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Chris Margison has over 20 years of private and public sector legal experience, including as Special Advisor to both the Commissioner of Competition and the Senior Deputy Commissioner, Cartels Directorate at the Competition Bureau.

It is widely recognized and accepted that vertical mergers are generally pro-competitive or benign. For example, the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) has stated in its Merger Enforcement Guidelines (the “MEGs”) that vertical mergers “may not entail the loss of competition between the merging firms in a relevant market” and “frequently create

On August 16, 2021, the Competition Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) dismissed the Commissioner of Competition’s (the “Commissioner”) request for interim relief in connection with the recently-completed merger of SECURE Energy Services Inc. (“Secure”) and Tervita Corporation (“Tevita”) (the “Transaction”). In summary, in its decision made public

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On July 1, 2021, the Competition Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) ruled that it does not have the power to issue “interim, interim orders” in the context of a proposed merger of two companies in the midstream infrastructure and environmental solutions space. Rather, the Tribunal found that, in the case of mergers, interim relief is limited to that expressly provided for by sections 100 and 104 of the Competition Act (the “Act”).


Continue Reading Competition Tribunal Dismisses Request for Interim, Interim Order

As noted in our prior blog post titled “New Competitor Collaboration Guidelines”, the updated Competitor Collaboration Guidelines (the “CCGs”) issued earlier this month include a new hypothetical example of an illegal “hub and spoke” conspiracy among a mid-stream distributor and the retailers selling its products. As discussed in more detail below,

Non-compete clauses are included in virtually all purchase and sale agreements. They are designed to ensure that purchasers realize the full value of the acquired business by, for example, prohibiting competition from vendors within a defined area for a certain amount of time.[1] There is no question that such clauses are valuable to purchasers and essential in the mergers and acquisition context.

The Canadian Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) has long recognized that non-compete clauses “can serve legitimate purposes”. However, the Bureau’s approach to non-compete clauses has been revised in its updated Competitor Collaboration Guidelines (the “CCGs”), which were issued on May 6, 2021 – see our prior blog post titled “New Competitor Collaboration Guidelines”. Significantly, as discussed in more detail below, the Bureau has signalled that it may consider such clauses under the criminal cartel provisions in the Competition Act (the “Act”) where they, for example, amount to a market allocation agreement or there is evidence that they are nothing more than a “sham”.
Continue Reading Non-Compete Clauses – So What’s the Risk?

On May 6, 2021, the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) released its new (and long-awaited)  competitor collaboration guidelines (the “New CCGs”). This is the first update to these guidelines since the previous version was published by the Bureau over a decade ago, in 2009 (the “2009 CCGs”).

The New CCGs

Numerous countries around the world are currently reviewing their competition laws and policies. This review is focussed on both the purpose of competition law generally and whether existing laws are “fit for purpose”, particularly in the context of today’s rapidly changing and highly disruptive digital economy. The debate around these issues has been fierce to

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 changed every aspect of how 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 also had to respond to the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Below we discuss ten key themes seen in the competition, marketing and foreign investment law space this year, and discuss what the year ahead has in store.
Continue Reading What 2020 tells us about 2021 and beyond: Fasken’s Year-End Review of the Top 10 Trends in Canadian Competition, Marketing & Foreign Investment Law

On May 21, 2020, the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) released its Model Timing Agreement for Merger Reviews involving Efficiencies (the “Model Timing Agreement”), which includes guidance intended to inform businesses and their advisors of the Bureau’s approach to the analysis of efficiencies claims, the circumstances in which the Bureau will consider

As previously discussed in our Refresher on the Failing Firm Defence, many companies will be facing insolvency or bankruptcy in the aftermath of COVID-19. This could lead to a situation in which financially stronger companies want to purchase struggling competitors. In this context, it is likely that the Competition Bureau will be asked to approve otherwise “problematic” mergers on the basis of what is commonly known at the “failing firm” defence.

On April 29, 2020, the Bureau issued a Position Statement providing additional guidance on the failing firm defence and, in particular, the types of information that are most relevant for a timely and efficient analysis of a failing firm. The key aspects of this guidance are summarized in this blog post.


Continue Reading Competition Bureau Provides Guidance on Failing Firm Analysis