On June 5, 2014, Lisa Campbell was appointed to the position of Senior Deputy Commissioner of Competition of the Merger Branch of the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”). Ms. Campbell was mostly recently the Deputy Commissioner of the Fair Business Practices Branch of the Bureau. A week later on June 12, 2014, Ms. Campbell gave a speech at the Fifth Annual Chicago Forum on International Antitrust Issues, highlighting some of the recent developments within the Bureau in respect of six areas. Below are some the key issues that Ms. Campbell discussed in her speech.
- Cartel Enforcement: Since April 2013, the Bureau’s cartel investigations resulted in fines totaling over CAD$56 million. In securing these fines, the Bureau worked extensively with its counterparts in a number of other jurisdictions, including the United States, Japan, the European Union and Australia. It has also pursued several significant policy developments, such as updating the frequently asked questions on the Immunity and Leniency Programs, and launching the Criminal Cartel Whistleblowing Initiative.
- Merger Review: The Bureau set a record in May, 2014 for the numbers of pre-merger notification filings received by the Mergers Branch. At the end of March, the Bureau issued best practices on cooperation in cross-border merger investigations in collaboration with the U.S. agencies, outlining current day-to-day cooperation practices relating to inter-agency communication, the coordination of review timetables, the collection and evaluation of evidence, as well as the consideration and implementation of remedies.
- Abuse of Dominance and Agreements Between Competitors: On February 3, 2014, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned the Competition Tribunal’s (the “Tribunal”) decision in The Commission of Competition v. The Toronto Real Estate Board, stating that the Tribunal misinterpreted the abuse of dominance provisions of the Competition Act (the “Act”) and referred the application back to the Tribunal for reconsideration on the merits of the Commissioner of Competition’s (the “Commissioner”) application. In response to an e-book retailer’s application to rescind a registered consent agreement among the Bureau and four other e-book publishers to address the publishers’ alleged contravention of section 90.1 of the Act (the civil anti-competitive agreements provision), the Bureau filed a reference pursuant to subsection 124.2(2) of the Act asking the Tribunal to determine, among other things, the nature and scope of its jurisdiction under subsection 106(2) of the Act which allows a person directly affected by a consent agreement to bring an application to the Tribunal to have one of more of its terms rescinded or varies. Further details of these cases can be found in this blog’s posting “2013 Canadian Antitrust/Competition & Marketing Law Year in Review”
- Transparency Initiatives: Public consultation on the draft Intellectual Property Enforcement Guidelines has ended on June 2nd and copies of submissions received are available on the Bureau’s website.
- International Cooperation: The Bureau’s international collaboration has extended to China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (“SASAC”), Ministry of Commerce for the People’s Republic of China, State Administration for Industry and Commerce, and the National Development and Reform Commission. The Bureau met with senior officials from SASAC in Ottawa on April 16, 2014.