Ottawa to unveil investment law reforms to address ‘national security concerns’

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Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne is poised to announce legislation to “modernize” the Investment Canada Act (ICA) on Wednesday, according to a government news release issued on Tuesday.

“These changes represent the most significant updates of the Investment Canada Act in more than a decade and will address evolving national security concerns,” the press release says.

While the contents of the legislation are not yet clear, the Investment Canada Act aims to encourage foreign investors to do business with Canada while allowing the government to review possible threats to national security, the government of Canada stated on its website.

Both the technical briefing scheduled for 5 p.m. eastern time and the press conference scheduled at 6 p.m. eastern will come after domestic stock markets close.

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Champagne’s mandate letter instructed him to modernize the Investment Canada Act with goals to “promote economic security and combat foreign interference” by strengthening the national security review process.

The federal government last month unveiled a new Indo-Pacific strategy aimed at countering a “disruptive” China, and a new Investment Canada Act rule restricting the involvement of foreign state-owned firms in Canada’s critical mineral sectors was announced on Oct. 28.

The Indo-Pacific Strategy also stated that Canada will implement changes to the Investment Canada Act in an effort to “strengthen the defence of Canadian infrastructure, democracy and Canadian citizens against foreign interference” at the domestic level — protecting Canadian critical minerals supply chains, intellectual property and research and strengthening Canada’s cybersecurity systems.

Following the announcement, Champagne ordered three Chinese firms to divest from Canadian critical mineral companies on Nov. 2.

The government stated that disclosing national security decisions is “part of overall efforts to modernize and improve the administration of Canada’s investment review regime.”

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