The Competition Bureau (the "Bureau") recently
released its Corporate Compliance Programs Bulletin (the
"Bulletin"). The goal of the Bulletin is to provide
guidance to businesses regarding how to implement a credible and
effective compliance program that is tailored to the potential
compliance risks relevant to their operations. Importantly, the
Bulletin recognizes that SMEs may have fewer internal resources and
that a company's compliance program should be commensurate with
their size and business activities.
The Bulletin includes (i) measures that can be taken to detect
and minimize the risk of engaging in illegal anti-competitive
activities; (ii) tools for developing compliance programs; and
(iii) hypothetical case studies illustrating how it will consider
the credibility and effectiveness of a company's compliance
Additionally, the Bulletin discusses how the Bureau will
consider whether a company's compliance program should be
viewed as a mitigating factor when making recommendations to the
Public Prosecution Service of Canada regarding criminal sanctions,
as well as seeking civil remedies such as administrative monetary
penalties ("AMPs") or restitution orders.
The Bulletin indicates that the Bureau will create
a "Compliance Unit" within the Bureau that will be
responsible for reviewing the credibility and effectiveness of a
business' compliance program.
The Bulletin provides an overview of the basic requirements for
a credible and effective compliance program which include:
Management commitment and support;
Risk-based corporate compliance assessment;
Corporate compliance policies and procedures;
Training and education;
Monitoring, verification, and reporting mechanisms;
Consistent disciplinary procedures and incentives for
Compliance program evaluation.
The Bulletin includes several tools for businesses, including a
compliance program framework, a due diligence checklist and several
hypothetical case examples of compliance issues. It is anticipated
that further compliance tools will be made available/revised on the
Bureau's website in the future.
The Bulletin is another example of the Bureau's
emphasis on encouraging companies to implement appropriate
compliance measures and that the best way to ensure a competitive
economy is through prevention, rather than enforcement.
While every company needs to ensure that their competition law
compliance measures reflect their business activities and risk
profile, the Bulletin provides a helpful roadmap for developing and
implementing an effective compliance program. For businesses who
already have a compliance program in place, the Bulletin provides a
good opportunity to reassess whether it remains effective –
and refresh it if needed.
The Commissioner of Competition addressed innovation, enforcement and policy initiatives at the Competition Bureau in his keynote speech, "Strengthening Competition: Innovation, Collaboration and Transparency."
Used car listing website operator CarGurus Inc.'s attempt to force rival Trader Corporation to supply it with vehicle listing data has encountered a dead end as the Competition Tribunal denied it leave to commence a private application under several provisions of the Competition Act.
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