On August 8, 2011, the Competition Bureau provided guidance regarding the standard language parties can expect to see in standard “no action” letters issued in the context of merger reviews.

The Bureau’s approach better aligns the default language in no action letters with subsection 123(2) of the Competition Act and will no longer refer to the sufficiency of grounds to challenge. After September 1, 2011, “no action” letters will specify that:

“…the Commissioner does not, at this time, intend to make an application under section 92 in respect of the proposed transaction.”

For years, there has been a disconnect between the requirements of section 123 of the Competition Act for early termination of the initial 30-day waiting period under subsection 123(2) of the Act and the language actually used in “no action” letters, which granted such early termination, but mimicked the language used in advance ruling certificates issued under section 102 of the Act. The Bureau’s new standard language, while not changing the intended meaning of “no action” letters, aligns “no action” letters with the statutory requirements.