On January 26, 2011, Canada's Competition Bureau
announced that it has applied to the Competition
Tribunal for an order to dissolve CCS
Corporation's acquisition of Complete Environmental Inc., which
owns the Babkirk Secure Landfill located in northeastern British
Columbia. Interestingly, the theory of harm in this case is founded
on a likely "prevention" rather than a
"lessening" of competition – typically harder
CCS' acquisition of the Babkirk Secure Landfill is said to
be likely to substantially prevent competition for the disposal of
hazardous waste produced largely at oil and gas facilities in
northeastern British Columbia. According to the Commissioner of
Competition: "[b]y purchasing, rather than face competing with
the Babkirk Secure Landfill, CCS will prevent the entry of
competition into the market for secure hazardous waste disposal in
Northeastern British Columbia." Complete Environmental had
received regulatory approval to open the landfill in February 2010,
but had not yet started construction. According to the Bureau, had
the Babkirk Secure Landfill opened, it would have become a
competitor to CCS, which currently operates the only two
operational secure landfills for hazardous waste in British
Interestingly, the transaction has already closed, albeit
pursuant to a hold-separate commitment to the Commissioner on the
part of CCS.
The Bureau has a history of activity in the waste management
industry in Western Canada, including the divestiture required
in the Clean Harbors/Eveready merger in Alberta in 2009, as well as
the consent agreement in
respect of an alleged abuse of joint dominance involving Waste
Services (CA) Inc. and Waste Management of Canada Corporation in
British Columbia in 2009.
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The Canadian Competition Bureau issued a template document for use as a form of Consent Agreement, to be filed with the Competition Tribunal to resolve concerns the Bureau may have with proposed mergers.
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