Bilcon NAFTA Challenge

A June 2014 article, Where is Canada’s national debate over trade dispute panels? by David Schneiderman, a professor of law at the University of Toronto highlights the problems with trade dispute panels using the example of the Bilcon company challenge:

"A recent decision of a NAFTA tribunal should give Canada and the other states reason to pause negotiations. In March, the Bilcon company of Delaware succeeded in its claim against Canada for having followed the advice of an independent environmental review panel. Under review was a proposal by Bilcon to build a rock quarry, together with a processing and ship loading facility, on the shores of Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy for export to New Jersey."

Dr. Schneiderman's conclusion is that Canada is asleep at the helm on investor state treaties and in particular the power of the trade dispute panels, commenting,

"Remarkably, the investment tribunal found that under the terms of NAFTA, it was competent to review the environmental panel’s decision – as if the tribunal itself were a Canadian court."

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