Investing in British Columbia

Businesses in British Columbia, Canada enjoy freedom from significant government involvement. Restrictions on investors, including those on the repatriation of capital, are limited. British Columbia has also significantly reduced the regulatory burden on foreign investment.

Establish a new business

Foreign investors starting a new business, regardless of size, must file a short notice with the British Columbia Registrar of Companies. This must happen within 30 days of beginning business operations. The notice is for information purposes only, except in the case of a culturally-sensitive sector (such as publishing) in which the investment may be subject to a full review up to 21 days after the filing of a notice.

 

Direct acquisition of an established business

Generally, the direct acquisition of an established business does not require government review. Transactions are subject to pre-merger review under the Investment Canada Act if the business being acquired has assets in excess of certain thresholds.

 

Indirect acquisition of an established business

The indirect acquisition of a company doing business in British Columbia – perhaps through the acquisition of a parent company – is subject to review:
  • if the assets of the Canadian business affected are worth $50 million or more and if:
  • the Canadian business represents 50 per cent or more of the acquired company’s assets
Exceptions apply to acquisitions in designated sensitive sectors, where the review threshold remains at $5 million. The act provides complete information on thresholds and exemptions.

 

Other ways to invest and do business in British Columbia

Subject to compliance with the general restrictions and the limitations on investments, a non-Canadian may acquire and own both commercial and residential real estate in British Columbia. Non-Canadians may also provide funding for or partner with a Canadian business.

 

Restrictions on specific investment businesses

Certain business sectors are subject to federal rules that restrict foreign investment. There are policies, for example, that restrict ownership of businesses engaged in the publication, distribution or sale of books, magazines or periodicals, as well as the production, distribution, sale or exhibition of film or video. There are also federal restrictions on investments in broadcasting, telecommunications and certain types of financial services. Typically, regulations prohibit investments above a certain level.

 

Investment Review Process in British Columbia

A secure, confidential process governs the review of business investments under federal rules. An application for review follows specific steps:
  • The initial application must include a description of the plans for the business, including a description of how the investment will benefit Canada
  • The review process will complete within 45 days, but regulators may request an additional 30 days to complete the review
  • If an application is rejected, additional information may be submitted within 30 days of the rejection
If you are looking for investment opportunities in British Columbia, explore the opportunities area.