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November 18, 2022

Canada to place port investments under national security lens

Bill C-33 is said to propose targeted legislative changes to implement the new approach and review port investment.

The Government of Canada has announced a new policy statement to support private investment in its national ports, which will apply various factors such as the national security scanner.

Expected to help investors act with confidence and provide additional due diligence, the new approach will offer more clarity and predictability to the port market.

Bill C-33 is said to propose targeted legislative changes to implement the new approach and review port investment.

Various steps will be taken to modernise the review of investments and adapt its public interest test to the new international and domestic market.

It will change the financial thresholds to extend the number of transactions, which are eligible for evaluation and subject to international trade agreements.

The transport minister can use the new tools to intervene in the dangerous conditions that could harm Canada’s critical port assets and long-term economic performance.

To promote Canada’s trade objectives, protect critical infrastructure and bolster market-oriented investor behaviour and competition, investment reviews will cover the application of a national security lens and existing factors such as economic impacts and implications for users.

For better reflection of inter-port competitive forces, an assessment of competition on a regional gateway level will be conducted under public interest factors that inform investment reviews.

Set annually by the Competition Bureau, the threshold presently stood at $93m. Transport Canada aims to lower the value of transportation undertakings at Canada Port Authorities to $10m.

Transport Canada is ‘proposing a new legislative authority enabling the Minister of Transport to issue a Ministerial Order under the Canada Marine Act, to enable the Minister to take swift, decisive action in response to significant and immediate threats to the safety and security of Canada’s ports system, and the reliability of our supply chains’.

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