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Enhanced foreign investment scrutiny and a busy year for the Competition Bureau

Author(s): Shuli Rodal, Michelle Lally, Kaeleigh Kuzma

Dec 8, 2020

The Canadian government’s approach to reviews of foreign investment and competition matters is in large part unchanged as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While the federal government issued a policy statement regarding increased scrutiny of certain foreign investments and temporarily extended the timelines for discretionary national security reviews, these changes are relatively restrained as compared to actions taken elsewhere. Similarly, the Competition Bureau (the Bureau) continues to emphasize active enforcement of the Competition Act notwithstanding COVID-19, issuing updated guidance in a number of areas, including mergers and competitor collaborations, as well as demonstrating an ongoing focus on enforcement in the digital economy.

Investment Canada Act and foreign investment in light of COVID‑19 

While the Canadian government took steps in 2020 to adjust its approach to foreign investment in Canada in light of COVID-19, such steps have been relatively restrained. In marked contrast to Australia where monetary screening thresholds for foreign investment were dramatically dropped to zero and review timeframes were extended, the Canadian government did not lower applicable thresholds for mandatory review or expand the scope of investments subject to mandatory review...