Under the Competition Act, mergers of all sizes and in all sectors of the economy are subject to review by the Commissioner of Competition to determine whether they will likely result in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition.
The Commissioner of Competition must be notified of all mergers that exceed certain size thresholds prior to completion. Failure to notify is a criminal offence.
In general, mergers are viewed positively as a means to increase competitiveness, allowing Canadians to benefit from lower prices, product choice and quality services. However, the Bureau pays close attention to the small portion of mergers that could substantially prevent or lessen competition in particular markets.
In reviewing mergers, the Bureau considers many different elements, including the level of economic concentration in the relevant industry and the merging parties' market shares. If the Commissioner of Competition determines that the merger is likely to affect competition, he may apply to the Competition Tribunal for an order to prevent, dissolve or alter the merger. More information regarding the merger provisions of the Competition Act is contained in the Merger Enforcement Guidelines.
In addition, the Commissioner of Competition must be notified of all mergers that exceed certain size thresholds prior to completion. Failure to notify is a criminal offence.
All parties contemplating business mergers are strongly encouraged to contact the Competition Bureau at the earliest opportunity or before submitting a notification filing.
Notifiable Transactions and Advance Ruling Certificates
The Notifiable Transactions provisions in the Competition Act require that parties notify the Competition Bureau of certain transactions when they are of a specific type, exceed certain thresholds and are not subject to any exemptions.
- 2016 pre‑merger notification transaction‑size threshold
- Fees and Service Standards Handbook for Mergers and Merger-Related Matters
- Fees and Service Standards Policy for Mergers and Merger-Related Matters
- Procedures Guide for Notifiable Transactions and Advance Ruling Certificates Under the Competition Act
- Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Updated Merger Guidance Documents
- How to file a merger notification
- Find a contact in the Mergers Notification Unit
- Notifiable Transactions — Forms
Remedies are required when a merger or proposed merger is likely to prevent or lessen competition substantially in one or more relevant markets.
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