Foreign Investment

We help you succeed in the Canadian marketplace

Our Foreign Investment Group offers incomparable expertise to foreign investors and Canadian businesses.  We have one of the most experienced foreign investment review practices in the country.  We have helped a wide range of Canadian and foreign clients, including state-owned enterprises and sovereign wealth funds, to clear deals and minimize regulatory risk under the Investment Canada Act

Advised on the largest foreign takeover in the history of the Investment Canada Act 

Clients in every sector turn to us.  Our foreign investment specialists guide you through the complexities of the Investment Canada Act which apply to acquisitions of and investments in Canadian businesses by non-Canadian investors.
Some of our most significant mandates include: 

  • Rio Tinto’s US$38 billion acquisition of Alcan (the largest foreign takeover in history of Canada)
  • Nexen Inc.’s C$15.1 billion acquisition by CNOOC Limited
  • Nestlé S.A.’s US$2.3 billion acquisition of Atrium Innovations Inc.
  • Cascade Investment L.L.C.’s US$3.8-billion acquisition of Four Seasons Hotels Inc., together with Kingdom Hotels International
  • Spectra Energy’s US$1.49 billion acquisition of the Express pipeline

Acting on behalf of global investors and law firms, including from the United States, Europe, China, Middle East, Africa and Asia, we are internationally respected for securing Investment Canada Act approvals from both the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and, in the case of Canadian cultural businesses, the Minister of Canadian Heritage.   We have extensive experience working with foreign counsel on sensitive cross border matters, including reviews before the Committee on Foreign Investment into the United States (CFIUS).   We are specialists in the approval process, national security issues and investments by state-owned enterprises.  You benefit from our experience in: 

Net benefit reviews — Our team frequently acts for clients on transactions which trigger the Investment Canada Act’s “net benefit to Canada” review. We represent clients before both the Investment Review Division and, for Canadian cultural businesses, the Cultural Sector Investment Review directorate and negotiate undertakings to secure approval. Post-transaction, we assist clients with compliance reports on their undertakings with the Canadian government.

National security reviews — In 2009, the Investment Canada Act  was amended to give the Canadian government the power to review any investments (no matter the size) by non-Canadians on national security grounds. A national security review can be undertaken for an acquisition of a majority or minority investment in an existing Canadian business or the start-up of a new business in Canada.  Our team helps clients avoid the pitfalls of the foreign investment review process.

Investments by state-owned enterprises — Investments in Canadian businesses by foreign state-owned enterprises (SOEs) may receive greater scrutiny than investments by non-SOEs. With recent changes to the legal and policy framework regulating SOE investments, the Canadian government has made it clear that investments by SOEs will be assessed differently than those by non-SOE investors.  We know how to navigate you through the regulatory review process, addressing legal and political issues early on in the planning process to ensure approval.

Investments in cultural businesses — Foreign investment in Canadian cultural businesses can raise unique challenges. The Department of Canadian Heritage’s review of an investment in Canadian cultural businesses takes into account the government’s policies which, in some areas, limit investments by foreign investors. We have extensive experience working on investments that raise cultural issues in industries such as books, magazines, videos, video games, music, film and television.

We frequently are involved in the engagement with the Canadian government at the deepest level and have successfully navigated government relations and public relations aspects of foreign investment review to secure approval.  

" They displayed the passion necessary when conveying our position and doing everything they could to advocate for our side. They were very strong advocates, right to the end. They made some lemonade out of lemons. "
Clients, Chambers Canada

Industry Leadership 

Our lawyers have written and lectured extensively on all aspects of foreign investment law. They actively participate in (and founded) the Foreign Investment Review Committee of the Canadian Bar Association and continue to hold executive positions in the National Competition Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association that oversees the Foreign Investment Review Committee.  One of the leaders of our Foreign Investment Group is a contributing editor to the world’s only publication that surveys international foreign investment and national security review regimes: Law Business Research’s Getting the Deal Through - Foreign Investment Review 2017.