The Evolving Competition Law Landscape in Canada – Where Are We Now and What’s Next?

The final (and most significant) legislative bill in Canada’s current competition law reform process – Bill C-59 –  received royal assent on June 20, 2024. 

Recognizing the critical role of the Competition Act (the “Act”) in promoting dynamic and fair markets, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, announced on February 7, 2022 that he would carefully consider ways to modernize and improve its operation. Following this announcement, significant competition law reform has taken place in Canada, including the passage of the following three bills:

Continue Reading BILL C-59 RECEIVES ROYAL ASSENT

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 Further and Significant Proposed Amendments to the Competition Act in the areas of Merger Review, Ordinary Sales Pricing, Drip Pricing and Environmental Claims 

The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming businesses around the world, offering unprecedented opportunities for innovation and economic prosperity. However, it also presents unique challenges for competition authorities tasked with ensuring fair and efficient markets. In response, the competition authorities such as the Canadian Competition Bureau, the UK Competition and Market Authority (CMA), the European Commission – DG Competition (EC) and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have been actively engaging in consultations and research to understand the implications of AI on competition policy. This blog highlights some of these agencies’ efforts to adapt competition policy to evolving digital markets as well as noting some of the key legal antitrust risks for business.

Continue Reading Competition Authorities shining the light on AI

On March 4, 2024, while attending the 2024 Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada’s annual convention, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry[1], François-Philippe Champagne, received a question about Québec-based SRG Mining Inc.’s (“SRG”) proposed plan to redomicile to the United Arab Emirates after agreeing to sell 19.4 percent of the company to China-based Carbon ONE New Energy Group Co., Ltd. (“Carbon One”).

Despite SRG’s belief that redomiciling would obviate the need to obtain the Government of Canada’s approval of the proposed deal, Minister Champagne reacted by stating that Canada would challenge the proposed avoidance of the Government of Canada’s review: “It’s never smart to try to circumvent the rules…[The federal government is prepared to use] every tool at our disposal [to make sure Canadian law is respected].

Shortly after Minister Champagne’s comments, SRG announced that it was no longer proceeding with the Carbon One transaction.

Continue Reading Canada Threatens to Challenge SRG Proposed Redomiciling Plan Removing the Need for Investment Canada Review

On March 22, 2024, Bill C-34 received royal assent, becoming the National Security Review of Investments Modernization Act. First introduced in the House of Commons by the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (the “Minister”) on December 7, 2022, the National Security Review of Investments Modernization Act represents the most significant amendment to the Investment Canada Act (the “ICA”) since the introduction of national security provisions in 2009. Notably, the new legislation:

  • Creates a suspensory pre-closing filing requirement and waiting period for investments in certain (yet-to-be) prescribed sensitive sectors, such as the interactive digital media sector and the critical minerals sector, for instance;
  • Creates a new authority for the Minister to initiate national security reviews under section 25.3 of the ICA and to accept undertakings to mitigate national security risk (previously, the authority for both of the foregoing rested with the Cabinet of Canada); and
  • Increases the maximum penalty for non-compliance with the ICA to $25,000 for each day of contravention, up from $10,000.
Continue Reading The National Security Review of Investments Modernization Act Receives Royal Assent

What antitrust scrutiny can U.S. private equity expect in Canada? 

Numerous recent proceedings by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice have made antitrust issues top of mind for U.S. private equity (PE). 

Given the frequent investment by U.S. sponsors into Canada, it is prudent to query whether a similar increase in regulatory scrutiny of PE is occurring north of the border.

The short answer is yes, and several examples are illustrative.

Writing in the ABA’s M&A Deal Points, we review these precedents for the benefit of U.S. PE considering a Canadian acquisition or minority investment.

We also consider certain differences between U.S. and Canadian antitrust law, as well as the practical impacts greater regulatory oversight of PE by Canadian competition authorities is having on risk mitigation and deal dynamics.


Enjeux antitrust dans le secteur du capital-investissement au Canada

À quel degré de surveillance antitrust les sociétés de capital-investissement américaines peuvent-elles s’attendre au Canada?

De nombreuses procédures récentes de la Federal Trade Commission et du Department of Justice des États-Unis ont fait des enjeux antitrust une priorité pour le secteur du capital-investissement américain.

Étant donné les investissements fréquents des promoteurs américains au Canada, il est prudent de se demander si l’on assiste également à un resserrement de la surveillance réglementaire de ce secteur au nord de la frontière.

La réponse courte est « Oui », et plusieurs exemples l’illustrent bien.

Dans l’infolettre du comité des fusions et acquisitions de l’American Bar Association (PDF, 2,879 KB) (ABA M&A Committee’s Deal Points Newsletter) (en anglais seulement), nous examinons ces précédents à l’intention des sociétés de capital-investissement américaines qui envisagent d’acquérir une société canadienne ou une participation minoritaire dans une société canadienne.

Nous y faisons ressortir certaines différences entre les lois antitrust américaines et canadiennes, ainsi que les répercussions pratiques d’une plus grande surveillance réglementaire du secteur du capital-investissement par les autorités canadiennes en matière de concurrence sur l’atténuation des risques et la dynamique des opérations.

Pour plus d’informations ou pour discuter d’un sujet, veuillez nous contacter.

On March 1, 2024, the Government of Canada unveiled two new foreign investment policies relating to the interactive digital media sector: one relating to national security reviews and the other to cultural investment reviews.

The policies define “interactive digital media” (“IDM”) as, without limitation, “digital content and/or an environment in which users can actively participate or that facilitates collaborative participation among multiple users for the purposes of entertainment, information or education, and commonly delivered via the Internet, mobile networks, gaming consoles or media storage devices.”

Continue Reading Canada to Subject Interactive Digital Media Investments to Enhanced Scrutiny

Competition Act Merger Notification Thresholds

The Canadian government has announced that the transaction-size threshold for pre-notification under the Competition Act will remain at C$93M for 2024. This is the third year that the transaction-size threshold has been fixed at this level, despite inflationary pressures throughout this period.

Mergers are subject to pre-closing notification in Canada if certain thresholds are met. These thresholds include a transaction-size threshold and a party-size threshold.

Continue Reading Merger Transaction-Size Threshold Remains Frozen at C$93M; Investment Canada Act Review Thresholds Increased

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