In an unprecedented move in Canadian competition litigation, the Competition Bureau and Parkland Fuel Corporation (“Parkland”) reached a consent agreement through mediation on March 29, 2016. The dispute—which was founded on the Commissioner of Competition’s (“Commissioner”) concerns that competition would be significantly lessened in eight local retail gas markets as a result of Parkland’s acquisition of Pioneer Energy—was mediated by the Chief Justice of the Federal Court, Paul Crampton.

Through the consent agreement, Parkland agreed to sell gas stations or exclusive gas supply arrangements in six markets in Ontario and Manitoba and restrict its ability to increase any margin that it earns on the sale of gasoline in two markets in Manitoba, where it is a wholesale supplier.

The decision of the Commissioner to agree to mediation in the Parkland case raises many questions, including whether alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as mediation, will be the way of the future when it comes to merger challenges under the Competition Act.