Competition Bureau—Filing a complaint

Q1 - How do I file a complaint?

You may make a general enquiry electronically regarding any of the laws under the Bureau's jurisdiction using the Competition Bureau Online Complaint/Enquiry Form. The form will be sent to the Information Centre where appropriate action will be taken.

We strongly suggest you use the Online Forms to file a complaint.

Q2 - How does the Bureau deal with complaints?

The Bureau conducts its investigations in private and keeps confidential the identity of the source and the information provided. However, if someone has important evidence about breaches to any of the laws under the Bureau's jurisdiction, that person may be asked to testify in court.

For complaints under the Competition Act, the information will be examined to determine whether a formal inquiry should be commenced. All inquiries are conducted in private. If an inquiry is opened, the Bureau may contact other customers or competitors to obtain more information.

During the inquiry stage, Bureau staff may use many tools at their disposal to determine the facts of the situation. They can apply for authorization from a court to search premises, examine or seize records, and question witnesses under oath.

For complaints under the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Textile Labelling Act, and the Precious Metals Marking Act, the information will be examined to determine whether an issue is raised under the legislation. Bureau staff have formal powers of inspection under these Acts, as well as a variety of remedial powers to address issues of non-conformity.

If it is determined that a complaint warrants further investigation, Bureau officers have a number of tools available to resolve competition issues. These tools are outlined in the Bureau's Conformity Continuum and include:

  • public education, written opinions, information contacts, voluntary codes of conduct, written undertakings and prohibition orders;
  • the legal authority with court authorization to search for and seize documents and other forms of evidence, to take sworn oral evidence and to demand the production of documents and records;
  • the ability to refer criminal matters to the Attorney General of Canada, who then decides whether to prosecute before the courts;
  • the power to bring civil matters before the Competition Tribunal or other courts depending on the issue;
  • the authority to make presentations and intervene on matters of competition policy before federal and provincial boards, tribunals and commissions such as the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and the National Transportation Agency.

Q3 - Can the Competition Bureau provide information relating to complaints about specific companies?

No. Under Section 29 of the Competition Act, there are restrictions on confidentiality with regards to complaints received and examined. If you feel a representation has been deceptive or misleading you may lodge a complaint and it will be assessed. Any complaint examined by the Competition Bureau must fall within the scope of the:.

  • Competition Act
  • Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act
  • Textile Labelling Act
  • Precious Metals Marking Act

Q4 - What happens after I make a complaint under the Competition Act?

The information will be examined to determine whether a formal inquiry should be commenced. All inquiries are conducted in private. If an inquiry is opened, the Bureau may contact other customers or competitors to obtain more information.

During the inquiry stage, Bureau staff may use many tools at their disposal to determine the facts of the situation. They can apply for authorization from a court to search premises, examine or seize records, and question witnesses under oath.

Q5 - What happens after I make a complaint under the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Textile Labelling Act, or the Precious Metals Marking Act?

The information will be examined to determine whether an issue is raised under the legislation. Bureau staff have formal powers of inspection under these Acts, as well as a variety of remedial powers to address issues of non-conformity.

In appropriate cases, criminal matters under any of the three statutes may be referred to the Attorney General for possible prosecution before the criminal courts. Civil law matters under the Competition Act may be referred to the Competition Tribunal or other courts for decision.

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