State visit to Finland

February 6 to 10, 2023

The Governor General of Canada completed a State visit to the Republic of Finland to mark 75 years of formal bilateral relations with a valued and like-minded partner and European Union member.

Her Excellency’s visit to the country reinforced Canada’s commitment to solidarity and strong support for European security, and Finland’s accession to NATO. It presented opportunities to advance shared priorities in the areas of human rights, support for democracy, gender equality and climate change.

The visit also highlighted the Governor General’s unique standing across circumpolar regions in core areas of our co-operation with partners, including Indigenous knowledge, sustainable development, green transition, Arctic governance, the primary role of Arctic states leading on Arctic issues, and the importance of rules-based decisions in ensuring the stability of the region.

February 6, 2023

Her Excellency arrived in Helsinki.

February 7, 2023

In the morning, Governor General Mary Simon was greeted by His Excellency Sauli Niinistö, President of the Republic of Finland, and his spouse, Dr. Jenni Haukio. They inspected a guard of honour and observed the playing of the national anthems.  Following the official welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace, Governor General Simon met with the President of the Republic of Finland to discuss strengthening Canada-Finland relations and shared values in areas such as human rights, climate change and support for European security.

In the afternoon, Her Excellency met with His Excellency Antti Rinne, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament. Following the meeting, Her Excellency was introduced to members of Parliament in the house.

February 8, 2023

The Governor General attended a wreath-laying ceremony at Hietaniemi Cemetery, the location for Finnish state funerals.

Later that morning, Her Excellency met with Finnish education officials to discuss their education system and the challenges they face in remote areas, including the north. Following the discussion, the Governor General met with students enrolled in the Yrityskyla program, a Finnish experiential learning method.

In the afternoon, Governor General Mary Simon met with civically active Finnish youth representing a diverse group of organizations. The luncheon brought together Sámi People, 2SLGBTQI+ activists, disability activists, representatives of national student unions and young people representing Finland in the global fight against climate change. They discussed life in Finland from their different perspectives, including those of diversity and inclusion.


February 9, 2023

In Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland in Northern Finland, the Governor General delivered a speech on the effects of climate change in the Arctic. As a proud Inuk who lived in the Arctic throughout her childhood, Her Excellency emphasized the importance of trusting traditional indigenous knowledge and the necessity of establishing co-operative and inclusive approaches to tackling circumpolar environmental challenges.

In the afternoon, the Governor General visited the Ylikylä Comprehensive School to learn about Sámi language education and distance learning for Sámi children. She met with young children learning the main Sámi language.

In her capacity as Commander-in-Chief, she stopped at the Lapland Air Command to learn about their operations and capabilities.