The Competition Bureau

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The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.

What we do

We investigate anti‑competitive activities, protect consumers and promote competitive markets.

Investigate cartels

A cartel is a group of otherwise independent businesses whose concerted goal is to lessen or prevent competition among its participants. Typically, cartel members enter into an agreement or arrangement to engage in one or more anti‑competitive activities, such as fixing prices, allocating markets or customers, limiting production or supply, or rigging bids.

Review mergers

Under the Competition Act, mergers and proposed mergers of all sizes and in all sectors of the economy are subject to review to determine whether they have resulted, or will likely result, in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition. The Bureau must be notified of all proposed transactions that exceed certain monetary thresholds. Failure to notify is a criminal offence.

Prevent abuse of market power

The size of a business, even one that dominates a particular market, is not, in and of itself, contrary to the Competition Act. Businesses may seek to become large to achieve lower production costs or to compete against foreign and domestic competitors. However, when a dominant company exploits its market power in a way that interferes with competition in the marketplace, the Competition Act may apply.

Ensure truth in advertising

The Bureau promotes truth in advertising in the marketplace by discouraging deceptive business practices and encouraging the provision of sufficient information to enable informed consumer choice.

Advocate for competition

The Bureau participates in a wide range of activities to promote and advocate the benefits of a competitive marketplace, both in Canada and abroad. This includes recommending that regulators and policy makers rely on market forces as much as possible and that regulation, where required, limit competition as little as possible.

We administer four Laws

  • The Competition Act, a law governing most business conduct in Canada. It contains both criminal and civil provisions aimed at preventing anti‑competitive practices and misleading advertising in the marketplace.
  • The Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, a law governing the packaging, labelling, sale, importation and advertising of prepackaged products.
  • The Textile Labelling Act, a law governing the labelling, sale, importation and advertising of consumer textile articles.
  • The Precious Metals Marking Act, a law governing the marking of articles containing precious metals.

Benefits of competition

  • Provides consumers with competitive prices, product choices and the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions.
  • Strengthens businesses’ ability to adapt and compete in global markets.
  • Stimulates an efficient economy and encourages growth.
  • Gives small and medium‑sized businesses a better chance to compete and participate in the economy.
  • Balances the interests of consumers and producers, wholesalers and retailers, dominant, mid‑size and minor players, the public interest and the private interest.

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, the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act.

Legal actions

We have the ability to refer criminal matters to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who then decides whether to prosecute before the courts. We also have the power to bring civil matters before the Competition Tribunal or the courts, depending on the conduct in question and applicable legal provisions.

Written opinions

The Commissioner has the discretion to provide a binding written opinion to businesses seeking to comply with the Competition Act. Any person may request written opinions on whether proposed business plans and practices could raise concerns under the Act.

Questions or complaints

If you believe any of the laws under the Bureau’s jurisdiction have been breached, please fill out our online form, call, fax or write.

We are required by law to conduct our investigations in private. We keep the identity of the source and the information provided confidential, subject to certain exceptions.

For more information:

www.competitionbureau.gc.ca

Toll‑free: 1‑800‑348‑5358
National Capital Region: 819‑997‑4282
TTY (for hearing impaired): 1‑866‑694‑8389
Fax: 819‑997‑0324

Information Centre
Competition Bureau
50 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec  K1A 0C9

This publication is intended to provide basic information only. To learn more, please refer to the full text of the Acts or contact the Competition Bureau.

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