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Ottawa Launches Formal Review Of Competition Act

 |  November 20, 2022

Ottawa has formally launched a long-promised consultation on updating Canada’s competition laws, a review that comes against the backdrop of high-profile files including a trial over the Rogers-Shaw merger and a study about high grocery prices.

Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne announced details of the review Thursday, tying the news to efforts by the government to make life more affordable for Canadians.

This is the first substantive review of the Competition Act in more than a decade and the government said the scope will be broad, from examining the very purpose of Canada’s laws, to the role and powers of the Competition Bureau, the arm’s-length law enforcement agency that polices the act.

Related: Canada Looks at Revising Its Competition Act

The review will also consider whether new or stronger criminal and financial penalties are needed as well as whether specific changes to the law are required to address digital and data-driven markets.

Champagne said all interested participants can provide written feedback over the next three months and that his department will also hold a series of roundtable discussions.

“I think this is a great first step and I applaud the government for taking it,” said Keldon Bester, co-founder of the Canadian Anti-Monopoly Project (CAMP) and a fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. “But it remains to be seen if both the government and the public can make the most of this opportunity to create a set of laws that truly serves Canadians as opposed to what we have today.”