Yesterday evening, Bill C-10 received Royal Assent, putting into effect the most significant changes to Canada’s competition and foreign investment laws in twenty-five years.

To learn about these significant changes, please click here. Some of them will not take effect immediately:

  1. Per se criminal liability for competitor agreements that fix prices, allocate markets or customers, or restrict supply will come into force in one year on March 12, 2010. Until then, the existing criminal conspiracy provision will continue to be the law. It requires the Crown to prove that competitor agreements "unduly" prevent or lessen competition in order to found criminal liability. Correspondingly, the new civil provision permitting review of competitor agreements that do not come within the per se categories, but that substantially prevent or lessen competition, will also come into force on March 12, 2010.
  2. The new thresholds under the Investment Canada Act are not yet in force, but are expected to be proclaimed in force by the Governor in Council in the coming days.

While some sections are not yet in force, the new national security review provisions in the Investment Canada Act will apply retroactively to February 6, 2009, the date Bill C-10 received first reading in the House of Commons.