Investment Opportunities in Canada

Overview by

Protection of Foreign Investment

Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By Canada
On 1 June 2007, Canada had signed bilateral agreements with more than 25 countries. See the list of the countries.
To see the conventions, click here.
Canada is a signatory to agreements and arrangements with more than 70 bilateral partners in the aviation sector.


It has concluded FTAs with the United States and Mexico (NAFTA), as well as with Chile, Israel, Costa Rica in July 2007 and Panama in August 2009 (elimination of tariffs in sectors of industry, agriculture, forestry and fishing).

Canada, Peru and the countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) signed a free trade agreement on 26 January 2008 at Davos, in Switzerland.

International Controversies Registered By UNCTAD
A controversy with the United States about lumber has been registered.
Organizations Offering Their Assistance in Case of Disagreement
ICCWBO , International Chamber of Commerce in Rio
ICSID , International Center for settlement of Investment Disputes
Member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency

Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  Canada OECD United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 8.0 6.0 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 9.0 5.2 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 8.0 6.8 9.0 5.0
Index of Investor Protection**** 8.3 6.0 8.3 5.0

Source: Doing Business

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action. **** The Greater the Index, the Higher the Level of Investor Protection.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Yes, on condition that the company follows the directives required by the Canadian government.


Foreign investment is subject to the Investment Canada Act.

Acquisition of Holdings
Possible on condition of observing the in-depth procedure of examination of the project.
Obligation to Declare
The foreign investment promotion bureau in the country gives information about the necessary authorizations for setting up a company. Canada is in the first rank of OECD countries as regards the low number of procedures (2) and the shortest time limit (3 days) imposed for setting up an industrial or commercial company. A foreign company can set up in Canada by creating a distinct legal entity or a subsidiary under Canadian federal law or a provincial law governing companies. A subsidiary is treated in the same way as a branch office. It must have a commercial permit or be registered with the province where it does business.
Competent Organization For the Declaration
Investment Canada
Citizenship and immigration Canada - Guide 4000
Requests For Specific Authorizations
There are particular restrictions in the communications and transport sectors. All requests must be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
For further information, see investment laws in Canada.
Find Investment Service Providers in Canada on

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Office Real Estate and Land Ownership

Possible Temporary Solutions
There are several solutions: domiciliation of the company at the private address of the owner, in a business center, at the office of a Chamber of Commerce, at the office of a Local Development Center, or company "nurseries" or renting professional premises.
The Possibility of Buying Land and Industrial and Commercial Buildings
It is possible to buy freehold or leasehold, to build industrial and commercial premises or to buy through a real estate company.
Risk of Expropriation
Canada wanted to make a clear distinction between expropriation with compensation and a measure taken in the normal exercise of government power, which would not involve any compensation (zoning regulations, environmental standards, etc.). There are a few cases of legal precedents.

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Investment Aid

Forms of Aid
The Canadian government offers several programs of fiscal incentives:
- Canadian Manufacturing and Processing Profits - Reduced Rate of Corporate Tax
- Investment Tax Credit
- Flow-Through Share Programfd
- Canadian-Controlled Private Corporation
- Federal Corporate Tax Rate Reductions.


The provincial governments also offer fiscal incentives; consult the websites of the 10 provinces or 3 territories: Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, North West Territories, Yukon, Nunavut.

Invest in Canada also provides useful information.

Privileged Domains
The privileged sectors are those of processing, life sciences, advanced technologies, agri-food, plastics, and any sector with a strong potential for creating employment.


For further information, click on the following links: Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED); Mining-specific tax incentives ; Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit (PSTC) Program.

Privileged Geographical Zones
At the level of both federal and provincial governments, investment is encouraged especially in zones affected by large-scale unmployment or when economic development is slow.
Organizations Which Finance
The Business Development Bank of Canada offers programs of subsidies and start up assistance.

Canadian Chartered Banks can grant loans for purchasing equipment. Provincial investment centers, Local Development Centers in each province and territory can offer programs of subsidies and professional start up assistance.

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Investment Opportunities

The Key Sectors of the National Economy
Hydro-electricity, mines, agri-food, agriculture, aerospace, advanced technologies, etc.
High Potential Sectors
Biotechnologies, telecommunications, information and communication technologies, environment, etc.
Privatization Programs
At the present time, the health sector is talking of privatizing healthcare. The road infrastructure sector is carrying out some PPP works - "Partnership, Private, Public".
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Merx, Canadian Public Tenders
Tenders Info, Tenders in Canada
PODS Providers, Procurement Opportunities in Canada
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide

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Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer

Monopolistic Sectors
Several sectors are provincial or federal monopolies in Canada, among others: health, alcohol imports, energy, road and education systems.
Sectors in Decline
All manufacturing sectors, particularly the clothing industry and furniture making.

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