On November 27, 2023, the Federal Government passed a Notice of Ways and Means Motion to introduce a bill entitled An Act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 21, 2023 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 28, 2023, which was tabled on November 30, 2023 as Bill C-59 (the “Bill”). The Bill proposes amendments that implement some of the goals discussed in the 2023 Fall Economic Statement , including significant and far-reaching amendments to Canada’s Competition Act (the “Act”).

Continue Reading Canada Proposes a Significant Expansion of Private Competition Litigation:  the Breakdown and Takeaways

Merger review under the Competition Act (the “Act”) is undergoing significant change. As discussed in our previous blog post, the Federal Government has proposed significant amendments to the Act. These amendments, which are included in Bill C-56 and Bill C-59 (together, the “Bills”) and touch on virtually all facets of competition policy in Canada, represent “generational changes” that, according to the Government’s 2023 Fall Economic Statement, are intended to “help bring Canada into alignment with international best practices to ensure that our marketplaces promote fairness, affordability, and innovation”.

Continue Reading Proposed amendments to the merger review process in Canada: Implications for businesses

Federal Government Releases Proposed Bill relating to Fall Economic Statement – including Significant Competition Act Amendments

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Revised text of Bill C-56 Released

On November 27, 2023, the Federal Government passed a Notice of Ways and Means Motion to introduce a bill entitled An Act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 21, 2023 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 28, 2023, which was tabled on November 30, 2023 as Bill C-59 (the “Bill”). The Bill proposes amendments that implement some of the goals discussed in the 2023 Fall Economic Statement  to strengthen competition in Canada (as discussed in our previous blog post).

Continue Reading Significant Competition Act Amendments on the Horizon

As of October 27, 2023, Quebec has eliminated its unique regulatory system which previous applied to publicity contests[1] which were offered in Quebec. In this regard, Bill 17: An Act to amend various provisions for the main purpose of reducing regulatory and administrative burden repealed the provisions of the Act respecting lotteries, publicity contests and amusement machines (the “Act”), and annulled the Rules respecting publicity contests (the “Rules”).

Continue Reading Changes to Quebec Contest Rules

On November 21, 2023, the Federal Government released its 2023 Fall Economic Statement (the “Statement”). The Statement lays out the Federal Government’s multifaceted plan to improve housing in Canada, support the middle class, bolster the economy and create a stable financial sector. Additionally, the Statement outlines the Federal Government’s desire to strengthen competition in Canada through proposed amendments to the Competition Act (the “Act”). More specifically, the Statement discusses changes aimed at combatting alleged dominance abuses by large companies, modernizing merger reviews, protecting consumers from misleading claims and enabling private entities to engage in legal proceedings related to anti-competitive practices. These changes, according to the Statement, “will help bring Canada into alignment with international best practices to ensure that our marketplaces promote fairness, affordability, and innovation.”

Continue Reading Federal Government Releases Fall Economic Statement – with New Competition Act Amendments Previewed

On June 23, 2022, Bill C-19, also known as the Budget Implementation Act, 2022, No.1 (the “BIA”), received royal assent. As discussed in our previous blog post, the BIA includes significant amendments to the Competition Act (the “Act”), including with respect to abuse of dominance, which came into force in June 2022. On October 25, 2023, the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) released a draft bulletin discussing its approach to the June 2022 abuse of dominance amendments (the “Draft Bulletin”). This blog post summarizes this new guidance.

By way of background, abuse of dominance under section 79 of the Act occurs when (i) a dominant firm or a dominant group of firms (ii) engages in a practice of anti-competitive acts, (iii) with the result that competition has been, is, or is likely to be prevented or lessened substantially in a market. Section 78 of the Act sets out a non-exhaustive list of examples of anti-competitive acts. Applications under the abuse of dominance provisions are heard only by the Competition Tribunal (the “Tribunal”). Where all three requirements of section 79 are met, the Tribunal may prohibit the anti-competitive conduct and may also direct the dominant firm to pay an administrative monetary penalty (“AMP”) or to take any action that is reasonable and necessary to overcome the anti-competitive effects of the conduct.

Continue Reading Bureau Publishes New Abuse of Dominance Guidelines

On October 5, 2023, the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) hosted a summit (the “Summit”) on competition law and policy in Canada. Among other things, the Summit included discussions focusing on Canada’s current economic landscape; the main barriers to competition in Canada; Canadians’ diverse perspectives on competition issues in Canada; and building a whole-of-government competition agenda.

This blog posts discusses a number of key themes and takeaways that emerged from the Summit, and which may inform the government’s approach  in the ongoing competition law reform process. Among other things, these themes included: (i) the need to implement an all of government approach regarding competition policy in Canada, (ii) lack of competitive intensity in Canada driven, in part, by regulatory barriers and burdens, and (iii) the need to modernize Canada’s competition laws.

Continue Reading Takeaways from the Competition Bureau’s Competition Law Summit and Report on Competition

On September 28, 2023, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry and Technology (“INDU”) – the committee tasked with studying the legislation and activities of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada – concluded its study of Bill C-34: An Act to amend the Investment Canada Act and reported its proposed amendments to the House of Commons.

Continue Reading Update on proposed amendments to the Investment Canada Act

On September 28th, 2023, the Director of Investments to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (the “Minister”) published the Annual Report on the administration of the Investment Canada Act (the Act) for the 2022/23 fiscal year.

During the fiscal year 2022-2023, the Investment Review Division reviewed 1,010 applications for review and notifications (which is generally in line with the five-year average). Of the 1,010 filings, five applications for review were cleared as being of likely net benefit to Canada (down from the eight applications for review approved in the fiscal year 2021-22). Notably, the average length of time to complete a net benefit review was 97 days, which exceeds the average time during the previous five years (of about 74 to 85 days). In this regard, the Annual Report notes that this should not be taken as “signalling a new trend in the timelines for net benefit reviews.”

The vast majority of notifications related to investments from the United States, with notably no investments originating from Russia.

Continue Reading 2022/23 Investment Canada Act Annual Report

The Dufresne Group (the “Group”), which operates Ashley Homestores and Dufresne Furniture and Appliances, must pay a substantial $3.25 million penalty, according to a statement from the Competition Bureau of Canada (the “Bureau”) released September 27, 2023. This settlement marks the resolution of concerns raised by the Bureau regarding the Group’s marketing practices.

The Bureau’s investigation into the Group’s marketing practices revealed a series of concerns related to the accuracy and honesty of their advertising claims. According to the Bureau, customers of Ashley Homestores were led to believe that they were benefiting from substantial discounts, based on assertions made through online platforms and various other advertising mediums within physical stores. Notably, the Bureau found that these apparent discounts were artificially exaggerated based on inflated regular prices, contrary to the ordinary price claims provisions of the Competition Act (the “Act”).

Continue Reading The Dufresne Group Hit with $3.25 Million Penalty Amidst Competition Bureau’s Concerns Over Marketing Claims