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Legal Guide


There are certain business sectors for which the Canadian government has maintained policies that are,
to a greater or lesser extent, restrictive of foreign investment. These policies apply whether or not the investor is from a country that is a member of the WTO. In some cases, the policies are effectively implemented through the review process under the Act. In other cases, the policies take specific statutory form and, as such, operate of their own force and without reference to the Act. For example, there are a number of policies issued by the Department of Canadian Heritage, which has jurisdiction for review of all investments in Canadian businesses that are involved in activities relating to Canada’s national heritage or cultural identity. These policies include limitations on foreign investment in such businesses and outline factors that will be considered during the review process. Specifically, there are policies relating to the publication, distribution or sale of books, magazines or periodicals, as well as the production, distribution, sale or exhibition of film
or video, which must be considered when the Canadian business subject to the investment is involved in
any of these business activities.

The restrictive rules on foreign investment that have been incorporated in federal statutes include those in relation to broadcasting, telecommunications and certain types of financial services. The level of permitted foreign investment through an acquisition in one of these businesses can be even less than the one-third that would be permitted, without approval, by the terms of the Act. There are no procedures for obtaining approval for investments above the statutory limit because the foreign investment rules for these businesses do not involve a review process, but rather an absolute prohibition of foreign investment above a fixed level.

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