Viva Corrado Paina

The passing of Corrado Paina marks the loss of a champion of Italian-Canadian relations.

Canada and Italy may be thousands of kilometres apart, but no one did more in his life to bridge that distance and bring those two countries together than Corrado Paina, long- longtime executive director of the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario Canada (ICCO Canada), who passed away in April 2024.

If he had been a world-class footballer, Paina would most definitely have been a striker, as he was tenacious in forcing the play and doing everything in his power to strengthen relations between Italy and Canada for the benefit of businesses and people on both sides of the Atlantic. His passing leaves a great void in the Italian-Canadian community as his visionary leadership, kindness and generosity made him beloved by that community and everyone he touched.

“Corrado was a larger-than-life figure, the heart and soul of the ICCO Canada, has left an indelible mark on every person he met throughout his extensive career,” read ICCO Canada’s statement released upon his passing. “He dedicated his life to connecting the two countries he called home, Italy and Canada, and has built lasting connections and great friendships in both countries. All his work and career have been focusing on the expansion and the enhancement of cultural and business relationships between Canada and Italy, and his passing will be a major loss to ICCO Canada and the Italian Canadian business community.”

In 2022, two-way trade between Canada and Italy totalled $11.8 billion, making Italy Canada’s ninth-largest global merchandise trading partner and third-most important in the European Union. Much of the credit for that increased and continued strength goes to Paina, and, as a testament to his dedication and effort, he received the most prestigious award from the city of Milan, “Menzione Civica – Ambrogino d’Oro,” for his activity in favour of the twinning of Toronto and Milan.

This man of all seasons was also an accomplished writer, poet and artist. He authored several publications in both Italy and Canada, and his publications and exhibitions have touched the Italian- Canadian community throughout the years and reached great heights in Italy. He was editor-in-chief of Partners Magazine for several years and produced many books and one documentary during his illustrious career. In 2016, Paina was appointed Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy, and, in 2023, he was nominated for Commander of the same Order, particularly for his work in promoting the business and trade relationships between Italy and Canada.

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Paina was a tireless champion of the relationship between Italy and Canada and was a part of numerous boards and organizations for which he served as board member, vice president and chairman. Particularly close to his generous heart was The Italy Earthquake Relief Fund (TIERF), founded in 2006 following the earthquake that devastated L’Aquila in Italy, for which he served as vice president. Paina was also deeply respected in political circles, where he enjoyed rare bipartisan admiration at the very top of government influence. He organized many delegations and trade missions both ways between Canada and Italy during his roles as a communications assistant of an Ontario minister in several portfolios, as a journalist in the cutthroat world of the Queen’s Park press gallery, as an official of the Italian Trade Commission and as an executive director of the ICCO, such as in 2017 when he worked with the Government of Canada on an important trade delegation accompanying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Italy. There, his accomplished diplomatic skills coupled with his deep business acumen helped deepen relations between the two countries.

True champions in life leave their mark. Corrado Paina was a true champion of Italian-Canadian relations, and he will be celebrated far and wide for a life very well lived.


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Rick Muller

Rick Muller