In a speech delivered on December 5, 2013, John Pecman, the
Commissioner of Competition, provided an update on the Competition
Bureau's recent advocacy efforts. Several points he made are of
particular interest to professional associations.
The Competition Bureau has demonstrated a renewed focus on
securing compliance through advocacy-related initiatives since Mr.
Pecman was appointed Commissioner. In September 2013, the
Competition Bureau launched a public consultation seeking the
assistance of Canadians to identify sectors of the economy in which
it could advocate for increased competition. According to the
Commissioner, the Bureau has received many submissions in response
to this request for input. Among the sectors identified by the
public as requiring more competition are the telecommunications
sector, the pharmaceutical sector and self-regulated
Other recent advocacy efforts mentioned by the Commissioner
submissions to the Alberta College of Pharmacists regarding the
College's proposed prohibition on inducements offered by
submissions to the CRTC in response to its Wireless Code
Working Paper; and
the creation on the Competition Bureau website of a dedicated
Advocacy Portal, where the Bureau will post
its submissions and letters advocating for increased
The Commissioner also disclosed that the Competition Bureau is
currently reviewing restrictions on advertising that certain
professional associations place on their members. This is not the
first time that the Competition Bureau has looked into the rules
and regulations governing self-regulated professions. In 2007, the
Bureau released a comprehensive report examining the impact of
self-regulation on competition across five professions in Canada:
accountants, lawyers, optometrists, pharmacists and real estate
agents. Advertising restrictions were among the issues addressed by
this report. The Bureau's principal concern was that, in its
view, many of the restrictions imposed by the professions extended
beyond what was necessary to protect consumers from false or
misleading advertising. That is presumably the basis for the
ongoing investigation as well.
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.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).