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Archived — Competition Bureau cracks down on joint abuse of dominance by waste companies

OTTAWA, June 16, 2009 — The Competition Bureau has reached an agreement with Waste Services (CA) Inc. (WSI) and Waste Management of Canada Corporation (WM) to stop abusing their jointly dominant position in commercial waste collection services in central Vancouver Island.

WSI and WM were foreclosing competition by using long-term contracts that locked in customers and included similar, and highly restrictive, terms such as automatic renewal clauses, liquidated damages (significant penalties for early contract termination) and rights of first refusal. These contracts resulted in substantially less competitive markets for commercial waste collection services in central Vancouver Island, leading to higher prices and reduced choice for businesses.

"The Bureau is pleased that we were able to work with the parties to ensure that Vancouver Island customers of commercial waste collection services, many of which are small and medium-sized businesses, can benefit from more competitive markets," said Melanie L. Aitken, Interim Commissioner of Competition. "The Bureau takes anti‑competitive practices by jointly dominant companies seriously."

The Bureau commenced an inquiry late last year after receiving complaints that WSI and WM were abusing a jointly dominant position in the supply of commercial waste collection services to customers such as restaurants, schools and apartment complexes in certain communities on Vancouver Island.

Pursuant to an agreement filed with the Competition Tribunal, the companies have agreed to rewrite their contracts to resolve the Bureau's concerns. The consent agreement, which has a term of seven years, can be found on the Competition Tribunal Web site.

The Competition Bureau is an independent agency that contributes to the prosperity of Canadians by protecting and promoting competitive markets and enabling informed consumer choice.

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For general enquiries, please contact:
Information Centre
Competition Bureau
Telephone: 819-997-4282
Toll free: 1-800-348-5358
TTY (hearing impaired): 1‑866‑694‑8389

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