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 evaluate potential ways to improve its operation. This included, among other things, adapting the law to today’s digital reality to better tackle emerging forms of harmful behaviour in the digital economy; tackling wage-fixing agreements; modernizing the penalty regime to ensure that it serves as a genuine deterrent against harmful business conduct; more clearly addressing drip pricing; increasing access to justice for those injured by harmful conduct; and fixing loopholes that allow for harmful conduct. During an interview with the Toronto Star, the Minister suggested that this was the first step in a “comprehensive” review of the Act.

Continue Reading Significant Amendments to Competition Act Coming Soon

As discussed in more detail in our prior blog post titled “Competition Bureau Recommendations to Strengthen the Competition Act”, in a continuing effort to ensure that Canada has an effective and impactful competition law framework, Senator Howard Wetston invited interested stakeholders to participate in a consultation to promote additional dialogue on the path forward for Canadian competition law. As part of this consultation, Senator Wetston received comments from more than 25 stakeholders, including a detailed submission from the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”).

The Bureau’s submission includes 35 wide-ranging recommendations that, if implemented, would fundamentally reshape competition policy in Canada. To help businesses better understand the impact of these recommendations, we are releasing a series of blog posts discussing the recommendations on a topic-by-topic basis. This blog post is focussed on abuse of dominance.

Continue Reading Competition Bureau Recommendations Regarding Abuse of Dominance

As discussed in more detail in our prior blog post titled “Competition Bureau Recommendations to Strengthen the Competition Act”, in a continuing effort to ensure that Canada has an effective and impactful competition law framework, Senator Howard Wetston invited interested stakeholders to participate in a consultation to promote additional dialogue on the path forward for Canadian competition law. As part of this consultation, Senator Wetston received comments from more than 25 stakeholders, including a detailed submission from the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”).

Continue Reading Competition Bureau Recommendations Regarding Merger Review in Canada

Governments and competition agencies around the world, including those in Canada, the United States and Europe, are reviewing their competition policies to assess whether they are capable of addressing novel and complex issues arising in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing digital economy. These issues arise because the digital economy, unlike traditional markets, is often charactered by, among other things, platform-based business models, multi-sided markets, network effects, economies of scale, rapid technological change and disruptive innovation.

Continue Reading Competition Bureau Recommendations to Strengthen the Competition Act: Introduction

Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (“ISED”), Francois-Philippe Champagne, made two important announcements on Monday morning in an exclusive interview with Toronto Star business reporter, Christine Dobby, and in a subsequent press release: (1) the Government of Canada (the “Government”) will engage in a broad review of the Competition Act (the “Act”) with a view to promoting dynamic and fair markets, and (2) the $93 million transaction-size threshold for pre-merger notification will not be increased this year – an unusual development following a year of GDP growth.

Continue Reading Upcoming Review of the Competition Act and Other Developments

Last week, former Commissioner of Competition and Fasken Senior Business Advisor John Pecman published a highly topical article in the Financial Post outlining why knee-jerk antitrust reform may worsen inflation. Yesterday morning, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Francois-Philippe Champagne, announced that the Government of Canada will engage in a broad review

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 November 4, 2021, Justine Reisler and Robin Spillette attended the Global Competition Review’s annual Women in Antitrust conference in Washington, D.C. The event featured an incredible lineup of female lawyers and economists on panels addressing some of the most cutting-edge topics in antitrust today, namely: (i) assessing deal risk in a time of changing standards, (ii) approaches being taken by competition agencies to address global concerns about Big Tech, (iii) sustainable economic development, and (iv) innovation in the pharmaceutical sector.

Continue Reading Key Themes from the Global Competition Review’s Annual Women in Antitrust Conference

Surprisingly, the economy did not take centre stage in the recent federal government election. Rather, the limelight was on the government’s pandemic performance and the growing government intervention in all aspects of our lives.  Canadians, it seems, were not ready to turn the channel from their binge watching of the governments’ pandemic caretaking.  However, as the ratings begin to fall for COVID-19 programming, the new government and the public will likely soon turn their attention to more traditional table steaks, such as economic policy execution, particularly if inflation continues to rise, ravaging the disposable income of Canadians, and store shelves remain empty.  On the list of outstanding economic marketplace framework policy upgrades from the last parliamentary session are telecommunications and broadcasting (Bill C-10) and privacy (Bill C-11) reforms.  In the last session, parliament also took a small step towards competition policy modernization via the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology hearings which informed a report recommending modest amendments to the Competition Act.  The previous substantive refinement to Canada’s competition law took place in 2009 following an in-depth study and report by the Competition Policy Review Panel which predated the major digital transformation of the economy. Last week, in a speech to the Canadian Bar Association’s competition law fall conference, the Commissioner of Competition made an impassioned plea for a comprehensive review of the Competition Act to modernize it for today’s reality and keep up with other jurisdictions.

Continue Reading Post-Election Priorities – Will a Competition Policy Review make the Cut?

On September 20, 2021, Canadians will head to the polls to elect a new House of Commons. All of Canada’s major political parties have released political platforms which outline their plans to revise and, at least in their view, improve Canadian competition law and policy. Depending on which party is ultimately elected (and whether they win a majority), competition law in Canada may see some significant changes, including more serious penalties for existing offences and reviewable practices, as well as a few new ones.

Continue Reading How will the outcome of the 2021 Federal Election impact Competition Law in Canada?