CETA Trading Away Democracy

19 September 2016

On September 26, 2014, Canada and the European Union (EU) announced the conclusion of a far-reaching economic integration agreement, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The agreement included an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism, later tweaked and re-branded as ICS (Investment Court System) in February 2016, which could unleash a corporate litigation boom against Canada, the EU and individual EU member states, and could dangerously thwart government efforts to protect citizens and the environment.


ICS, an ISDS mechanism, gives foreign corporations the ability to directly sue countries at international tribunals for compensation over health, environmental, financial and other domestic safeguards that they believe undermine their rights. Globally, investors have challenged laws that protect public health such as anti-smoking laws, bans on toxics and mining, requirements for environmental impact assessments, and regulations relating to hazardous waste, tax measures and fiscal policies.