Ottawa wants to tighten investment review to ensure national security

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Ottawa wants to tighten investment review to ensure national security

The federal government, through Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, says it wants to counter foreign interference, particularly in Canada's essential minerals sector.

The federal government says it is making the most significant updates to the law that has been “screening” investments for more than a decade, to address emerging national security concerns.

Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne tabled proposed amendments to the Investment Canada Act on Wednesday afternoon.

These would require foreign investors to notify the federal government of their investments in certain industries.

During a press conference, Mr. Champagne offered an overview of the sectors that may be subject to this new requirement.

“You can be assured that this will include critical minerals, sensitive technologies and anything related to personal data. »

— François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Industry

The Minister also pointed out that geopolitics had changed considerably in recent years and that Canada would face challenges regarding its economic and national security.

He also added that the government was making the most significant update to the law in more than a decade in an effort to protect Canadian interests and resources and keep citizens safe.

These changes would give the Minister of Industry the power to impose interim conditions on an investment and, after consultation with the Minister of Public Safety, to order that such investment undergo a thorough national security review. .

Always with the agreement of the Minister of Public Security, Mr. Champagne could also accept binding commitments from investors.

Other changes include stiffer penalties for non-compliance, as well as the ability for Canada to share case-specific information with international counterparts.

There will also be new rules protecting sensitive information during judicial review.

Under his mandate letter, released a year ago, Minister Champagne was to, among other things, promote economic security and fight foreign interference by reviewing and modernizing the Investment Law. Canada.

This modernization should aim to strengthen the national security review process and better assess and mitigate economic security threats from foreign investment.

The Prime Minister also asked him to use all tools, including the Investment Canada Act, to ensure the protection and development of critical minerals.

Ottawa considers the exploration, extraction and processing of these minerals to be essential for Canada to become a world leader in the production of batteries and other green technologies.

Last October, the government announced launched its intention to restrict the involvement of foreign state-owned companies in Canada's critical minerals sector, amid a global scramble for these resources and growing tensions with China.

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