Governor General Simon completed successful State visit to Finland

February 10, 2023

OTTAWA, Ontario—Today, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, completed a State visit to the Republic of Finland. The visit celebrated 75 years of friendship with Finland and showed Canada’s support to the Arctic community as the world continues to adapt to these times of international unrest. 

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, the visit helped to underscore Canada’s unwavering support for European security and Finland’s joint application with Sweden to join NATO. The visit also illustrated Canada’s commitment to work with Finland, Arctic allies and people of the Arctic, to create a more sustainable, stable and prosperous Arctic.

In Helsinki, the Governor General was welcomed by His Excellency Sauli Niinistö, President of the Republic of Finland, and his spouse, Dr. Jenni Haukio. The President and the Governor General had the opportunity to discuss shared priorities between the two countries in the areas of peace and security, support for democratic values and climate change. At a press conference following their meeting, they emphasized the importance of standing together in support of Ukraine and its people.

The Governor General met with many Finnish officials to continue important discussions on Arctic-related issues such as Indigenous culture, education, distance learning, and climate change. Following a meeting with His Excellency Antti Rinne, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Her Excellency was introduced to members of the Finnish Parliament during a parliamentary session.

To learn more about the reality of Finnish youth and share her own life experience being born and raised in the Canadian Arctic, the Governor General joined education officials at the Museum of Technology to discuss education systems and the challenges faced in remote areas, including in the North. Her Excellency also met with inspiring youth leaders from a cross-section of Finnish society including youth advocates for the Sámi People, the 2SLGBTQI+ community, disability groups, national student unions, as well as climate change and environmental activism.

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.

While in Rovaniemi, Her Excellency also met with Ms. Ulla-Kirsikka Vainio, Mayor of Rovaniemi; was warmly welcomed to the Ylikylä Comprehensive School to learn about Sámi language education and distance learning for Sámi children; and, in her capacity as Commander-in-Chief, she stopped at the Lapland Air Command to learn about their operations and capabilities.

Throughout the visit, the Governor General was accompanied by a Canadian delegation who brought a wealth of experience and expertise in the fields of education, the Arctic region and Indigenous knowledge, enhancing the interactions with their Finnish counterparts.


“The Arctic affects us all, and what happens here has far-reaching consequences for the world. Climate change, the rights of Indigenous peoples and Arctic security are common challenges we face as northern countries, and these challenges require global co‑operation. Finland is a great friend and ally, and this State visit highlighted our interconnectedness, our commitment to this valued relationship, and our ongoing support for a stable, inclusive and flourishing North.”

Governor General Mary Simon

“It’s been amazing to see how diplomacy works in action, bringing together arctic nations like Finland and Canada, and different stakeholders representing Sami, Inuit, youth and other diverse groups, it was nothing short of inspiring. For me personally, I’ve learned an enormous amount about how our country works, how the world works, how we need to work more closely together, especially as we move forward in these very uncertain times not only because of climate change, but also because of the war in Ukraine. Together we can discover and innovate and train and teach and just make the world a better place.”

Dr. Dawson, Canada Research Chair (tier 1) in the Human and Policy Dimensions of Climate Change, and Scientific Director of the Network of Centres of Excellence at ArcticNet, State visit delegate

Quick Facts

  • In November 2022, Canada and Finland celebrated 75 years of diplomatic relations.
  • Governors general undertake official international travel at the request of the Prime Minister and in support of the Government of Canada’s international foreign policy, diplomatic, and trade objectives.

Notes for Media

  • Photos of the visit can be provided to media upon request via

Related links

Media information:
Rideau Hall Press Office

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