Latest Posts

Fixing the Leak: Discount Fined $700,000 for Drip Pricing

Discount Car & Truck Rentals Ltd. recently became the fourth car rental company to reach an agreement with the Competition Bureau to settle allegations that they were advertising unattainable prices, a practice known as drip pricing. Discount agreed to update its policies to address Bureau concerns and pay $700,000 in administrative monetary penalties. The Bureau’s position is clear: advertised prices must include all mandatory fees. Businesses that do not follow this rule can expect the Bureau to investigate them and seek fines that can reach $10 million.

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New Immunity and Leniency Programs: Still the Best Deal in Town?

It used to be the best deal in town: participants in criminal price-fixing conspiracies could approach the Competition Bureau and receive either complete immunity or leniency in exchange for ratting out their co-conspirators.

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HBC Has to Sleep in the Bed it Made ... Commissioner Brings Misleading Advertising Application Over Mattress Promotions

The Commissioner of Competition (the Commissioner) filed a Notice of Application (the Application) against the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) in late February alleging that HBC engaged in deceptive marketing practices relating to its sale of sleep sets (mattresses and foundations) including representations regarding ordinary sales price (OSP). The Commissioner is seeking a variety of remedies including an order requiring HBC to pay an administrative penalty and issue corrective notices.

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Jan 13, 2017
Reliance on Supplier Price Information Cost Amazon $1 Million for Contravention of Ordinary Price Provisions

On January 11, 2017, Amazon.com.ca, Inc. entered into a consent agreement with the Commissioner of Competition following the Competition Bureau’s investigation into Amazon’s pricing representations. The consent agreement alleges that Amazon contravened the ordinary price provisions of the Competition Act and engaged in false and misleading representations contained in electronic messages. As part of the consent agreement, Amazon has agreed to pay an administrative monetary penalty of $1 million, as well as costs of $100,000.

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Dec 19, 2016
National Security Review Guidelines Highlight Amorphous Nature of “National Security”

The Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development has just released Guidelines on the National Security Review of Investments. The Guidelines are intended to provide information to foreign investors regarding both (i) the national security review process under the Investment Canada Act (the ICA) and (ii) the factors to be considered in determining whether an investment could raise national security issues. 

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Jan 20, 2014
2014 Competition Act and Investment Canada Act Merger Review Thresholds Announced

1. Competition Act

Earlier today, the Canadian Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) announced that the pre-merger notification Transaction-Size threshold will increase from $80 million to $82 million for 2014. The new threshold, which is revised annually and is indexed to the growth of Canadian GDP, will come into immediate effect following the publication of the Canada Gazette Part 1 (anticipated to occur on January 25, 2014).

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Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation Coming Into Force in 2014: Are You Ready?

Yesterday, the Minister of Industry announced that the bulk of Canada’s anti-spam law (“CASL”) will come into force on July 1, 2014, while the remaining provisions will be gradually phased-in by 2017. Subject to limited exceptions, CASL prohibits businesses from sending commercial electronic messages (“CEMs”) unless a prior express “opt-in” consent from the recipient has been obtained.

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Commissioner Requires Remedies in Minority Interest Transaction

On November 1, 2004, the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) reached a Consent Agreement (the “Agreement”) from La Coop fédérée (“LCF”) and Groupe BMR (“BMR”) in connection with LCF’s acquisition of a minority interest in BMR. The Agreement requires that (i) certain franchisees in four local markets in the province of Quebec find new banner under which to operate; and (ii) that LCF and BMR continue supplying the stores on competitive terms until either a new franchisor is found or the end of 2014.

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Commissioner Obtains Significant Divestitures in Sobeys/Safeway Deal

The Competition Bureau announced yesterday that it had entered into a Consent Agreement (the “Agreement”) with Sobeys Inc. (“Sobeys”) regarding its acquisition of Canada Safeway Limited (“Safeway”). The Agreement requires the divestiture of 23 stores in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia.

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Canada-EU Trade Agreement: Foreign Investment Review Threshold to Increase to $1.5B for EU Investors

Today, Prime Minister Harper announced that Canada and the European Union have entered into the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (“CETA”). The goal of CETA is to eliminate tariffs, encourage foreign investment, and promote the movement of labour.

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2013 Throne Speech: Possible Amendments to Competition Act to Address Cross-Border Price Differences

Yesterday’s Speech from the Throne indicated that consumer protection will be an important part of the Canadian government’s legislative and political agenda for the remainder of its current term of office. Although the speech mentioned several priority areas, there was a clear focus on taking steps to reduce the prices paid by Canadians across a range of industries.

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Cineplex Changes Deal to Get Bureau Approval

Yesterday, the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) announced that had issued a No Action Letter (“NAL”) in connection with Cineplex Inc.’s acquisition of 22 movie theatres from Empire Theatres Ltd. The Bureau’s press release also indicated that, during the course of the review, the parties revised their transaction to address concerns raised by Bureau staff.

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Industry Canada Blocks Sale of Allstream Due to National Security Concerns

Yesterday, Minister of Industry James Moore (the “Minister”) announced that Accelero Capital Holdings’ (“Accelero”) proposed $520 million acquisition of Allstream, a division of Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (“MTS"), would not be allowed to proceed under the national security provisions of the Investment Canada Act (the “Act”).

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Competition Bureau Provides Useful Update to Immunity and Leniency FAQs

The Competition Bureau provided useful guidance to firms regarding its immunity and leniency programs in the form of revised “frequently asked questions: (“FAQs”) that were released today.  The revised FAQs highlight several substantive and procedurals changes to these programs.

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