Some implications of the Canadian tax law on foreign investments in Canada : a German perspective


University of British Columbia

Date Issued


Document Type



Master of Laws - LLM




Canada is one of the countries depending on foreign investment to a fairly high extent. After some time of concern about foreign investment¹ the Foreign Investment Review Act (FIRA) was implemented.² With the federal election in 1984 the Canadian government took the stand in favour of foreign investment again and changed FIRA to a more positive "Investment Canada". Anyway, the control of foreign investment should be seen only as part of a larger economic policy, which determines the economic criteria for investment decisions. One of these criteria is the Canadian tax law. And as one example, prior to 1980, all private corporations were entitled to the refundable tax in respect of their investment income. A first limitation was introduced in October of 1973, whereby corporations other than Canadian-controlled-private corporations were denied any refundable tax in respect of income from real property for taxation years commenced after 1979. Finally, as a result of the November 12, 1981 budget, for taxation years commenced after that date, investment income no longer "earns" refundable tax unless the corporation was a Canadian-controlled-private corporation throughout the relevant taxation year. The Canadian taxation of residents and non-residents in Canada, including the taxation of Canadian and non-Canadian-controlled companies and branches of foreign companies, is unequal and discriminating. This thesis will give some ideas about the Canadian taxation of foreign investment in Canada, referring sometimes to the Canadian-German Double Tax Convention as well as the O.E.C.D. Model Double Tax Convention. Since tax planning is a part of general economic investment decisions, the taxation of foreign investments will be evaluated in relation to other investment criteria for investments in Canada. As it will become obvious, there are reasons in favour of the Canadian tax policy on one hand and reasons against it on the other hand. As a conclusion, I am of the opinion that it is worthwhile to consider changes in the taxation of foreign investment.


Investments, Foreign -- Taxation -- Canada

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Law, Peter A. Allard School of