Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I would like to advise that I will be splitting my time with the very hon. member for Brampton North.
I am pleased to rise today to speak to the bold moves taken by the government to address economic and national security threats to Canada through Bill C-34, an act to amend the Investment Canada Act. I would also like to highlight the great collaborative work done during the committee's study to make the bill even stronger.
Bill C-34 sets out a series of amendments to improve the national security review process of foreign investments and modernize the Investment Canada Act. Collectively, these amendments are the most significant legislative update of the act since 2009. These amendments also represent one of the multiple steps the government has taken to ensure we can defend our economic interests, contribute to the resiliency of the global supply chain and protect our national security. This, in turn, helps us to attract stronger partnerships with our allies and to foster economic growth, a strong foreign investment regime and good beneficial investments in Canada, ones that will create high-quality jobs and opportunities for Canadians.
Defending our economic interests and protecting our national security are issues of critical importance, especially since our current climate of rapidly shifting geopolitical threats. This issue is a non-partisan one. During the six sitting days that Bill C-34 was debated, the House repeatedly stressed the need to modernize the Investment Canada Act to achieve those objectives. The House ultimately decided in a unanimous vote to refer the bill to study because we all recognized how important it was to get these amendments right so we could protect national security while ensuring we are not chilling useful and good investments.
We recognize that Bill C-34 has undergone a rigorous, robust study that spanned 11 meetings. During those meetings, the committee heard from a variety of legal and subject matter experts who testified about the benefits of foreign direct investment on Canadian business, the importance of protecting Canada's hard-earned intellectual property and the need to ensure our regime is capable of tackling the emerging national security challenges that Canada and our security partners are facing. We have engaged meaningfully with opposition members to discuss their perspectives and concerns and have worked collaboratively to bring new amendments that further strengthen the bill. We worked together to ensure that Canada's foreign investment regime continues to be the gold standard. The bill would not only provide us with better tools to protect our national security, but also help bring Canada into greater alignment with our international partners and allies.
The industry committee heard from witnesses about how important it is for Canada to have a regime comparable to its allies. Having a comparable regime would help to address common threats and maximize our collective effectiveness. One example of how we have aligned our regime closely with our allies through Bill C-34 is the new requirement for prior notification of certain investments. The United States, the United Kingdom and Australia all have introduced something similar within the past two years, either through recent amendments or stand-alone regimes.
The United States amended its foreign direct investment laws and added new types of transactions for government review. For the first time ever, it mandated notifications in transactions involving critical technologies, certain critical infrastructure or the sensitive personal data of American citizens. These regulations came into effect in February 2020.
Australia updated its law on foreign direct investment in January 2021. It introduced authorities to protect national security, including powers for the Australian government to require mandatory notification for transactions involving a national security business before the transactions are implemented.
The United Kingdom introduced a new regime for national security and investments in 2021. The U.K. legislation created a mandatory obligation to secure clearance for transactions that would acquire control of a business in 17 sensitive sectors before the transaction is completed.
The new pre-implementation filing requirement for Bill C-34 would allow Canada to have even better and earlier oversight over investments in certain sensitive sectors, especially when they give investors material access to assets and non-public technical information upon closing, such as cutting-edge intellectual property and trade secrets.
This amendment would enable the government to prevent irreparable harm through the loss of these intangible assets. Investors would now be required to file notification in time periods set out by regulation.
I want to emphasize that this amendment is a targeted approach limited to only certain business sectors. Across the board, a pre-implementation filing requirement would have an unnecessarily burdensome impact on businesses and investors without improvements to national security protection. Our targeted approach would provide greater certainty and transparency to businesses and investors.
Another example of Bill C-34 better aligning Canada's regime with those of its allies is its introducing the authority for the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, after consultation with the Minister of Public Safety, to impose interim conditions on an investment. This would reduce the risk of national security injury taking place during the course of the review itself, such as through the possible transfer of assets, intellectual property or trade secrets before the review is complete. This amendment is similar to the U.K.'s new power that allows its government to impose interim orders while the review is being conducted, preventing foreign investors from obtaining confidential information or accessing sensitive assets or sites until after the review is complete.
Finally, Bill C-34 introduces the authority for more direct information sharing by the minister with international counterparts for national security reviews to help common security interests. Previously, the minister had a limited capability to share case-specific information with their international allies. We know that Canada and our allies share similar national and economic security concerns. Our allies are concerned with threat actors operating in multiple jurisdictions to secure a monopoly in critical assets and technology. It is becoming increasingly more important to share information with allies to support national security assessments to prevent these threats from happening. This new information-sharing authority strengthens co-operation between Canada and other like-minded countries to defend against investors that may be active in several jurisdictions seeking the same technology. That said, Canada would not be obligated to share such information where there are confidentiality or other concerns.
I thank esteemed colleagues for their attention today. I can assure members that our approach is pragmatic, principled and provides a solid framework.