A new voluntary process for resolving international investment disputes will make B.C. more attractive to investors and benefit British Columbians investing abroad, announced Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond.
B.C. is bringing the Settlement of International Investment Disputes Act into force on June 1, 2013. This act, along with Canada's ratification, will bring the benefits of a popular international convention to B.C. The Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of other States establishes an independent, voluntary option for investors who want to use its arbitration process to resolve investment disputes.
Members of the convention are able to settle investment disputes through the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. The centre is a neutral venue that offers qualified arbitrators with international investment expertise. British Columbians investing in other member countries may use the centre as an alternative to using other nation's judicial systems which may not offer the same expertise or neutrality. Participation in this form of dispute resolution is voluntary, and decisions are final and enforceable.
B.C. passed the Settlement of International Investment Disputes Act in 2006 in anticipation of Canada's ratification of the convention. The federal minister of international trade has advised that Canada intends to ratify the convention in 2013 and that it is appropriate for B.C. to enact supporting legislation.
Ratification of the convention brings Canada in line with other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and positions B.C. and other provinces that have supporting legislation as investor-friendly jurisdictions. The convention has been in place since 1966 and has been adopted by over 140 countries, including the United States and the other members of the G8, and 31 out of 34 OECD countries.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General -
"This convention is one of the most well-regarded international legal conventions in practice and is supported by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Bar Association and many of our trading partners."
"By signing onto this convention, we're showing potential investors in B.C. that they have a trustworthy and voluntary way to resolve any investment disputes that may occur here."
Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training -
"British Columbia's participation in this convention enhances our reputation as a competitive and dynamic place to do business. B.C. is known internationally as an investment-friendly jurisdiction and our membership in this convention will make the province an even more attractive place for foreign investors."
John Winter, president and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce -
"As a small, open trading jurisdiction B.C.'s economic prosperity depends on us having a reputation as being open for business. The signing of this convention is another step this government has taken in providing a clear message to investors around the globe that we are a trusted location for them to invest and create jobs in B.C."
Monique Pongracic-Speier, chair of International Law Section, Canadian Bar Association -
"The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes is the world's leading institution for resolving investor-state disputes, and provides an effective forum for their arbitration and settlement. The Canadian Bar Association has long called for ratification of the ICSID Convention in Canada, and we fully support British Columbia's move towards this goal."
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice