CRTC and Competition Bureau Sign Letter of Agreement on
On September 25, 2013, the Chairman of the Canadian
Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and the
Commissioner of Competition announced that they had signed a Letter of Agreement providing for closer
cooperation between the CRTC and the Competition Bureau.
Transactions in the broadcasting sector, such as the Bell-Astral
merger, and recent consumer-facing regulation in the wireless
sector illustrate the intersection of regulation by the CRTC and
enforcement by the Competition Bureau. Both agencies consider
broadcasting and telecommunications issues and it is often unclear
where one agency's jurisdiction ends and the other's
The newly announced Agreement does not address the substantive
division of jurisdiction between the two authorities.
Jurisdictional issues were addressed in a 2001
understanding between the Competition Bureau and the CRTC, but this
document was removed from the CRTC website and its status is
uncertain. The Agreement focuses instead on inter-agency
connections between the CRTC and the Competition Bureau, providing
notification of the other agency with respect to a review or
process under the Competition Act, the
Telecommunications Act or the Broadcasting Act
that is of significant public importance, where a review or process
with respect to the same matter could be carried out by the other
agency under its mandate, and the exchange timing and other
procedural information related to such reviews and processes;
participation in collaborative training exercises and knowledge
sharing of information on best practices, including
international policies and programs;
development of an employee exchange program under which the
agencies will reciprocally host each other's employees;
semi-annual meetings of senior management from both agencies to
discuss the above initiatives and to explore other opportunities
for cooperation and collaboration.
The Agreement also addresses the treatment of information
obtained via inter-agency cooperation, specifying that the CRTC and
the Competition Bureau will seek to maintain the confidentiality of
the information obtained from each other. When a third party
requests information from one agency which was originally obtained
from the other agency, notification will be provided to the
originating agency. Further, confidential information obtained from
one agency will not be disclosed to third parties without written
consent of the originating agency, except as required by law. Where
disclosure is required, the CRTC and the Competition Bureau will
consult on how best to protect the interests of any review or
process in light of the disclosure requirement.
Bureau Releases Revised Immunity and Leniency FAQs
The Competition Bureau has released revised "Frequently
Asked Questions" (FAQs) for its Immunity Program and its Leniency Program. Both sets of FAQs were last
updated in 2010.
The updated FAQs address a number of new questions, revise
responses to questions under the prior FAQs and harmonize the
topics covered by the two sets of FAQs. For example, both sets of
FAQs now address how the Competition Bureau treats immunity and
leniency markers in the context of investigations that it does not
intend to pursue; when a proffer will be considered complete; and
immunity/leniency applications where there are no direct or
indirect sales into Canada. The new FAQs also cover topics of a
more technical nature, such as the required format and language for
production of records to the Competition Bureau.
In announcing the updated FAQs, the Competition Bureau
emphasized the continuing importance of its Immunity and Leniency
Programs in aiding anti-cartel enforcement in Canada. As noted by
the Competition Bureau, these programs are intended to provide
incentives for businesses and individuals to report
anti-competitive conduct and to cooperate with the subsequent
investigation of such conduct. Further guidance from the
Competition Bureau on the programs is available in its Immunity Bulletin and Leniency Bulletin.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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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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