The Bureau is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act.
The Bureau resolves competition issues in many ways. Among other things, it may seek legal action by referring criminal matters under any of the four statutes to the Director of Public Prosecutions of Canada for possible prosecution. Non-criminal matters under the Competition Act may be referred to the Competition Tribunal or other courts for decision. The Bureau may choose to use alternative case resolutions (ACR) or issue public alerts to educate consumers and business about certain anti‑competitive practices. It may also contact parties directly to encourage voluntary compliance with its laws.
Protecting and promoting competitive markets
The Bureau uses a wide range of education, compliance and enforcement tools. They 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.
Additional information about these tools is available in our Competition and Compliance Framework Bulletin.
The Competition Bureau's approach to the administration and enforcement of its Acts is based on five governing principles: transparency, fairness, timeliness, predictability and confidentiality.
Transparency: The Bureau will be as open as the law and confidentiality requirements permit.
Fairness: Refers to striking the right balance between voluntary compliance and enforcement, while responding to many competing interests.
Timeliness: Demands that decisions be made as quickly as possible to avoid costly delays.
Predictability: Involves providing appropriate background material on Bureau positions and important issues to assist the business community in conducting its affairs in a manner that complies with the law.
Confidentiality: Requires that the Bureau use all available means appropriate to the circumstances to protect confidential or commercially sensitive information provided to it by the business and legal communities or any other source.
Conflict of interest
The Bureau follows Department of Justice Canada rules and criteria on conflicts regarding the engagement of outside counsel.
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