In general with the negotiation process, as Brian has described, we do develop our own priorities in terms of which treaties we would like to update and whether there are new treaties, as with Taiwan. Typically, the engagement can start in two different ways. It can be at a meeting at the officials level on international issues, where we speak informally with colleagues in the other jurisdictions to gauge their level of interest and also their availability of resources in terms of taking forward negotiations. Sometimes those negotiations commence at a more senior or political level, where there have been discussions or approaches at, for example, bilateral meetings on the sidelines of a G20 or a G7 meeting. The direction would come down to officials that this was seen as a priority and that an approach was made.
Once it's determined that, yes, we will go forward with negotiations, the first stage is to exchange model treaties, or the treaty that we would ideally be looking for. The other jurisdiction does the same with us. We typically would then have some back and forth, at which time there would be a date set for a face-to-face meeting to commence those negotiations. Typically, at the start of one of those face-to-face meetings, we would have an exchange and a general discussion on our respective tax systems so that we ensure that the research we have internally done is correct about the other jurisdiction and vice versa.
Typically, we would proceed through the text of the agreement on an article-by-article basis, leaving open provisions for which agreement could not be obtained on the first go-round. While rare, it is possible to conclude in only one round. It is more typical that there would be a second round, which would take place after some bilateral contact by email, further refining the outstanding issues. There would then be a second face-to-face, at which time negotiations at the negotiators level are concluded. We would domestically move through processes, with a “legal scrub” by Foreign Affairs. That's done on both sides to ensure that the treaties themselves respect legal standards in Canada and the other jurisdiction.
Then we would go through the process of obtaining cabinet approval for signature. There would be a signature. Then we would have, as we have before us today, an implementing bill with respect to the particular treaty, which would allow us to implement it into domestic law and to resolve any conflicts of law that might otherwise occur.