What is the Competition Bureau?
The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.
Headed by the Commissioner of Competition, the Bureau is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (except as it relates to food), the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act.
The basic operating assumption of the Competition Bureau is that competition is good for both business and consumers.
- makes the economy work more efficiently;
- strengthens businesses' ability to adapt and compete in global markets;
- gives small and medium businesses an equitable chance to compete and participate in the economy;
- provides consumers with competitive prices, product choices and the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions; and
- balances the interests of consumers and producers, wholesalers and retailers, dominant players and minor players, the public interest and the private interest.
The types of anti‑competitive activities investigated by the Bureau include:
When competitors agree on the prices that they will charge their customers.
When, in response to a call or request for bids or tenders, one or more bidders agree not to submit a bid, or two or more bidders agree to submit bids that have been prearranged among themselves.
False or misleading representations:
When materially false or misleading representations are made knowingly or recklessly to the public.
Deceptive notice of winning a prize:
When a notice, sent by any means, gives a recipient the impression of winning a prize and requires the recipient to incur a cost to obtain the prize.
Abuse of dominant position:
When a dominant firm engages in anti‑competitive practices that substantially lessen competition in a market, or are likely to do so.
Exclusive dealing, tied selling and market restrictions:
When a supplier requires or induces a customer to deal only, or mostly, in certain products; requires or induces a customer to buy a second product as a condition of supplying a particular product; requires a customer to sell specified products in a defined market.
Refusal to deal:
When someone is substantially affected in his or her business, or is unable to carry on business, because of the inability to obtain adequate supplies of a product on usual trade terms.
When all or part of one business is acquired by another. The Bureau has the authority to review any merger, regardless of its size. However, the Bureau must be notified when the target’s assets in Canada or revenues from sales in or from Canada generated from those assets exceed $87 million, and when the combined Canadian assets or revenues of the parties and their respective affiliates in, from or into Canada exceed $400 million.
Multi-level marketing plans and schemes of pyramid selling:
Multi-level marketing, when it operates within the limits set by the Competition Act, is a legal business activity, while a scheme of pyramid selling is illegal as defined by the law.
When a product's representation is false or misleading while promoting the supply of a product or a business interest during person-to-person telephone calls.
Deceptive marketing practices:
When a product is advertised at a bargain price and is not supplied in reasonable quantities; when a product is supplied at a price above the advertised price; when retailers make "regular price" claims without selling a substantial volume of the product, or offering the product, at that price or a higher price in good faith for a substantial period of time; or when a contest, lottery, or game of chance or skill is conducted without making adequate and fair disclosure of facts that affect the chances of winning.
The Bureau has the ability to refer criminal matters to the AG of Canada, who then decides whether to prosecute before the courts. The Bureau also has the power to bring civil matters before the Competition Tribunal or other courts depending on the issue.
For more information or to file a complaint about an alleged anti‑competitive business practice, please visit the Questions and complaints page.
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