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Foreign ownership of companies of Canada


Foreign ownership of companies of Canada

Foreign ownership of companies of Canada has long been a controversial political issue in Canada. Concerns regarding foreign ownership generally regard ownership of previously 'Canadian' assets by individuals or companies based in Note that the exact definition of "foreign-owned" is debated, and that this article uses the working definition established at foreign ownership. Some estimates state that more than 50% of the petroleum and gas industry and more than 50% of all manufacturing in Canada is foreign-owned and foreign-controlled.

Historically, foreign ownership was a political issue in Canada in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when it was believed by some that U.S. investment had reached new heights (though its levels had actually remained stable for decades), and then in the 1980s, during debates over the Free Trade Agreement.

But the situation has changed, since in the interim period Canada itself became a major investor and owner of foreign corporations. Since the 1980s, Canada's levels of investment and ownership in foreign companies have been larger than foreign investment and ownership in Canada. In some smaller countries, such as Montenegro, Canadian investment is sizable enough to make up a major portion of the economy. In Northern Ireland, for example, Canada is the largest foreign investor. By becoming foreign owners themselves, Canadians have become far less politically concerned about investment within Canada.

Of note is that Canada's largest companies by value, and largest employers, tend to be foreign-owned in a way that is more typical of a developing nation than a G8 member. The best example is the automotive sector, one of Canada's most important industries. It is dominated by American, German, and Japanese giants. Although this situation is not unique to Canada in the global context, it is unique among G-8 nations, and many other relatively small nations also have national automotive companies.


  • Partial list of foreign-owned companies of Canada 1
    • Foreign owned companies among Canada's current largest companies 1.1
    • Former major Canadian Companies acquired by foreign owners 1.2
    • Other examples 1.3
  • Ways & means 2
  • Quick facts 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Partial list of foreign-owned companies of Canada

Foreign owned companies among Canada's current largest companies

Former major Canadian Companies acquired by foreign owners

Nexen,is a Canadian oil and gas company based in Calgary, Alberta. On February 25, 2013, Nexen became a wholly owned subsidiary of Beijing-based CNOOC Limited.

Other examples

  • Creo, a world leader in digital printing software acquired by Eastman Kodak
  • Zenon Environmental Inc., a successful and innovative technology company spawned in Hamilton—sold to General Electric Co.
  • Tim Hortons, sold to US Wendy's International in 1995, later to be sold to the public as an IPO in 2005.
  • CN Rail, the historic Canadian railway, now estimated to be 2/3 US owned. Many US shareholders gained shares in CN when they received CN shares in exchange for their original shares in US railways like Illinois Central. Another interesting fact is that when CN planned to merge with US railway BNSF in 1999, it was the American government that stopped the project.
  • Gulf Canada Resources, which had formerly been part of US-based Gulf Oil, but had since become independent, was purchased by US-based Conoco in a deal worth $6.7 billion in 2002.
  • Moore Wallace sold to U.S.-based R.R. Donnelley and Sons for $4.9 billion.
  • Masonite, bought out by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
  • ID Biomedical, Canadian vaccine maker acquired by Drug giant GlaxoSmithKline for $1.8 billion.
  • Vincor International Ltd, Canada's top wine maker and distributor, purchased for $1.4 billion by Constellation Brands Inc. of Fairport, NY, USA
  • Bauer, Cooper, and Hespeler, historic hockey equipment manufacturers bought by Nike in 1994
  • CCM (The Hockey Company), acquired by Reebok in 2004.

Ways & means

The foreign company often needs to incorporate a special-purpose subsidiary in Canada, in order to control its investment. The New Brunswick Business Corporations Act, the Nova Scotia Companies Act, the Quebec Business Corporations Act and the British Columbia Business Corporations Act make no stipulations that resident Canadians be directors.[1] New Brunswick provides that Extra Provincial Corporations need only have an "attorney for service" resident in that province.[2] Unlimited liability corporations can exist in Alberta, British Columbia or Nova Scotia.[1] This form is particularly convenient where the parties are well-established and in no danger of insolvency. Alberta requires the derisory fee of CAD$100 to establish this form.[1] In most other provinces the legislation is significantly more restrictive.

Quick facts

(Source - Statistics Canada)

2003 - Percentage of operating revenues of Canadian industries that were from foreign-controlled companies:

- Manufacturing - 51.8%, - Oil and gas - 49.9%, - Finance and insurance - 23.7%,

2004 - Foreign-controlled profits soared to a record $68 billion in 2004, up 21.7% from the previous year.

2004 - Foreign-controlled corporations accounted for 21.9% of assets held in Canada, and 30.0% of operating revenues yet comprised less than 1% (approx. 8,000) of the total 1.3 million corporations in Canada. Assets of foreign-controlled corporations rose 8.3% to $1.1 trillion in 2004, while those of Canadian-controlled corporations rose 8.9% to $3.9 trillion.

2004 - Foreign-controlled corporations operating revenues in Canada averaged $96 million, compared with less than $2 million for their Canadian-controlled counterparts.

Foreign Controlled Corporations:

Assets in Year 2000 - 833,970 Million

Assets in Year 2004 - 1,090,526 Million

August 2006 (Source - ROBTV)

Foreign purchases in 2006: 34 Canadian companies purchased by foreign interests worth 62 Billion dollars, nearly 4% of Canada's Market value

number of Canada-based fortune 500 companies

2005 - 66

2009 - 52 (one of them from the merger of suncor and petro Canada) most of the other 13 are from foreign takeovers.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Doing business in Canada: A Practical Guide"
  2. ^ Business Corporations Act of New Brunswick

External links

  • The Canadian Encyclopedia
  • CBC News - Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Statistics Canada Nov 23, 2012
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