International network: monitoring and evaluation report 2022-2023

The Scottish Government's international network monitoring and evaluation reports for the financial year from April 2022 to March 2023.


Context for 2022/23

Based in Ottawa and supported by three staff (two of them Scotland-based, the other locally engaged), SG Canada entered FY 22/23 with a changeover in personnel – with our new Head of Office joining post in June 2022. This meant a large focus for SG Canada in Q1 was on the induction of the new Head of Office and ensuring his programme included a range of introductions with all of our key stakeholders in both Scotland and Canada. SG Canada continued to work with a ‘Team Scotland’ approach throughout 22/23, by engaging with Visit Scotland and Transport Scotland (on the visit of Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture, and the WestJet launch of new direct routes to Scotland), Universities Scotland, Entrepreneurial Scotland and the Scottish Parliament. In country, SG Canada also worked with partners such as the University of Guelph, Scottish Society of Ottawa, St Andrew’s Societies of Montreal and Toronto and ScotCanBC to enable greater collaboration and amplify Scotland’s reputation across Canada.

This year was the office’s first full non-COVID year meaning events, Ministerial and official level visits and travel were very much back in full swing. SG Canada was happy to return to the normalcy of ‘contact sport’ diplomacy by facilitating two Ministerial visits, one senior official visit and travel throughout the country to meet with Ministers, Mayors, diaspora members, academia and officials in six of Canada’s provinces and territories. SG Canada was thus able to participate in and coordinate various events linked to key SG policy areas and cultural diplomacy.


SG Canada’s footprint and visibility across Canada was enhanced significantly this reporting year through increased travel and introductory calls undertaken with the new Head of Office. Meetings and events took place all over Canada, from visits on the east coast such as Halifax, Quebec, Montreal and Toronto to the other side of the country visiting Vancouver, Whitehorse, Calgary and Edmonton. Across all of these visits, SG Canada was able to promote Scotland as a modern, innovative and outward looking nation during meetings on policy priorities such as climate, biodiversity, culture, energy, period dignity, Indigenous relations and diaspora engagement.

Both the federal government and the provincial / territorial authorities present Scotland with a variety of partnership opportunities. The Government of Canada is like-minded on climate, biodiversity and energy goals – underlined in meetings with SG Ministers and officials at New York Climate Week, COP27 and the biodiversity COP15 in Montreal. Engagement with provincial and territorial governments in Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, British Columbia and the Yukon have enhanced our engagement on some of those same policy files but also energy, economic development, culture and language, universities and the Arctic. Ultimately, the challenge for this office is focusing limited resource on the opportunities that are most beneficial to Scotland.


Engagement between 6 SG Ministers and 8 Canadian Ministers (federal and provincial) to discuss 7 SG priorities.

Enhanced social media presence with 5,526 Twitter followers as at 31/3/23 (232 new followers) and maintained an average 3.4% engagement rate.

  • 2,997 likes and 739 retweets
  • 430,000 impressions
  • engagement from 6 diplo. missions
  • engagement from 4 fed. ministries

Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs interviewed by The National Post – one of the largest Canadian news outlet.

Canadian media published 177 articles of Scottish interest with themes surrounding key SG priorities such as...

  • Sport, Tourism and Culture
  • International Relations

Diaspora Engagement : For Tartan Day 2022, in collaboration with the Ontario Government and the Mayor of Niagara, SG Canada held a diaspora event in front of the Niagara Falls, which were lit up in the colours of the Saltire to celebrate the connections between our nations. Enhanced visibility of the office at two of the largest Highland Games in Canada. Hosted reception and spoke at flag raising in honour of St. Andrew’s Day and Ontario Scottish Heritage Day. Attended the Scottish Society of Ottawa (SSO) Hogmanay – during which a message from the FM was played after that of PM Trudeau – and provided remarks at their annual Kilt Skate alongside the Mayor of Ottawa. Attended the SSO and SAS Montréal’s celebrations of Burns Night.

Scottish Talent : Proactively amplified artistic and athletic Scottish talent in country throughout the year – promoting both Scottish artists at the Celtic Colours International Festival and Scottish authors such as Michael Pedersen, Hollie McNish and Irvine Welsh at the Toronto Intl. Festival of Authors. Hosted the team representing Scotland at the LGBTQ+ International Rugby Tournament and attended a reception alongside other diplomatic missions during which PM Trudeau provided virtual remarks.

Gaelic Month : Led the organisation and amplification of Gaelic Month in Nova Scotia. The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills provided virtual remarks for the official launch – which was celebrated in Parliament by two Canadian MPs.

Political / Diplomatic : Proudly marched with the Saltire alongside the diplomatic corps for Capital Pride. SG Canada attended Burns Night on the Hill hosted by the Speaker of the House of Commons and attended by various Cabinet Ministers.

Case study: The Celtic Colours International Festival

Inspired by Scotland’s Celtic Connections, the Celtic Colours Festival in Nova Scotia encompasses a wide range of cultural events: from Gaelic singing and highland dancing, to artist-led workshops and school presentations on Celtic history. Having spotted Scottish talent in the line-up – and given the dates aligned with parliamentary recess – SG Canada seized the opportunity to simultaneously support the participating artists and enhance our relationship with federal and provincial politicians from the region. Through collaboration with the Government of Nova Scotia, SG Canada was able to put together an intensive four-day programme (including meetings with the NS Deputy Premier and two NS Deputy Ministers, plus federal MPs and Senators) which culminated in the team hosting an event within the margins of the festival.

SG Canada successfully built on previous connections with the Government of Nova Scotia in order to maximise the reach of our engagement with the Celtic Colours International Festival – which resulted in high-level attendance at our reception, including the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia and several federal and provincial Members of Parliament. Such presence increased the credibility of SG Canada and significantly enhanced the visibility of the office amongst the largest community of Scottish Gaels in Canada. Looking ahead, SG Canada expects that the relationships strengthened through our involvement with Celtic Colours will facilitate an upcoming visit from the External Affairs Secretary in the coming year – in a province where Scotland can now easily secure a blend of high-level interlocutors and activity in the fields of academia, business, culture, language, research and innovation, and all levels of government.

International Trade

  • Kept SG Ministers informed of latest economic developments in Canada.
  • Supported 42 companies in consumer industries.
  • Forecast international sales as a result of SDI support totalled £26.6 million.

Direct Flights: SG Canada and Visit Scotland supported the launch of new direct service from West Jet and Air Canada between Scotland and Canada, and extensively promoted the flights on social media.

Food & Drink: Boosted engagement in the alcohol sectors of Ontario and Québec – and achieved increased export sales for established and growing Scottish distilleries. SDI have developed strong connections with key retailers like Sobeys and Metro for dairy products – which included a successful reception in Toronto, showcasing Scottish cheeses with a number of buyers.

Energy and Low Carbon Transition : Maintained relationships with companies and organisations such as Cenovus, Northland Power, Enbridge and Suncor, Marine Renewables Canada, Pathway Alliance to keep up to date on market developments and opportunities in their respective industry.

Case study: Inward Mission with SAQ

Throughout the year, SDI have been successful in building their connections with the SAQ – the corporation responsible for the trade of alcoholic beverages within the province of Québec. In October 2022, SDI’s In-Market Specialist hosted the two senior decision-makers (Sprits Director and Whisky Category Director) from the SAQ for an inward mission in Scotland. With an extensive week-long tour of the country– including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Speyside and the West Coast – the programme imparted on them the inimitable story and provenance that Scotland brings to bear through its whisky. Mission attendees had meetings with 25 EGP whisky distilleries to discuss Canadian export possibilities, increase allocations for 2023 and beyond, and generally build growth directly with some of the most important buyers in the market.

Given that the SAQ controls commercial sales of all spirits across Québec (Canada’s second most populous province) – including the entire off-trade / on-trade channels, as well as the urban regions of Montréal and Québec City – the mission was crucial in supporting Scottish companies increase their share of the market in Canada.

On the back of their visit, the SAQ either increased allocation with existing Scottish distilleries in their portfolio or placed orders with new ones – as such, the forecast international sales from these meetings are currently sitting at £9,057,300 and SDI estimates that approximately 154.5 jobs were created or safeguarded as a result of the mission. Nearly six months of planning were required ahead of the mission and SDI invested £10,000 for the activity – all of which was possible through wider collaboration across SDI’s Events and F&D Teams. Together they facilitated significant increased sales in the largest portfolio of Scottish companies active in Canada.

Following the tremendous success of the mission with the SAQ, the upcoming financial year will see another mission taken to Scotland in May 2023 – this time with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) and with support from DBT. Given that LCBO generates yearly more than twice in revenue than the SAQ, this represents an important step towards opening up the market to Scottish companies already active or with an interest in Canada.

Research and Innovation

SCGA: SG Canada welcomed the Scottish Council on Global Affairs (SCGA) within the margins of their first official visit in Ottawa. SG Canada worked closely with SCGA on their programme of activity by facilitating meetings with interlocutors from the Arctic field and supporting two events at the University of Ottawa on the topic of ‘Scotland’s Place in the World’ and ‘Feminist Foreign Policy Approaches’.

Yukon University: Hosted the Chancellor and Vice-President of Yukon University (northernmost and newest university in the country) at the SG Canada Office. Followed up in the Yukon with meetings and an interactive session with post-graduate students leading research on mutual areas of interest (the Arctic, Indigenous climate leadership and resiliency).

Arctic: Facilitated knowledge-exchange with the SG Head of the Arctic and Nordic Unit in Ottawa throughout the Northern Lights Conference and attended meetings such as introductory discussion with Memorial University.

  • Facilitated 11 engagements with leading Canadian universities via meetings, visits and events.
  • Collaborated with Scottish and Canadian stakeholders on a joint panel discussion featuring the External Affairs Secretary and encouraging sustainable recovery for the tourism industry, which garnered an audience of 150+ viewers.
  • SG Canada participated in two ‘Meet and Greet’ events with faculty and students of the University of Guelph and Yukon University.

Case study: University of Guelph

Ahead of Tartan Day, SG Canada seized the visit of the External Affairs Secretary as an opportunity to build on our relationship with the University of Guelph – which had previously focused on the traditional links between Scotland and Canada. Through the organisation of an engaging panel discussion on sustainable recovery for the tourism industry, SG Canada supported Visit Scotland in highlighting what modern Scotland has to offer to the academic community of the University of Guelph – home to the largest centre for Scottish studies outside of the UK. SG Canada was successful in facilitating a wide-ranging programme for the Cabinet Secretary – which enabled a series of exchanges with students and faculty, and as a panellist, informed the wider Scottish diaspora on progressive policies of the Scottish Government. Following the visit, SG Canada maintained proactive contact with the University of Guelph – with whom we collaborated on digitally amplifying our office’s key activities throughout the year (Gaelic Month, TIFA, Winter Festivals, and COP15) and organised interactive sessions between SG Canada and post-grad students upon arrival of the new Head of Office. Our engagement with Guelph later led to connecting their Chair of Scottish Studies with SCGA in Ottawa – thus fostering academic ties between our countries and securing our reputation / interests in this crucial area of cooperation.

SG Canada was successful in achieving the intended outcome of strengthening links between Scottish and Canadian universities in both directions as our engagement with the University of Guelph has recently led to the conceptualisation of the Scotland-Canada Academic Partnership (SCAP). Through this partnership, SG Canada and the University of Guelph aim to facilitate channels of communication that will promote exchanges between scholars in the two countries with mutual research interests, highlight their research to the wider community, and bring them into closer contact to nurture new research agendas across a broad range of disciplines. By securing ministerial engagement with the University of Guelph, SG Canada was able to elevate our relationship with senior members of their institution – such as the Chair of Scottish Studies and the Vice-President Research – in a way that has considerably increased awareness of Scottish expertise in research and academia with a much larger audience of Canadians.


  • Secured investments for the creation of 210 RLW planned jobs, including 73 green jobs.
  • Landed 6 inward investment projects as a result of SDI support.
  • £420,000 planned R&D Investment
  • £120,530,000 planned Capital Investment

Ministerial Visit: Team Scotland in Canada welcomed a visit from SG Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise in Vancouver – which included two meetings with leading Canadian-based companies Carbon Engineering and Clir. The meeting with the latter converted into a successful inward investment project, whilst the former continues to make progress with Scotland remaining a key strategic location for future investment. Earlier this calendar year, Clir landed a 60 high-value jobs project in Scotland – making Glasgow the home of their European headquarters. Apart from working in renewable energy, the company is pivoting into insure-tech – which signifies Scotland as one of the key locations for fintech industry in the region.

Pandemic Restrictions: FY 2022-23 marked SDI’s first year post-pandemic fully operating in a non-virtual environment, which significantly helped re-establish their network of strategic partners and engagement with key customers. Balancing the reality of COVID-19 was a concern throughout the year but as the team resumed business related travel, local stakeholders were delighted to be reconnecting and the return to in-person conferences continued to facilitate the growth of our networks.

Case study: Northland Power

Managed by Crown Estate Scotland and announced in mid-January 2022, ScotWind enabled developers to apply for seabed rights to plan and build windfarms in Scottish waters. Toronto-based Northland Power secured one fixed and one floating site off the coast of the Outer Hebrides – namely Spiorad na Mara (Spirit of the Sea) and Havbredey (Isles on the Edge of the Sea). This followed a significant amount of engagement from Team Scotland in Canada, who actively engaged with the company at various levels to support their growth in Scotland.

In the past, SDI have engaged with Northland Power in multiple meetings attended by the former FM and the External Affairs Secretary with aim to encourage a collaborative approach in maximising overall economic impact. Northland Power having expressed their interest in supporting Scotland’s ambitious energy transition to net zero through these renewable energy projects, Team Scotland in Canada seized the opportunity to maintain and build on our relationship with them.

Apart from representing a multi-billion dollars investment and securing over 100 highly skilled jobs, these two projects will create huge opportunities for local supply-chain companies across offshore wind industry value chain. Offshore wind projects are expected to transform the future of the energy landscape and, therefore, SDI have worked closely with Northland Power to support their current and planned commitment to Scotland.

Through continued engagement with Northland Power, the company has notably decided to remain in Scotland for the lifespan of their ScotWind projects until decommission. They have proactively engaged with Scottish stakeholders to ensure they are delivering benefits to local communities – including how to alleviate fuel poverty through hydrogen and combating depopulation through good quality jobs, as exemplified by their MoU with Lews Castle College. Northland Power have also planned for an additional 100 staff in legal and engineering specialties (working with local consultants such as Arcus and Exodus, amongst others) – thus seeking to further build on their relationship with local interlocutors and decision makers as they look to become fully operational in 8-10 years.

Scotland’s Interests

Parliamentary Engagement: SG Canada engaged with the Legislative Assemblies of three Canadian provinces, built strong relationships with federal MPs and Senators, particularly whilst visiting their home provinces such as Nova Scotia and Alberta during Parliamentary recess. Supported the inward visits of Ontario and Federal Parliamentary Interns to Edinburgh – ensuring their programmes were extensive and included meetings with Ministers and senior officials. Attended the reinstated Burns Night on the Hill – a celebration of Robert Burns and Scotland in the Federal Parliament of Canada, hosted by the Speaker and attended by numerous Cabinet Ministers and MPs from across Canada.

Government to Government: Facilitated numerous Ministerial bilaterals with provinces such as Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta and Nova Scotia. Met at official level and Cab Sec level with two out of three of the Premiers of Canada’s Territories and SG Canada met the Deputy Premier of Nova Scotia. Engaged with the federal government at senior official level across departments such as NRCan, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Parks Canada. Supported the visits of two provincial Agent Generals to Scotland with programmes covering business, academia culture and energy. Met with Mayors across the country – from Whitehorse to Halifax, and the Deputy Mayor of Toronto.

Profile Raising Events: SG Canada hosted a reception for the Scottish Council on Global Affairs within the margins of their visit with attendees such as Senator Boehm, Chair of the Senate’s Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee. SG Canada attended diplomatic events throughout the year – including those hosted in Parliament and celebrating National Days. Attended Royal Canadian Geographic Society’s annual event, which featured remarks from former PM Jean Chrétien.

  • 27 GlobalScots in total – incl. 5 new recruits in 2022/23
  • CabSecCEAC met with 2 Global Scots in Toronto and SG Canada have been actively recruiting a female Global Scot from the Canadian Arctic.
  • SG Canada actively engaged with the diaspora – with Scottish societies from Vancouver to Toronto, Ottawa and Montréal. SG Canada met with all of the above and attended / co-hosted events with ScotCanBC, St Andrew’s Society of Montreal and Scottish Society of Ottawa.

Case study: Visit from SG Director for External Affairs

SG Canada welcomed our first senior visitor to Ottawa since the First Minister visited in 2019. Scott Wightman, Director for External Affairs visited for a two-day programme, which covered meetings with academia, diaspora, federal MPs and Senators, as well as various federal government meetings and a provincial government engagement. The visit took place shortly after the Scottish Council on Global Affairs visit to Ottawa, so the SG office worked hard to ensure that momentum for engagement with Scotland was sustained throughout the month. The visit included important meetings with various members of the Canada-Scotland Parliamentary Friendship Group, as well as academics from both the University of Ottawa and Carleton University and the co-chair of the Convention on Biological Diversity – a real opportunity for Scotland just a fortnight before COP15 kicked off in Montreal.

The benefit of this visit to SG Canada was significant. Firstly, it presented the opportunity to underline that - post-pandemic – there was a return to overseas visits to Canada to further objectives and build load-bearing relationships with key stakeholders. Secondly, the meetings with the federal government offered a chance to build on our relationship with Canada at a senior official level – for the first time in country, particularly in key areas such as Hydrogen and Indigenous Relations. Such conversations served us well as we followed up on Hydrogen at a more technical level and as we liaised with National Museum of Scotland on the return of the Nisga’a memorial pole. Engagement with the Co-Chair of the Convention on Biological Diversity meant SG Canada was able to facilitate a Ministerial level meeting two weeks later at COP15, which led to SG Biodiversity officials contributing directly to a CBD press release at COP.

Lessons learned for FY2022-23

Ultimately, the challenge for SG Canada lies in focusing limited resource on the opportunities that are most beneficial to Scotland – and the past financial year has taught us the importance of responding creatively. SG Canada recruited the assistance of a Saltire Intern for the summer – which considerably strengthened our digital engagement / outreach across Canada whilst simultaneously supporting key partners, Entrepreneurial Scotland, again this year.

Medium to long-term impact

Since the establishment of SG Canada, the team have sought to promote Scotland as a modern, dynamic and progressive country. SG Canada has again developed our relationship and increased our engagement with Indigenous Peoples this year on areas of mutual interest such as climate leadership, stability in the Arctic, and period dignity. We will continue to work proactively on enhancing Scotland’s modern day reputation as a nation engaged in inclusive solutions to the global challenges that we share today.

Last reporting year

Our proactive engagement with various representatives of Indigenous Peoples in attendance at the COP26 in Glasgow opened doors for SG Canada. Through our support for groups such as Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE) and the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), SG Canada was able to secure participation from two SG Ministers for events alongside leaders and youth within the margins of the conference – and their counterparts from the Government of Canada. Following such collaboration throughout COP26, the Head of SG Canada received an invitation for the Canadian launch of the UN International Decade for Indigenous Languages – for which the Governor General provided opening remarks. SG Canada was also invited to the ‘Northern Connections, Northern Conversations’ event hosted by the Royal Canadian Geographic Society (RCGS), the Inuit Art Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts – and again seized the opportunity to further amplify and connect with prominent Indigenous leaders.

This reporting year / Q1, Q2

SG Canada enhanced our knowledge of Indigenous traditions and practices by having the privilege to attend a Pow Wow with Indigenous stakeholders in Edmonton. With thanks to the relations built at this Pow-Wow, SG Canada attended a moving event to mark National Truth and Reconciliation Day in Ottawa later in the year. Through our international climate collaboration at COP27 and the Arctic Circle Assembly, we critically built our reputation amongst the Territories that form Northern Canada – notably by connecting the Premier of the Northwest Territories and the Scottish External Affairs Secretary in Reykjavik. With such proactive engagement, SG Canada aim to progressively establish ourselves as a reliable partner and advocate for Indigenous Peoples – as exemplified through our collaborative approach in engaging with NMS on return of the Nisga’a Pole.

This reporting year / Q3, Q4

Through our continued engagement with Indigenous Peoples – and the prominent organisations and high-level politicians who actively amplify their voices – SG Canada was able to secure meetings with Indigenous interlocutors in priority policy areas. When the SG DEXA Director visited Ottawa, SG Canada seized the opportunity to strengthen connections with the Federal Government’s Crown-Indigenous Relations Department by hosting a lunch. In addition to enhancing connections at government-to-government level, SG Canada took the opportunity to engage with Senator Pat Duncan – a champion of period dignity in the Yukon and vocal supporter of Scotland’s Period Products Act. Connecting her with Scott Wightman increased the credibility of this office and made her an even closer friend of Scotland. Senator Duncan and her office have since proactively coordinated meetings between SG Canada and groups such as the Council of Yukon First Nations and the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition – who have expressed their enthusiasm in exchanging knowledge on period dignity, gender equality, and health provision in rural communities in upcoming meetings this month in the Yukon. This will mark SG Canada’s first official visit to the Yukon and a significant step in our Indigenous engagement – the strength of SG Canada’s programme can be linked to the long-term engagement we have led with the Territories, Indigenous groups and decision-makers at federal level. SG Canada will continue to work with policy colleagues to scope opportunities to further develop such relationships.



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