Fair Play


In its simplest sense, business is a lot like one of our favourite games:


And competition in business is like a couple of hockey teams that go out on the ice and try to win.

In business, you have two or more entities (teams) working in an industry or a sector…

everyone is focused on winning.

Your competitive environment could be anything from burgers to building management,

from aerospace… to nanospace, but it’s the same basic principle:

Healthy competition benefits all Canadians by increasing product choice, keeping prices low, and fostering innovation.

In hockey, if we simply turned the cameras on and let the teams play without:

  • rules and regulations (like offside and icing)
  • rules for players and coaches’ conduct on the ice … and off…
  • and referees and linesmen…

… the result would be unfair and confusing.

What holds it all together (for the most part) is structure, rules,

systems and people who enforce the rules and keep the game fair and clean. [scoreboard buzzer]

The Commissioner of Competition and the Bureau

are a lot like the referees who ensure fair play and call infractions data-during the game.

We’re here to be sure that people play by the rules,

and to observe how the game is played in order to ensure compliance with these rules.

Governed by the Competition Act and other laws (our rule book), we have the power

to seek corrective action against improper conduct.

Let’s talk about if one kids’ hockey team gathered players together that were forty pounds heavier,

five inches taller and three years older than every other team …

… they’d obviously be dominant.

If they headed out on the ice against smaller, younger players and played an overly physical and dirty game,

that would be what we call abuse of dominance.

We move into action when this sort of anti-competitive behaviour goes on.

Another example.

Imagine that there are only two hockey arenas in a community.

The owners of these arenas compete to sell ice time to local teams and others wanting to rent the ice.

Now suppose that the owners agree to merge their operations.

This merger could result in higher prices for ice time and/or a reduction in services offered.

While most mergers are pro-competitive and good for the economy, this one…doesn’t look good,

and it is possible we would review it to make sure the market remains competitive.

Here’s the next instance:

An out-of-town kids tournament is coming.

Buses will be needed, and the league seeks quotes for the best rental deal in town.

However, two bus operators get together to rig the bids

so that they could fix the outcome of the winning bid and charge a much higher price.

That’s bid-rigging: It’s a kind of fraud when businesses rig the outcome of a bidding process at consumers’ expense.

One more:

A team advertises free parking for all home games to anyone who buys season tickets online…

but hides the fact that the offer only applies to the most expensive seats.

Buyers of other seats could be misled, and have to fork out for parking at every game.

This is misleading advertising. Consumers are misled into paying much more than they expect… and that’s no good.

It’s really simple: play fair… and the game goes on: it’s business as usual.

Cut corners or cheat… and you may face serious consequences-large monetary penalties,

compensation for consumers, hefty fines or even lengthy jail terms.

By the way, we also encourage the public to report any wrongdoing.

It’s all about keeping the marketplace fair and competitive.

At the Competition Bureau, we are watching and reviewing and analyzing the game from ALL angles.

Hi, I am the Commissioner of Competition.

We, at the Bureau, simply ask businesses to play by the rules, and when they don’t,

we are committed to making sure they wind up “in the box”.

Compete to win and…play fair!

Video length: 4 minutes, 38 seconds

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