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The ability to sue governments for lost profits both current and future earnings was introduced with the North American Free Trade Agreement.

NAFTAs Chapter 11 expands and protects the rights of foreign and domestic corporations, giving them the power to sue governments for passing laws or making other decisions that affect present or future business activities and profits. The disputes are settled in private, by a secretive tribunal process.

Corporations using these provisions have launched several multi-million dollar suits against the Canadian government. The growing number of costly investor-state disputes under this chapter of NAFTA show how this agreement threatens the authority of governments to pass laws and provide public services.

Many fear NAFTAs investor state provisions help cement dangerous experiments such as Albertas Bill 11, making it virtually impossible to return services to the public sector once they have slipped into corporate hands.

From water to environmental controls to public postal services, corporations are seizing on Chapter 11 as an opportunity to chip away at Canadian protections. A similar provision is proposed for the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), expanding the corrosive influence of NAFTA across new borders.

Corporations vs Canada: NAFTA Chapter 11 claims

CompanyReasonAmount ClaimedJudgement
Ethyl Corp.Ban on import of MMT additiveUS$250 millionCanada settles out of court, paying $19 million in damages
S.D. Myers Inc.Ban of exports of PCBs$40-50 millionCanada guilty fine to be determined. Canadian government appeals decision
Sun Belt Water Inc.BCs ban on exports of bulk water to US$14 millionPending
United Parcel ServicesCanada Post-subsidized parcel delivery unfair competition$230 millionPending