On March 12, 2009, the most significant amendments to
Canada's competition and foreign investment regimes in more
than 20 years were enacted when Bill C-10, the Budget
Implementation Act, 2009, received Royal Assent. The
amendments were described in detail in the February 20, 2009
edition of The Competitor.
With the exception of the new hybrid/"dual-track"
conspiracy provisions, all of the Competition Act
amendments enter into force immediately. These include
a new U.S.-style "two-stage" merger regime;
an increase in the "size-of-transaction" threshold
for pre-merger notification;
de-criminalization of predatory pricing, price discrimination
and promotional allowances;
conversion of resale price maintenance from a per se criminal
offence to a civilly reviewable practice;
substantial increases in the penalties for deceptive marketing
practices and misleading advertising; and
introduction of substantial administrative monetary penalties
for abuse of dominance.
A delayed one-year implementation date applies to the new
"dual-track" conspiracy provisions, which create a
per se criminal offence for agreements between competitors
to fix prices, allocate sales, customers or markets, or fix or
control production or supply of a product, and subject other types
of agreements between competitors to civil review if they prevent
or lessen competition substantially.
All of the Investment Canada Act amendments are also
now in force (indeed, most changes are retroactive to February 6,
2009), with the exception of increased thresholds for review of
direct investments by WTO investors, which will come into force on
a day fixed by order of the Governor in Council (the federal
Cabinet). Provision is also made for Cabinet to prescribe
regulations in respect of certain of the amendments. The
Competition Bureau and the Investment Review Division of Industry
Canada have yet to issue guidelines specifying how the new
provisions will be enforced.
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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