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Robin has been involved in a variety of transactional matters, including mergers and acquisitions for both public and private companies, reorganizations, securities regulation matters and private placements. Robin has also assisted companies with a variety of competition and foreign investment law matters, including investigations and merger review proceedings under the Competition Act, and matters under 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

On September 20, 2023, the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (“ISED”) released a report summarizing the submissions received from the public relating to the ongoing competition law amendment consultation process (the “Consultation Report”).

By way of background, as discussed in our previous blog post, 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”) on November 17, 2022. The call for public engagement highlighted that the review would focus on the role and functioning of the Act, the role and powers of the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”), the effectiveness of remedies and private redress mechanisms, addressing challenges of data and digital markets, and other pro-competitive policies.Continue Reading Public Consultation on Amendments to the Competition Act – Summary of Feedback

On September 18, 2023, Bill C-352, which was introduced by Jagmeet Singh (leader of the NDP), had its first reading in the House of Commons (the “Singh Bill”). On September 21, 2023, Bill C-56, which was introduced by Chrystia Freeland (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance), also received its first reading in the House of Commons (the “Government Bill”). Each of these bills includes significant proposed amendments to the Competition Act in response to the ongoing public consultation and legislation review process regarding competition policy in Canada.

While each of the bills share some similarities (including, for example, the introduction of market study powers and removal of the efficiencies defence), the bills include a number of different proposals and the Singh Bill includes overall more substantive recommendations for amendments to Canada’s existing competition law regime.Continue Reading Proposed Amendments to the Competition Act receive first reading in House of Commons

In an unprecedented intervention by the European Commission (EC), the EC recently asserted jurisdiction over and challenged a United States-based merger that falls below the filing thresholds of the EC and each and every European Union Member State. This action threatens to subject future merger transactions with no material connection to European commerce to merger control by the EC. An extraordinary Statement of Concerns, signed-on by former senior competition law agency leaders and competition law experts from around the world, recently published in Concurrences highlights the harmful implications of the overreach by the EC for predictable global competition law enforcement.  Also, in another first, five former Competition Commissioners from Canada are jointly waving the red flag with respect to the EC’s disregard of well-accepted norms established by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Competition Network (ICN) as well as longstanding jurisprudence concerning jurisdiction for the purpose of international merger review.Continue Reading Buyer Beware!  Aggressive Competition Watchdogs Trying to Block More International Deals – a cautionary tale from the Illumina-GRAIL merger challenge

On September 14, 2023, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a public statement relating to issues of inflation, Canada’s middle class and competition policy. The statement was focused on measures which are aimed at reducing the cost of housing across Canada, supporting small businesses and addressing the escalating cost of groceries.Continue Reading Prime Minister Announces Proposed Competition Law Changes

On July 19, 2023, the United States Federal Trade Commission and the United States Department of Justice (together, the “Agencies”) released draft Merger Guidelines (the “Draft Guidelines”) for public comment. Once finalized, the Draft Guidelines, which are designed to help the public, business community, practitioners and courts understand how the Agencies identify potentially illegal mergers, will replace the US Horizontal Merger Guidelines issued in 2010 and the US Vertical Merger Guidelines issued in 2020.Continue Reading United States Antitrust Agencies Announce New Merger Guidelines: Overview and Implications for Canada

On June 27, 2023 the United States Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced proposed changes to the pre-merger notification process under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (the “HSR Act”). These proposed changes were published on June 29, 2023.

By way of background, the HSR Act is federal legislation that requires merging parties to report transactions to the FTC and DOJ (together, the “US Agencies”) if the transaction meets certain monetary thresholds. Currently, when notifying a transaction under the HSR Act, parties need to supply relatively basic information, including information about the transaction, their respective businesses (including their subsidiaries, revenues and shareholders) and the competitive overlaps between their respective businesses. Merging parties may not close a notifiable transaction until a 30-day statutory waiting period (15 days in the case of a cash tender offer or a bankruptcy) expires or is terminated.Continue Reading FTC and DOJ Propose Changes to US Merger Filing Process

On June 23, 2022, Bill C-19, also known as the Budget Implementation Act, 2022, No.1 (“BIA”), received royal assent. As discussed in more detail in our previous blog post, the BIA included significant amendments to the Competition Act (the “Act”), including the addition of new criminal cartel provisions prohibiting so-called wage-fixing and no-poaching agreements, which will become effective as of June 23, 2023. More specifically, these provisions will prohibit agreements between unaffiliated employers to either “fix, maintain, decrease or control salaries, wages or terms and conditions of employment” or “not solicit or hire employees”.Continue Reading Competition Bureau Issues Finalized Enforcement Guidelines for Wage-Fixing and No-Poaching Offences:  What You Need To Know

The Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) recently released a new volume of its Deceptive Marketing Practices Digest (the “Digest”). The purpose of the Digest is to provide businesses with guidance on how to comply with the Competition Act (the “Act”) when marketing their products and services, and each volume focuses on a few specific types of advertising practices. This sixth edition of the Digest discusses two main topics: (i) the use of scarcity cues in online marketing and (ii) drip pricing and other types of variable fees.Continue Reading Competition Bureau Releases Deceptive Marketing Practices Digest: Volume 6