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Ottawa and Montreal welcomed Czech transport, ICT and healthcare companies. In all areas, Czech companies have a chance to make it big in Canada

From 25 to 28 September 2022, a Czech business mission accompanying Transport Minister Martin Kupka visited Canada. The business delegation, led by the Czech Chamber of Commerce, visited the capital city of Ottawa and nearby francophone Montreal, where they met with potential Canadian partners.

The business mission of the Chamber of Commerce of the Czech Republic accompanying Transport Minister Martin Kupka on his trip to Canada for the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) assembly, visited the province of Ontario, specifically the capital Ottawa, and Montreal, the capital of the largest and only francophone province of Quebec. The event was successfully implemented with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic as a PROPED economic diplomacy project in cooperation with the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Ottawa.

The mission was attended by CENDIS, which in cooperation with the Ministry of Transport of the Czech Republic modernizes transport ICT, SaZ s.r.o. which offers products and services in the field of special railway technology or trucks, global transport and logistics company EGT Express, Principal, which provides comprehensive IT services and solutions in the fields of finance, telecommunications or government, Petra Clinic, a leading clinic for aesthetic and laser medicine, PROMA REHA, a leading manufacturer of medical and nursing beds, and finally IT-CNS, which focuses on cybersecurity. During their three-day stay in Ottawa and Montreal, the companies had the opportunity to see the potential that the region offers in their respective sectors, from business opportunities, involvement in scientific collaborations, to the possibility of establishing local offices.

While Canada's rail network is one of the largest in the world, overall the Canadian rail sector has been underfunded for a long time. In addition to opportunities to engage in urban and suburban rail procurement, there may also be opportunities in the areas of operational systems integration and ICT, as well as cybersecurity on rail as a critical infrastructure. The Canadian companies that the Czech representatives met with are aware of the quality of European rail technologies, including Czech ones, and are very interested in them. This is excellent news and demonstrates a need for commitment to make sufficient and timely use of Canadian interest.

Interesting meetings were held with representatives of the CargoM logistics cluster, which brings together all the important players in the freight transport and logistics sector in the Greater Montreal area. The Port of Montreal, in turn, has its own rail network and is also beginning to profile significantly in the transition of the transport industry to clean technologies and low-carbon fuels.

Delegation in Montreal

As far as the ICT sector is concerned, many opportunities for Czech companies arise from the necessary digitalization and virtualization of business, which are manifested in traditional sectors such as transport, healthcare or banking. Here too, Czech participants could meet interesting Canadian IT representatives, including the Numana technology cluster, which, for example, this year launched a state-of-the-art quantum communications infrastructure for implementing open networks for industry and researchers. A very inspiring meeting was held with the IN-SEC-M cybersecurity cluster, which, after an initial meeting with Czech companies, is interested in conducting another, this time with a more detailed introduction to the Czech cybersecurity community.

Canada's healthcare sector has long struggled with an aging Canadian population, and offers huge potential for Czech companies to apply; during the pandemic, a shortage of hospital beds proved to be one of the biggest problems facing the Canadian healthcare system. Canada's medical device market is the eighth largest, with Montréal alone offering opportunities for business and research collaboration in the areas of biopharmaceuticals, diagnostics, medical devices, medical technology and artificial intelligence.

In addition to their sector-focused meetings, mission participants had the opportunity to meet with representatives of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, including the non-profit organizations Montreal International, Quebec International and Invest Quebec, which promote business and investment in the region, and which showcased Quebec as a region that offers great potential for cooperation in many areas, including transportation. In the area of research and development, it is certainly worth mentioning a visit to the Ottawa government R&D complex Area X.O, where, in addition to autonomous vehicles and related infrastructure including satellite communication systems, they are working on smart agriculture projects or the development, testing and implementation of smart city technologies and urban infrastructure solutions. Czech technologies could also be used here.

Delegation at Area X.O

It is certainly possible to spend more time in Canada, but it is clear that all of the sectors mentioned above offer room for Czech companies. As far as rail transport is concerned, the demand for materials for the construction of railway lines, maintenance, but also for train sets or modern technologies is high. Opportunities may also emerge in the future, for example in the field of integration of operating systems or ICT, as well as investments in new solutions, for example in cyber security risks. All of this presents opportunities for Czech companies. Let us hope that the mission results in an incoming mission of Canadian companies to the Czech Republic.

Jan Kubačka, Economic Diplomat
Embassy of the Czech Republic in Ottawa