Canadian Mining Inc: Why Canada is the haven of choice for the mining industry

Canadian mining companies do not have a great reputation. 9780889226357Just today the dam holding toxic tailings from an abandoned copper mine broke spilling heavy metal pollutants into local waterways. For the foreseeable future the residents of South Brook, Newfoundland will be on bottled water.

It is not just abandoned or ongoing bitumen, gold or diamond mining in the northern regions of this continent that raise concerns, but also the global effects that these firms exert in places like Guatemala, where indigenous groups have come to Canada to launch legal proceedings against mining companies. But why is Canada a preferred place to locate mining firms that exploit the global south? At least part of it is answered in a new book that explains, first, why so many multinational mining companies headquarter here and, second, how Canadian tax law and its regulatory regime welcomes them without so much as a blink.

Here is the information from the publisher’s website:

Imperial Canada Inc.: Legal haven of choice for the World’s Mining Industries

By Alain Deneault & William Sacher
Translated by Fred A. Reed & Robin Philpot

Co-contributors: Catherine Browne, Mathieu Denis, Patrick Ducharme

Imperial Canada Inc. sets out to ask a simple question: why is Canada home to more than 70% of the world’s mining companies?

Created by the British North America Act of 1867, Canada, rather than turning away from its colonial past, actively embraced, appropriated, and perpetuated the imperial ambitions of its mother country. Two years later, it took possession of Rupert’s Land—all of the land draining into Hudson Bay—and the North West Territories from the Hudson’s Bay Company, 3 million square miles of resources, and set about its nation-building enterprise of extending its Dominion “from sea to sea.”

This Canadian imperial heritage continues to offer the extractive sector worldwide a customized trading environment that: supports speculation, enables capital flows to finance questionable projects abroad, pursues a pro-active diplomacy which successfully promotes this sector to international institutions, opens fiscal pipelines to Caribbean tax havens, provides government subsidies, and most especially, offers a politicized legal haven from any risk of litigious recourse attempted by any community seriously affected by these industries.

Traditionally rooted in Canadian law, the right to reputation effectively supersedes freedom of expression and the public’s right to information. Hence, Canadian “bodies corporate,” i.e., Canadian-based corporations, can sue for “libel” any and all persons or legal entities that quote documents or generate analyses of their corporate practices that they do not approve of. Even foreign academics have become hesitant about presenting their work in Canada for fear of such prosecution.
The authors of Imperial Canada Inc., respected scholars in their fields, meticulously research four factors that contribute to the answer to this question: Quebec’s and Ontario’s mining codes; the history of the Toronto Stock Exchange; Canada’s involvement with Caribbean tax havens; and, finally, Canada’s official role of promoting itself to international institutions governing the world’s mining sector.


  1. […] night I posted about the new book on Canadian mining companies. I hadn’t realized the earlier controversy – 2 years ago – about the […]

  2. […] note: I’ve now finished up reading Imperial Canada Inc. (which I mentioned here before). I highly recommend it if this is a topic of interest. It has its drawbacks, but everything […]

  3. […] second item is more Canada specific. I’ve identified previously the increasing literature that identifies Canada’s unique place in the global mining context. This latest piece is on whether Canada is out of step with the push for more transparency around […]

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