Merger Notification & Review

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, including significant and far-reaching amendments to Canada’s Competition Act (the “Act”).Continue Reading Further and Significant Proposed Amendments to the Competition Act in the areas of Merger Review, Ordinary Sales Pricing, Drip Pricing and Environmental Claims 

The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming businesses around the world, offering unprecedented opportunities for innovation and economic prosperity. However, it also presents unique challenges for competition authorities tasked with ensuring fair and efficient markets. In response, the competition authorities such as the Canadian Competition Bureau, the UK Competition and Market Authority (CMA), the European Commission – DG Competition (EC) and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have been actively engaging in consultations and research to understand the implications of AI on competition policy. This blog highlights some of these agencies’ efforts to adapt competition policy to evolving digital markets as well as noting some of the key legal antitrust risks for business.Continue Reading Competition Authorities shining the light on AI

Competition Act Merger Notification Thresholds

The Canadian government has announced that the transaction-size threshold for pre-notification under the Competition Act will remain at C$93M for 2024. This is the third year that the transaction-size threshold has been fixed at this level, despite inflationary pressures throughout this period.

Mergers are subject to pre-closing notification in Canada if certain thresholds are met. These thresholds include a transaction-size threshold and a party-size threshold.Continue Reading Merger Transaction-Size Threshold Remains Frozen at C$93M; Investment Canada Act Review Thresholds Increased

Merger review under the Competition Act (the “Act”) is undergoing significant change. As discussed in our previous blog post, the Federal Government has proposed significant amendments to the Act. These amendments, which are included in Bill C-56 and Bill C-59 (together, the “Bills”) and touch on virtually all facets of competition policy in Canada, represent “generational changes” that, according to the Government’s 2023 Fall Economic Statement, are intended to “help bring Canada into alignment with international best practices to ensure that our marketplaces promote fairness, affordability, and innovation”.Continue Reading Proposed amendments to the merger review process in Canada: Implications for businesses

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 November 21, 2023, the Federal Government released its 2023 Fall Economic Statement (the “Statement”). The Statement lays out the Federal Government’s multifaceted plan to improve housing in Canada, support the middle class, bolster the economy and create a stable financial sector. Additionally, the Statement outlines the Federal Government’s desire to strengthen competition in Canada through proposed amendments to the Competition Act (the “Act”). More specifically, the Statement discusses changes aimed at combatting alleged dominance abuses by large companies, modernizing merger reviews, protecting consumers from misleading claims and enabling private entities to engage in legal proceedings related to anti-competitive practices. These changes, according to the Statement, “will help bring Canada into alignment with international best practices to ensure that our marketplaces promote fairness, affordability, and innovation.”Continue Reading Federal Government Releases Fall Economic Statement – with New Competition Act Amendments Previewed

On October 5, 2023, the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) hosted a summit (the “Summit”) on competition law and policy in Canada. Among other things, the Summit included discussions focusing on Canada’s current economic landscape; the main barriers to competition in Canada; Canadians’ diverse perspectives on competition issues in Canada; and building a whole-of-government competition agenda.

This blog posts discusses a number of key themes and takeaways that emerged from the Summit, and which may inform the government’s approach  in the ongoing competition law reform process. Among other things, these themes included: (i) the need to implement an all of government approach regarding competition policy in Canada, (ii) lack of competitive intensity in Canada driven, in part, by regulatory barriers and burdens, and (iii) the need to modernize Canada’s competition laws.Continue Reading Takeaways from the Competition Bureau’s Competition Law Summit and Report on Competition

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