Welcome to the March issue of Blakes Competitive Edge, a monthly publication of the Blakes Competition, Antitrust & Foreign Investment group. Blakes Competitive Edge provides an overview of recent developments in Canadian competition law, including updates on enforcement activity by the Canadian Competition Bureau (Bureau), recent initiatives and key trends.
- The Bureau completes 18 merger reviews in February 2023, 38% more than the number completed in February 2022 (13) and 6% more than the number completed in February 2021 (17).
- The Bureau publishes its submission to the Canadian government's consultation on the future of competition policy in Canada.
- The Bureau reaches a consent agreement with Sika AG regarding its acquisition of MBCC Group.
- The Bureau releases a draft of its revamped compliance program guidance.
- Canadian Heritage releases the remainder of the 2021 cultural sector investment decisions and notifications summary.
February 2023 Highlights
- 18 merger reviews completed
- Primary industries: mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (28%); manufacturing (22%); finance and insurance (17%); retail trade (11%); transportation and warehousing (6%); utilities (6%); administrative and support, waste management and remediation services (6%); real estate and rental and leasing (6%)
- One consent agreement (remedy) filed
- Zero judicial decisions filed
- Seven transactions received an Advance Ruling Certificate (39%); 10 transactions received a No Action Letter (56%)
January – February 2023 Highlights
- 27 merger reviews completed
- Primary industries: manufacturing (30%); mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (26%); retail trade (11%); finance and insurance (11%); utilities (7%); real estate and rental and leasing (7%); administrative and support, waste management and remediation services (4%); transportation and warehousing (4%)
- One consent agreement (remedy) filed
- 11 transactions received an Advance Ruling Certificate (41%); 15 transactions received a No Action Letter (56%)
Merger Reviews Completed in 2023 by Primary Industry
Merger Enforcement Activity
Competition Bureau reaches consent agreement with Sika AG regarding its acquisition of MBCC Group
- On February 21, 2023, the Bureau entered into a consent agreement with Sika AG (Sika) regarding Sika's acquisition of MBCC Group. The agreement is in connection with a global remedy previously announced by Sika and addresses the Bureau's concerns that the proposed transaction would likely lessen competition substantially in the supply of admixture systems in Canada. To satisfy the concerns of competition authorities, Sika is required to sell three admixture production plants in Canada (located in Nisku, Alberta; Brampton, Ontario; and Saint-Leonard, Quebec), 10 production plants and a research centre in the U.S., and a global research and development centre in Germany. For more information, see the Bureau's News Release on the consent agreement.
Other Enforcement Activity
Competition Bureau obtains section 11 orders to investigate competition in the Quebec real estate services market
- On February 15, 2023, the Federal Court of Canada granted the Bureau's request for a section 11 order regarding the Bureau's investigation into the conduct of the Quebec Professional Association for Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB). The order requires QPAREB to produce records and written information relevant to the Bureau's ongoing investigation into whether the association engaged in conduct contrary to the abuse of dominance provisions of the Competition Act. More specifically, the investigation relates to whether the QPAREB has engaged in practices that harm competition in the real estate brokerage services market or prevent the development of innovative online brokerage services in Quebec.
Competition Bureau announces consultation period on draft Compliance Program Guidance
- On March 13, 2023, the Bureau announced that it is seeking feedback on its new Compliance Portal, which will replace the Bureau's existing compliance program bulletin. The consultation period is open until June 9, 2023. The new Compliance Portal, which builds on the Bureau's existing guidance, adds new visuals and content that are more user-friendly and accessible to non-competition law experts, seeks to address evolving compliance considerations in digital markets and incorporates the 2022 amendments to the Competition Act (e.g., by adding a section on wage-fixing and no-poach agreements).
Competition Bureau publishes its submission to the Canadian government's Competition Act consultation
- On March 15, 2023, the Bureau published its submission to the Canadian government's (Government) Competition Act (Act) consultation discussed in our November 2022 Blakes Bulletin: Canadian Government Announces Review of the Competition Act. The Bureau's submission, which includes more than 50 recommendations, is part of a wide-ranging public consultation being undertaken in connection with the Government's review of the Act. For more information about the Bureau's submission, see our March 2023 Blakes Bulletin: Competition Bureau Publishes Recommendations for Competition Act Reforms.
Investment Canada Act
November 2022 Highlights
- Three reviewable investment approvals and 98 notifications filed (78 for acquisitions and 20 for the establishment of a new Canadian business)
- Country of origin of investor: U.S. (52%); United Kingdom (14%); France (4%); China (3%)
January – November 2022 Highlights
- Four reviewable investment approvals and 969 notifications filed (723 for acquisitions and 246 for the establishment of a new Canadian business)
- Country of origin of investor: U.S. (55%); U.K. (7%); France (5%); India (3%); China (3%); Austria (2%)
Annual 2021 Highlights
- 20 reviewable investment approvals and 26 notifications filed (16 for acquisitions and 10 for the establishment of a new Canadian business)
- Country of origin investor: U.S. (57%); Sweden (9%); Poland (7%); South Korea (4%); U.K. (4%); India (2%)
- On Tuesday April 4, 2023, Blakes is hosting a seminar on Sweeping Changes to Canada's Competition and Foreign Investment Rules. Blakes partners will be joined by The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Vice-Chair of Global Investment Banking at CIBC and former Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and Edward M. Iacobucci, Law Professor at the University of Toronto and author of the discussion paper on amendments to the Competition Act commissioned by Senator Howard Wetston. For more information or to register, please contact us.
- Browse our thought-leadership insights from the Competition, Antitrust & Foreign Investment group to learn more.
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