Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Regarding the foreign direct investment (FDI) situation in Canada, most of the attention has historically been centred on incoming rather than outgoing controlling capital. Yet, the activities of Canada-based multinational enterprises (MNEs) have fostered an impressive outflow of direct investment abroad to foreign localities.;To appreciate the importance of Canada's MNEs, it is compulsory to understand the spatial and functional characteristics of Canadian parent companies and their foreign direct investments. To realize this goal, a sizeable sample of over 20,000 examples of Canadian FDI (at various points in time) has been retrieved and subsequently agglomerated into a data set. From there, with the use of a regression analysis (and with considerable reliance on the resulting outliers), an effort was made to decipher some determinants of Canadian MNE behaviour.;Not only was it found that the largest MNEs in Canada are heavily biased towards foreign markets, but that the relative importance of their economic activities abroad (as measured in employment and sales estimates) typically outweighs direct investment inflows into Canada in contemporary times. Spatially, the favourite target of Canadian outward FDI is clearly the United States and then the United Kingdom, but significant agglomerations of Canadian controlling capital can be found in many parts of the world (particularly in Western Europe, the Caribbean region, Australia, Brazil and in various Asian destinations). In general, manufacturing, financial and mining activities constitute the most important functions of Canadian multinationals abroad. This pattern of functional emphasis, however, does vary considerably with each specific location.;It was also found, through statistical substantiation, that Canadian direct investment is most attracted to: large foreign markets, countries that are well-established trading partners with Canada, and to locations with favourable labour and social well-being conditions. Evidence was also established that countries with strong historical ties with Canada and with positive political attitudes towards FDI are likely to receive a disproportionate amount of Canadian FDI as well. Finally, the force of distance (particularly when making U.S.-bound investment decisions) is still apparent.



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