On September 26, 2012, John Pecman was appointed as the new Interim Commissioner of Competition, to lead the Competition Bureau until a new Commissioner of Competition is appointed. In announcing Mr. Pecman’s appointment the Minister of Industry, the Honourable Christian Paradis said “"With nearly 30 years of experience at the Bureau, Mr. Pecman has a keen understanding of competition law and marketplace conduct."
Mr. Pecman joined the Competition Bureau in 1984 and has worked extensively in the enforcement branches of the Competition Bureau, the agency that he now heads as Interim Commissioner. He has been involved in numerous leading cases as the senior officer, some of which were resolved on consent or by guilty plea, others of which were contested before the Competition Tribunal.
Mr. Pecman was involved in the 1986 Palm Dairies case at the Competition Tribunal, a case which was notable for a debate over the Tribunal’s role in approving remedies that had been agreed with the merging parties (ultimately the legislation was amended to remove Tribunal oversight of negotiated remedies). He was a Competition Law Officer in the Mergers Branch when it was created in 1987, following the 1986 amendments to the Competition Act that created the modern competition law regime, including the pre-merger filing and merger challenge provisions.
Mr. Pecman was next appointed Senior Competition Law Officer in the Civil Matters Branch where he was the lead officer on the Laidlaw contested abuse of dominance litigation, where the Director of Investigation and Research (as the Commissioner was then known) prevailed. He also worked on the Interac matter which resulted in a remedial order being issued on consent.
In 1995, Mr. Pecman moved back to the Mergers Branch, where he was involved as Senior Competition Law Officer in a number of transactions where consent remedial orders were made, including ADM Agri-Industries/Maple Leaf Mills, Canadian Waste Services/Capital Environmental Resources, Abitibi-Consolidated/Donohue and Lafarge/Blue Circle. He was also the lead officer on the hotly contested Superior Propane merger litigation, a key milestone in Canadian merger law.
In 2001, Mr. Pecman moved to the Civil Matters Branch where he was the Assistant Deputy Commission and directed the filing of the Canada Pipe abuse of dominance proceeding - another hotly contested Canadian competition law landmark - as well as the Enbridge Services abuse of dominance proceeding which was resolved on consent.
In 2008, Mr. Pecman became the Senior Deputy Commissioner of the Criminal Matters Branch, which enforces the cartel and bid-rigging law. He was in charge of that branch when the new cartel law came into force in March, 2010. While in charge of the Criminal Matters Branch Mr. Pecman oversaw the Bureau's role in the retail gasoline investigations in Ontario and Quebec, where multiple charges have been laid and guilty pleas entered, in some cases resulting in custodial orders, and has worked closely with foreign competition authorities in multi-jurisdictional cartel cases. Mr. Pecman is also currently a Co-Chair of the Cartel Working Sub-Group on Investigative Techniques for the International Competition Network (an international forum for competition law enforcement agencies).
Mr. Pecman is an economist, with an M.A. from McMaster University. His appointment follows Melanie Aitken’s resignation as Commissioner of Competition.
Mr. Pecman has a strong enforcement background, having resolved some cases on consent but also having litigated others. His enforcement history spans a wide range of industries. The Minister of Industry has chosen a highly experienced enforcer to lead the Competition Bureau.