Air Canada receives final court approval to increase permitted foreign ownership levels

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Air Canada has announced that the Quebec Superior Court has issued a final order approving the previously announced plan of arrangement under the Canada Business Corporations Act; this effects amendments to Air Canada’s articles of incorporation to align the permitted level of non-Canadian ownership and control of its voting shares within its articles with those prescribed by the new definition of “Canadian” under the Canada Transportation Act (CTA), as amended in June 2018.

Prior to the CTA amendments, no more than 25 per cent of the voting interests of a Canadian air carrier could be owned or controlled by non-Canadians. The Government of Canada’s stated purpose in implementing the CTA amendments is to attract more foreign investment and encourage growth in the aviation sector by increasing, from 25 per cent to 49 per cent, the permitted level of foreign ownership of Canadian air carriers.

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At the same time, the CTA amendments introduced two new limitations on voting ownership and control, by capping the voting rights of single non-Canadians and of the aggregate of non-Canadian air carriers at 25 per cent.

Air Canada expects that its amended articles will be filed and become effective on or about May 8, 2019.

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