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Revised Investment Canada Act Guidelines Broaden National Security Focus on Foreign Investments

See Chinese version below [中文版参阅下文]

On March 24, 2021, the Canadian government announced the release of revised Guidelines on the National Security Review of Investments (“Revised Guidelines”) under the Investment Canada Act (“ICA”). In summary, the Revised Guidelines: (i) restate the COVID-19 policy of subjecting investments by state-owned enterprises (“SOEs”) to “enhanced scrutiny”, (ii) expand the non-exclusive list of factors that the government will take into account when assessing investments on national security grounds, and (iii) broaden and/or provide more detail on some of the existing national security factors. 


The national security provisions of the ICA apply to any investment by a non-Canadian to establish a new Canadian business, acquire control of an existing Canadian business, or acquire an interest in, or establish, an entity that carries on any part of its operations in Canada so long it has either a place of operations in Canada, an individual(s) in Canada employed or self-employed in connection with its operations, or assets in Canada.  If the responsible Minister under the ICA believes that such an investment may be injurious to Canada’s national security, the Minister can subject the investment to a comprehensive national security review at the end of which the Minister can either permit the investment to proceed or refer it to the federal Cabinet for a final determination.  Cabinet’s enforcement powers include the right to impose terms and conditions on the non-Canadian investor, accept mitigation from the investor, prohibit closing or, where already closed, require the investor to divest itself of control or of the investment in its entirety.  The national security review process applies to all covered investments irrespective of their size. 

Importantly, the term “injurious to national security”, which is basis upon which Cabinet ultimately must assess an investment, is not defined by the ICA.  As such, Cabinet has significant discretion in determining what constitutes “injurious to national security”.

State-Owned Enterprises 

SOEs, which includes “private investors assessed as being closely tied to or subject to direction from foreign governments”, have already been a focus of the administration of the ICA. For example, Guidelines — Investment by state-owned enterprises — Net benefit assessment, which were released in 2007 with respect to ‘net benefit’ reviews under the ICA, already made clear “that the governance and commercial orientation of SOEs are considered”.

Interestingly, the prior iteration of the Revised Guidelines did not make specific reference to SOEs, although, practically speaking, SOE status has long been considered relevant to making assessments with respect to national security. In April 2020, a COVID-19 policy, which “will remain in place until the economy recovers from the effects of the pandemic”, flagged that SOEs “may be motivated by non-commercial imperatives that could harm Canada's economic or national security interests”, and stated that “all foreign investments” by SOEs “regardless of their value”, would be subject to “enhanced scrutiny”. The Revised Guidelines have permanently codified this.

In our next blog, we will look at the new factors that will be considered by the government in applying the ICA’s national security powers.


2021年3月24日,加拿大政府宣布根据《加拿大投资法》(“ ICA”)发布修订后的《国家安全投资审查指南》(“国家安全指南”)。 总而言之,修订后的指南包括:(i)重申新冠疫情COVID-19政策,对国有企业(“ SOE”)的投资进行“加强审查”,(ii)扩大政府在基于国家安全理由评估投资时将会考虑非排他性清单的因素在内,以及;(iii)扩大和/或提供更多有关某些现有国家安全因素的详细信息。


ICA 的国家安全规定适用于非加拿大人为建立新的加拿大企业、获得现有加拿大企业的控制权或获得在加拿大开展其业务的任何部分的实体的权益或建立的任何投资,只要该实体在加拿大有营业地,在加拿大有个人或自营职业者与其业务有关、或在加拿大的资产即可。如果ICA负责的部长认为此类投资可能损害加拿大的国家安全,则部长可以对该投资进行全面的国家安全审查。部长可以批准进行该投资,也可以将其提交联邦内阁作最后决定。内阁有权对非加拿大投资者提加条款和条件,接受投资者提出的减缓措施,禁止交割或在已经交割的情况下要求投资者剥离控制权或全部投资。无论其规模如何,国家安全审查程序适用于所有涵盖的投何。

重要的是,"损害国家安全"一词在ICA中没有定义,而"损害国家安全"一词是内阁最终必须评估投资的基础。 因此,内阁在确定什么是"危害国家安全"方面有很大的自由裁量权。



值得一提的是,国家安全指南先前版本并未具体提及国有企业没有具体提及国有企业。但事实上,国有企业的结构在长期以来被认为是与国家安全评估有关联的。2020年4月,COVID-19政策 (其适用期直到经济从新冠疫情的影响中恢复过来),指出国有企业“可能受到非商业性因素的驱使,可能损害加拿大的经济或国家安全利益” 并指出,国有企业“不论其价值”的“所有外国投资”都将受到“加强审查”。国家安全指南明确了国有企业与国家安全评估的关联。




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