COMMISSIONER EMPHASIZES IMPORTANCE OF COMPETITION LAW
On July 3, 2014, Commissioner John Pecman participated in the
Canadian Competition Law Compliance Workshop in Toronto, Canada.
The workshop, hosted by Blakes and chaired by Brian Facey, Chair of
the Blakes Competition, Antitrust & Foreign Investment group,
was a collaborative effort of the International Chamber of
Commerce, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Corporate
Counsel Association, the Canadian Bar Association and the
Competition Bureau (Bureau).
Promotion of competition law compliance continues to be a top
priority for the Bureau and the Commissioner noted that "an
ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Commissioner
Pecman also announced that changes to the Bureau's Corporate Compliance Programs Bulletin are
forthcoming. The Bureau's Corporate Compliance
Programs Bulletin sets out the Bureau's perspectives on
effective competition law compliance programs and the consideration
given to such programs in enforcement proceedings by the Bureau.
Several topics are being considered for the updated Bulletin,
the role of a company's chief compliance officer
increasing incentives to reward credible and effective
risk-based tools to illustrate competition risks
ensuring the program includes the ability to report without
fear of retaliation
risks presented by third parties (e.g., membership in trade
associations, joint venture partners)
The Bureau plans to begin public consultations in the fall.
NEW GUIDANCE DOCUMENTS RELEASED BY COMPETITION BUREAU
The Bureau has recently released a number of publications in an
ongoing effort to enhance transparency and provide guidance to
On June 26, 2014, the Bureau released its new Bulletin on Communication during Inquiries, finalizing the
draft that was released for public consultation in October 2013.
The Bulletin summarizes how and when the Bureau communicates with
various stakeholders in the context of an inquiry. The Bureau will
normally follow the communications approach described in the
Bulletin regarding the commencement of an inquiry, case resolution
opportunities and/or the discontinuance of an inquiry.
Case-specific circumstances may, however, require the Bureau to
diverge from the approach set out in the Bulletin from time to
On May 5, 2014, the Bureau issued its 2014-2015 Annual Plan: Promoting Compliance for
the Benefit of Canadian Consumers. The first of its kind to be
published by the Bureau, the 2014-2015 Annual Plan anticipates
strategic interventions in regulated sectors, expanded stakeholder
outreach efforts to broaden awareness and support for competition
principles, an active advocacy role, and vigilant competition law
On April 2, 2014, the Bureau released draft updates to the Intellectual Property Enforcement Guidelines.
Although the changes were generally technical in nature, one
noteworthy revision was made to the Bureau's approach to the
non-use of intellectual property. The Bureau proposed to remove the
non-use of intellectual property from the types of conduct that are
considered to be a "mere exercise" of an IP right and not
subject it to scrutiny under the general provisions of the
Competition Act. Further substantive revisions to the
Bureau's Guidelines regarding the treatment of intellectual
property are anticipated in the future.
On March 20, 2014, the Bureau released its draft Price Maintenance Enforcement Guidelines. The
Guidelines provide direction on the application of Canada's
price maintenance laws and the use of common business practices,
such as manufacturer-suggested retail pricing and minimum
advertised prices. They also include examples of scenarios where
price maintenance could be either pro- or anti-competitive,
depending on the circumstances.
REALIGNMENT OF BRANCHES AT CANADIAN COMPETITION BUREAU
On May 21, 2014, Commissioner Pecman announced that the Bureau
will restructure its operating branches. The most prominent change
will result in the four main enforcement branches being combined
into two. The Mergers and Civil Matters branches will be combined
into one branch, which will deal with non-criminal matters (e.g.,
mergers, competitor collaborations, abuse of dominance, price
maintenance exclusive dealing and other vertical arrangements). A
second branch will combine the Criminal Matters and Fair Business
Practices branches and deal with criminal matters (e.g., price
fixing, bid rigging and criminal misleading advertising). The
new Criminal Branch will be headed by Senior Deputy Commissioner
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