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Federally incorporated enterprise (Canada)

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In Canada, a federally incorporated enterprise (FIE; French: Entreprise du incorporation fédérale, EIF) is a type of state-owned enterprise which is wholly owned by the Federal Government but developed and managed on its behalf by a non-partisan Corporate Panel. The FIEs of Canada are not concerned primarily with the creation of profit, but rather, with the provision of specific services to both citizens and domestic corporations. Typically, FIEs are heavily subsidized by the Federal Government to provide low costs in the service in question, and although they are owned by the Federal Government, the Corporate Panel along with the Corporate Chairperson serve to direct the expansion and growth of these enterprises. FIEs are aimed at two interconnected primary goals: the creation of a self-sustaining revenue streams by the provision of services at the lowest possible cost.


One of the first acts of Parliament after the promulgation of the Constitution of Canada in 1841 was the Canadian Postal Act, 1841, which sought to create "a general postal company for the benefit of Canadians... to unite the peoples of Canada with efficient, negligibly priced, and speedy correspondence." The result was the creation of the Federal Postal Company, which was wholly owned by the Federal Government although managed independently. This system of Federal investment and ownership of companies was especially common under the leadership of the Patriot Party, which sought to drastically improve the Canadian economy by large-scale financing of industries considered key to national economic independence. Three years after the Federal Postal Company was established, the Patriot Party led the creation of the Federal Canadian Bank in 1844, seeking to standardize monetary printing and serve as a principal source of capital for further Federal investment.

The number of FIEs acquired and created by the Federal Government would continue to grow over the course of the next century, albeit at a slow pace. General Canadian Armaments would be acquired as an FIE in 1863, the first example of the Federal Government buying out a previously private company in the interest of domestic economic independence. The precedent of buying previously private organizations gave way to the acquisition of several critical industries in an effort to keep prices low, including the Canadian-Pacific Rail Company in 1882, Halifax Dockyards Company in 1918, Trans-Canadian Pipelines Systems in 1971, and Atlantic Atomic in 1980. Although controversial, such buyouts were seen as necessary to keep service costs low in these critical industries for both public and private consumers.'

In recent times, especially in the later years of the Collier-Stringer administration (2003 to 2011), there was a significant push for privatization of several FIEs which Liberal-Conservative leaders considered to no longer necessary under direct state control. However, these attempts at privatization proved incredibly unpopular, especially with the unionized employees of the FIEs, leading to the Canadian General Strike of 2008. The strike, combined with the adverse effects of the Great Recession, caused the Collier-Stringer administration to back down from its attempts, and ultimately proved to be one of the major reasons why the Liberal-Conservatives lost their minority government in the 2011 elections.


Name Logo Headquarters Industry Foundation FIE acquired
FederAir File:FederAir logo.svg Toronto, Ontario Passenger and cargo air transport 1937 (as Trans-Canadian Airlines) Founded as
Federal Business Development Bank File:FBDB logo.svg Montréal, Quebec
  • Financial services and consulting
  • Small and middle-sized venture loans
1944 (as is) Founded as
Federal Canadian Audiovisual File:FCA logo.svg Ottawa, Manitana 1936 (as Radio Canada) Founded as
Federal Canadian Bank File:Federal Canadian Bank logo.svg Ottawa, Manitana
  • National central bank
  • Federal Government financial services
  • Institutional loans
1844 (as is) Founded as
Federal Canadian Arts and Museums File:FCAM logo.svg Ottawa, Manitana
  • National museum management
  • Domestic arts patronage and sponsorship
1860 (as Canadian Galleries Company) Founded as
Federal Canadian Post and Parcel File:FCPP logo.svg Ottawa, Manitana Postal and parcel courier service 1841 (as Federal Postal Company) Founded as
Federal Canadian Railways File:FCR logo.svg Vancouver, Columbia
  • Passenger and freight rail transport
  • Railway infrastructure development and maintenance
1866 (as Canadian Railway Company) 1882
Federal Canadian Shipyards File:Federal Canadian Shipyards logo.svg Halifax, Migmaqui Naval and commercial shipbuilding 1849 (as Halifax Dockyard and Shipbuilding Company) 1918
GCDS-CAE File:GCDSCAE logo.svg Cataraqui, Manitana
  • Ballistics, firearms, and ammunition design and manufacturing
  • Warplane and helicopter design and manufacturing
1842 (as General Armaments of Canada) 1863
Sea-to-Sea Atomic File:Sea-to-Sea Atomic logo.svg Fredericton, Migmaqui Nuclear research and electric generation 1954 (as Atlantic Atomic) 1980
TC Federal File:TC Federal logo.svg Calgary, Alberta Natural gas and oil pipelines development and maintenance 1951 (as Trans-Canadian Pipeline Systems) 1971