On June 23, 2022, Bill C-19, also known as the Budget Implementation Act, 2022, No.1 (“BIA”), received royal assent. The BIA was tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022 and included significant proposed amendments to the Competition Act (the “Act”).

Continue Reading Significant Amendments to Canada’s Competition Act Are Now Law: What You Need to Know

Competition class actions are often sparked by regulatory or criminal investigations, especially when there are admissions of anti-competitive conduct or guilty pleas.

In the recent Jensen decision, the Federal Court of Canada considered when the mere existence of an investigation can support certification, and what is required for a foreign investigation to satisfy the “some basis in fact” standard.

Continue Reading Can Foreign Investigations Establish Some Basis in Fact of an Alleged Conspiracy?

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

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

Since the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2013 trilogy of decisions in Pro-SysSun-Rype and Infineon, and its 2019 decision in Godfrey, plaintiffs have had considerable success certifying private antitrust/competition class actions in Canada.  It is thus noteworthy that a number of recent decisions suggest a growing judicial willingness to limit or dismiss proposed competition class actions at the certification stage or before certification through preliminary motions.

Continue Reading Competition Class Actions in Canada: Takeaways from 2021 and Trends for 2022

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

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?

Since the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2013 trilogy of decisions in Pro-Sys, Sun-Rype and Infineon, and its 2019 decision in Godfrey, plaintiffs have had considerable success certifying private antitrust/competition class actions in Canada.   Recent amendments to Ontario’s class action legislation may change that trend. As discussed more fully below, the most significant amendment to Ontario’s class action legislation is to the preferable procedure portion of the certification test that currently requires plaintiffs to prove that a class action would be the “preferable procedure for the resolution of the common issues”. The preferability requirements now include superiority and predominance elements akin to US Federal Rules 23(b)(3).  If interpreted like US Federal Rule 23(b)(3), certification judges will likely engage in a rigorous assessment of whether common questions of law or fact predominate over individual questions, which may, in turn, impair the certification of  private antitrust/competition class actions.

  1. Amendments to the Class Proceedings Act

As discussed in a prior blog post, Ontario Bill 161 Smarter and Stronger Justice Act, 2020 received Royal Assent on July 8, 2020. Bill 161 is omnibus legislation that includes amendments to Ontario’s Class Proceedings Act, 1993 (the “CPA”).  The amendments will apply to proposed class actions commenced after Bill 161 has been proclaimed in force. Bill 161 is not yet proclaimed into force but is expected to be so proclaimed soon in the future.
Continue Reading The New Preferability Requirements in Ontario’s Class Action Legislation: Implications for Private Antitrust/Competition Enforcement

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our lives in countless ways. For example, most of us are now working remotely for our home offices, living rooms or kitchen tables. In-person meetings have been replaced by video calls, email and texts. This is expected to continue for weeks – if not months – as governments at all levels are requesting that Canadians stay home in an attempt to “flatten the curve”.

While statistics aren’t available, it’s reasonable to assume that the number of documents being created and retained by businesses has increased since the pandemic began. In many cases, these documents are likely being drafted quickly and without regard to the tremendous impact that they could have on the business, including in the context of future antitrust investigation or proceedings. A short refresher on document creation – including the problems that bad or hot documents may create – is in order.

Continue Reading Bad Documents – So What’s the Problem?