Bill 33: Invest Alberta Corporation to Attract Foreign Investment to Province

This blog was initially published on July 15, 2020. Authors: Leigh Peters, Kevin Mehi

On July 7, 2020, the Honourable Tanya Fir, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism, introduced Bill 33 (known as the Alberta Investment Attraction Act) to the Alberta Legislative Assembly, which proposes to create a government-owned corporation known as the “Invest Alberta Corporation.”

Purpose of Bill

In introducing the proposed bill, the minister offered the following purpose for the proposed bill and Invest Alberta Corporation:

“This bill will enable the creation of an investment attraction corporation that will attract job-creating private-sector investment from across Canada and around the world. The new corporation will pursue high-value and high-impact investment opportunities that will bring numerous economic benefits to Alberta. We know investment is one of the primary drivers of economic growth and job creation. New investments into the province will support the conditions for growth by creating jobs, increasing economic development, and expanding the competitiveness of our province’s leading industries and subsectors.”

Activities and Mandate

The proposed bill contains minimal details on the proposed activities of Invest Alberta Corporation; however, it does provide the following mandate for the corporation:

  • to promote investment in Alberta, with a focus on high-value or high-impact investment;
  • to identify and pursue investment in Alberta, with a focus on high-value or high-impact investment;
  • to deliver and facilitate seamless and responsive investment attraction services that are targeted and customized for investors and that make the investment decision-making process as informed as possible for those investors; and
  • to support the Government of Alberta in performing trade promotion and advocacy activities.

(The proposed bill provides definitions for “high value investment” – being an investment that is reasonably expected to perform better relative to other investments in the economic sector that the investment relates to – as well as “high-impact investment” – being an investment that is reasonably expected to support significant job creation or economic growth relative to other investments in the economic sector or region of the province that the investment relates to.)

While Bill 33 does not identify what sectors will be targeted for investments – the introduction of the proposed bill included comments that Invest Alberta Corporation will focus on attracting investments in the energy, agriculture, tourism, technology services, financial services, and aerospace and aviation sectors.

Budget and Reporting

The Government of Alberta has indicated that Invest Alberta Corporation will have a budget of $18 million over three years ($6 million per year) for achieving its mandate.

The minister stated that Alberta already has existing international offices, which will begin reporting to the Corporation to “allow for a more strategic and co-ordinated approach as we focus on investment attraction.”

Section 11 of the proposed bill requires Invest Alberta Corporation itself to submit an annual report to the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism “regarding the activities and operations” of the corporation. As drafted, the proposed bill would not require Invest Alberta Corporation to provide financial statements regarding these activities and operations.

Status of Bill

As of July 30, 2020, the status of Bill 33 is as follows:

  • The bill passed first reading on July 7, 2020, without any amendments.
  • The bill passed second reading on July 16, 2020, without any amendments.
  • The bill passed the Committee of the Whole on July 23, 2020, with certain amendments that increase the size of Invest Alberta Corporation’s board of directors from seven to eleven persons, and remove the corporation’s ability to make loans or loan guarantees. The mandate of the corporation and other provisions of the bill remain the same.
  • The bill, as amended, passed third reading on July 27, 2020.
  • The bill, as amended, received royal assent on July 29, 2020. The bill will come into force on proclamation; our firm will continue to provide updates on the proclamation of the bill, the appointment of the board of directors of Invest Alberta Corporation, the appointment of its CEO, and other key events.

MLT Aikins will continue to monitor the developments as they relate to Bill 33 and provide additional updates as they are announced.