In a speech delivered yesterday, the Interim Commissioner of
Competition (the “Commissioner”) launched The
Criminal Cartel Whistleblowing Initiative that encourages
members of the public to provide the Competition Bureau (the
“Bureau”) information regarding possible violations of
the criminal cartel and bid-rigging provisions of the
Competition Act (the “Act”). The Commissioner
also outlined other initiatives aimed at improving enforcement of
Under this initiative, a member of the public who has reasonable
grounds to believe that a person has committed, or intends to
commit, a criminal offence under the Act (for example, has entered
into an agreement or arrangement with a competitor to fix prices,
allocate markets, restrict output or rig bids) may provide
information to the Bureau on a confidential basis.
Information provided to the Bureau can only be shared in very
limited circumstances and, in all instances, the Bureau will
protect the identity of the whistleblower.
Information provided by a whistleblower will be examined by an
investigative team, who will determine whether to commence a formal
inquiry under the Act. Should an inquiry be initiated based on the
information provided by a whistleblower, the Bureau can use its
full range of investigative powers, including search warrants, wire
taps and compulsory production orders.
The launch of the a formal whistleblowing initiative reflects
the reality that the Bureau is often alerted to conduct that
potentially violates the criminal provisions of the Act by private
complainants. While the confidentiality protections simply reflect
those that already existed under the Act, this initiative is
intended to encourage potential whistleblowers to come forward by
providing an accessible, comprehensible overview of the complaint
process and comfort that their identities will not be
For a copy of The Criminal Cartel Whistleblowing
Initiative, please click here.
Compliance and Collaboration
The Commissioner’s speech emphasized that, given the
increased level of cooperation and coordination between global
competition enforcement agencies, the likelihood of detection and
prosecution of anti-competitive conduct is higher than ever. In
this regard, the Commissioner suggested that the best way for
businesses to avoid significant fines, jail time for employees and
associated reputational cost resulting from violations of the Act
should both (i) implement a corporate compliance program, as well
as (ii) ensure that compliance programs are monitored and updated
The Commissioner also announced that the Bureau will be holding
a series of “sector days” where companies will be
invited to share their first-hand knowledge of the industries in
which they participate. These exchanges with stakeholders will
better inform the Bureau’s understanding of sector-specific
dynamics and in some instances, inform the Bureau’s strategic
For a copy of the Commissioner’s speech, please click here.
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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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