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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

On June 27, 2023, the Competition Bureau  (the “Bureau”)  released its “Retail Grocery Market Study Report” (the “Report”). The Report is the result of the October 24, 2022 announcement by the Bureau that it would conduct a study of grocery store competition in Canada.

The Report observes that grocery prices have been rising and suggests this is in part because Canada’s grocery industry is concentrated and has high entry barriers. The Report concludes that increased competition in the industry is part of the solution. The balance of the Report is devoted to explaining the basis for the Report’s conclusions and exploring and recommending steps for achieving increased competition.Continue Reading “Canada Needs More Competition”: Competition Bureau Releases its Retail Grocery Market Study Report

On November 17, 2022, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, launched the much anticipated public consultation for potential amendments to the Competition Act (the “Act”). As discussed in our previous blog post, this consultation was intended to serve as a wide-ranging review of existing competition policy in Canada, including whether the Act is fit for purpose in a modern economy that continues to evolve quickly.Continue Reading Competition Bureau Recommends Significant Changes to Competition Act

As discussed in our previous blog post, on November 17, 2022, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, launched the much anticipated public consultation on the second stage of potential amendments to the Competition Act (the “Act”).
Continue Reading Unilateral Conduct – Changes on the Horizon?

Competition, marketing and foreign investment law saw a number of changes in the past year. Many of these changes were in response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, which has significantly changed the way Canadians, businesses and government agencies operate. Despite the pandemic, the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) has actively continued its enforcement activity and provided a number of guidance documents to help businesses stay onside the Competition Act (the “Act”). Similarly, Canada’s Investment Review Division (“IRD”) of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (“ISED”) has also responded to the challenges resulting from the pandemic.
Continue Reading Fasken’s Forecast for 2022 and Beyond: 2021’s Top 10 Trends in Canadian Competition, Marketing & Foreign Investment Law and what Businesses should expect in 2022

On March 24, 2021, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (the “Minister”) announced updates to the Guidelines on the National Security Review of Investments (the “Guidelines”) issued under the Investment Canada Act (the “ICA”).

This first update since the Guidelines were issued on December 21, 2016 appears

So-called “excessive price” prohibitions are premised on a theory of harm that is generally rejected in competition law. Indeed, Canada’s Competition Act does not even contain a prohibition against excessive pricing. Among the many reasons for not prohibiting excessive prices are that to do so would undermine investment incentives (both of firms already in the market and potential entrants). Further, the phenomenon of excessive prices, in the absence of exclusionary conduct, is generally viewed as a temporary phenomenon that will be corrected by the market. Also, the legal uncertainty associated with the vagueness of the ‘excessive’ element in the concept could easily result in regulatory overreach.

In the context of COVID-19, the traditional arguments against prohibiting excessive prices have given way to a more consumer-oriented approach with respect to those supplying consumers directly. In response to concerns that retailers may be incentivized to substantially increase prices for products critical to the COVID-19 response, three Canadian provinces (i.e. British Columbia, Ontario & Nova Scotia) have specifically prohibited selling essential goods at unconscionable prices, or at prices markedly higher than fair market value. Other provinces appear to be more actively seeking to enforce pre-existing price gouging prohibitions in their consumer protection legislation, particularly in regards to necessary goods.

Yet, as already noted, it is unclear what constitutes an ‘excessive’ or ‘unconscionable’ price. Despite the fact that some provinces have had prohibitions on price gouging in their consumer protection legislation for decades, those provisions have been rarely used and scarcely considered by Canadian courts. At the same time, failing to comply with these provisions can have serious consequences, including financial penalties, restitution and reputational harm – and in some cases criminal fines and jail time. There is also the possibility a class action lawsuit could be instituted by a consumer on behalf of a class of consumers. What follows is a description of the price gouging laws of each Canadian province, as well as a description of their enforcement approach, where available, in order to help businesses understand how to avoid liability in respect of this particularly vague area of law.
Continue Reading Price Gouging Prohibitions across Canada

In an April 18, 2020 policy statement, the Government of Canada (“GOC”) announced that, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, investments by non-Canadians “related to public health or involved in the supply of critical goods and services to Canadians or to the Government” would be subject to “enhanced scrutiny” under the Investment

On February 11th, the Competition Bureau published its Strategic Vision for 2020-24. Titled “Competition in the Digital Age”, this document outlines how the Bureau plans to deliver the benefits of competition to Canadians over the next four years in today’s rapidly changing digital economy.

The Strategic Vision includes three key themes