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NAFTA - Chapter 11 - Investment

Cases Filed Against the Government of Canada

Sun Belt Water, Inc. v. Government of Canada


Sun Belt Water, Inc. is a United States corporation. In 1990 it formed a joint venture partnership with a Canadian corporation to develop opportunities in the bulk water industry.


  • 1102 (National Treatment)
  • 1103 (Most-Favoured Nation Treatment)
  • 1104 (Standard of Treatment)
  • 1105 (Minimum Standard of Treatment)

Damages claimed

$50 million CAD.


Procedural history

Sun Belt Water, Inc. filed a Notice of Intent to Submit a Claim to Arbitration on November 27, 1998, but did not submit a Notice of Arbitration.

Factual overview and nature of the claim

Sun Belt alleged that its Canadian partner at the time held one of six export licenses for bulk water, and alleged that British Columbia had a policy of encouraging bulk water exports at the time.  Sun Belt also alleged that British Columbia had previously (in 1986 and again in 1989) made secret agreements with another company, Western Canada Water Enterprises Ltd., giving that company special and preferential access to water for export.

In order to supply Sun Belt Water, Inc. with the additional water the joint venture required to satisfy potential American customers, the Claimant’s Canadian partner applied for an expansion of its water export license.  The Claimant alleged that British Columbia delayed processing that application "month after month".  In the meantime, on March 14, 1991, Sun Belt won "an international tender process" to supply water to the Goleta Water District in California.

Sun Belt Water, Inc. alleged that shortly after winning the tender, British Columbia placed a moratorium on new or expanded export licenses, covering its Canadian partner’s application, but grandfathering an application of Western Canada Water Enterprises Ltd.

Sun Belt Water, Inc. and its Canadian partner commenced legal action in Canadian courts for damages against British Columbia on January 20, 1993.  In 1996, British Columbia reached a settlement with the Claimant’s Canadian partner, while Sun Belt Water, Inc. continued with the lawsuit.



Legal Documents (all documents are in pdf)

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