LinkedIn Profile

Frederic Landtmeters, Molson Coors, BCBC Vice-President LinkedIn Profile

Gratia Derde, uOttawa, BCBC CEO* LinkedIn Profile

Martin Cloutier, Mazars, BCBC Treasurer* LinkedIn Profile

Grégory Petit Dufrenoy, Nokia, BCBC Partnerships Director* LinkedIn Profile

Anita Bhandari, Aarkish Diamonds, BCBC Membership Director* LinkedIn Profile

Oskar Hermans, Deloitte. BCBC Director & Coordinator for After work events* LinkedIn Profile

Xavier Biot, Schneider Electric, BCBC Director LinkedIn Profile

Maxime Ramon, Embassy of Belgium, BCBC Embassy representative* LinkedIn Profile

Taïs Bangala, Experior Financial Group, BCBC Director LinkedIn Profile

Olivier Belenger, Theodorus Investment Funds, BCBC DirectorProfile

Wouter Danckaert, Wodan & Co, BCBC Director* LinkedIn Profile

Sébastien Dillien, Lufthansa, BCBC Director LinkedIn Profile

David Dzialowski, CBTW, BCBC Director LinkedIn Profile

Adriana Fazzina, Puratos Canada, BCBC Director LinkedIn Profile

Suzy Horemans, Landmark Cinemas, BCBC Director LinkedIn Profile

Joel Mandelbaum, WRLWND, BCBC Director IT LinkedIn Profile

Guy McClelland, McClelland Premium Imports, BCBC Director LinkedIn Profile

Patrick Nadeau, Desjardins, BCBC Director LinkedIn Profile

Christophe Vandewiele, Degroof Petercam Bank, BCBC Director LinkedIn Profile

* Members of the Executive Commitee


Honorary Chairman: H.E. Patrick Van Gheel, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to Canada. LinkedIn Profile

Past President: Dominiek Arnout LinkedIn Profile

Executive Director & Board Secretary: Idalia Obregón LinkedIn Profile

Honorary Director: Donald Johnston, Honorary Consul of Belgium in Toronto LinkedIn Profile

Honorary Director: Yves Lapere, Flanders Investment & Trade LinkedIn Profile

Honorary Director: Christophe Van Overstraeten, Walloon Export and Foreign Investment Agency, LinkedIn Profile

Honorary Director: Gilles Bredas, Brussels.hub LinkedIn Profile

A million thanks to Anne Popoff, Dr. Matthias Dedobbeleer, Neil Roy and Frank Murari who will not renew their mandate for the upcoming year. 

Ambassador Patrick Van Gheel, congratulated Xavier Van Overmeire and the whole team, he expressed his satisfaction as he has witnessed how the BCBC has grown, he thanked the Board for their commitment as volunteers and welcomed the new Directors to the team. He added “If I compare BCBC with other chambers – we can be really proud of the BCBC, and this new strategy will make the Chamber remain as a place of networking in Canada and Belgium and we’re looking forward participating with you in all the events, we will see each other a lot, keep up the good work!”

President Xavier Van Overmeire ended the Annual General Meeting thanking BCBC’s corporate members and partners for their support.

The evening culminated with a cocktail reception to celebrate not only the strength and the dynamism of our business chamber, but also, the energy one man has dedicated to this chamber for 20 years.

Ambassador Patrick Van Gheel said: “For 2 decades, Christian has helped this group become stronger, he has tirelessly contacted business women and men to be part of the BCBC. He has hosted the last 2 general assemblies at his residence and it only felt natural that this year, we host and thank him.

As most of you very well know, Belgium no longer has a Consulate in Toronto, and the BCBC is one of the main instruments we have to defend our interest and promote Belgium in and around the city. We rely in a strong bcbc and a strong army of volunteers to make this happen, and, christian, we are articulatory thankful for your time, dedication and generosity.

Beyond the BCBC, Christian has also defended the interest of the Belgian Canadian business community at the Board of the EU chamber of commerce in Canada (EUCCAN), and, more broadly, in the organization of the EU Film Festival in Toronto, which he still contributes to.

As most of you know, Christian is actually a French citizen – or rather a French Canadian national, but now, unfortunately we can’t give you the Belgian nationality but we can at least give you this.

On behalf of his majesty the King Philip of Belgium, I am delighted and honoured to present to you this honorary distinction and make you Knight of the Order of the Crown. The Order of the Crown was established in 1897 and is awarded for services rendered to the Belgian estate. It is granted for artistic, literary, scientific, merits, in the sphere of commercial and industrial interest and or services rendered to the country and is awarded by royal decree.”

Christian Frayssignes was also presented a certificate signed by the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, in lieu of an official award. 

We raise our glass in honour of Christian Frayssignes – Christian, encore mille mercis pour ton soutien tout au long the ces années! Santé! 

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