Archived — 2014-2015 Annual Plan: Promoting Compliance for the Benefit of Canadian Consumers
May 5, 2014
The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that ensures Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.
Headed by the Commissioner of Competition, the Competition Bureau (Bureau) administers and enforces 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 Bureau will also administer Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation when it comes into force in July 2014.
We operate under the basic assumption that competition is good for both business and consumers. Healthy competition drives innovation and lower prices, which in turn means better value and choice.
The Bureau at a Glance
- Four enforcement branches
- Four enforcement support branches
- Legal services from Public Prosecution Service of Canada and the Department of Justice
- Staff in the National Capital Region and three regional offices: Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal
Our team of experts
- Competition law officers
- Policy analysts
- Forensic specialists
Responding to Canadians in 2013-2014
- Processed 8,000+ information requests
- Received 4,000+ complaints
- Responded to nearly 600 enquiries from journalists
- Received 619,000+ website visits
- Received 10 immunity applications
- Received 11 leniency applications
- Executed 14 search warrants
- Commenced 228 merger examinations
- Concluded 232 merger examinations
Transparency and awareness in 2013-2014
- Published 86 news releases and information notices describing the benefits of the Bureau’s activities to Canadians
- Published 11 position statements on merger reviews covering a variety of industries
- Engaged with Canadians through Facebook and Twitter accounts, and a YouTube channel
- For Fraud Prevention Month, posted a series of anti-fraud videos available on our website and shared through social media
- Released its Action Plan on Transparency in May 2013 as part of our ongoing effort to raise awareness of the Bureau’s role and enforcement approach
Promoting Compliance for The Benefit of Canadian Consumers
A competitive marketplace benefits Canada by spurring innovation and economic activity, and by delivering more choice and lower prices to consumers.
At the Bureau, we promote healthy competition through a balanced approach involving enforcement, advocacy, outreach and a focus on what we call "the four Cs": compliance, communication, collaboration and Canadians.
We work to ensure competitive markets and compliance with the legislation we oversee by collaborating with the business and legal communities and Canadians to achieve more than we can alone—for the benefit of consumers, businesses and the economy.
This approach is part of a transition we began in 2012–2013. It involves taking opportunities to engage in strategic interventions and encourage competition in regulated sectors, such as our written submissions to the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC), expanding our outreach efforts and, more recently, taking an active advocacy role in promoting healthy competition. All of this is carried out alongside focused, vigilant competition law enforcement to protect Canadian consumers and businesses from anti‑competitive activities.
Adopting an integrated approach will make our impact greater than the sum of our parts and will allow us to utilize the full set of tools at our disposal: communication, education, suasion and enforcement. It will also allow us to collaborate with our stakeholders and cooperate with our enforcement partners to strengthen our capacity and broaden our reach.
This 2014—2015 annual plan sets out the priorities we will pursue over the coming year as we continue our efforts to ensure Canadians benefit from a competitive and innovative marketplace.
Commissioner of Competition
Our Priorities for 2014–2015
The Bureau has set four priorities to pursue in the coming year:
1. Apply effective and integrated enforcement and administration of the Competition Act and labelling Statutes
The Bureau will utilize our full toolkit to ensure maximum compliance with the legislation we oversee as economically as possible, adopting collaborative approaches to enforcement. We will also, in 2014–2015, continue to consider the priorities of Canadians in focusing our enforcement efforts.
Over the course of the fiscal year, we will leverage and integrate all available tools to seek greater compliance with the Competition Act at a lower cost—taking fuller advantage of outreach, communication, advocacy, publications, voluntary compliance mechanisms, suasion and consent. Where appropriate, we will adopt collaborative enforcement approaches by working with other law enforcement agencies and/or and government agencies on specific cases or initiatives so as to better leverage our mutual resources.
The Bureau will advance operational improvements through enforcement policies and procedures. For example, the Bureau will continue to make greater use of evidence-handling software to assist with the review of document production. Following public consultations, the Bureau will revise our Intellectual Property Enforcement Guidelines and publish our new Enforcement Guidelines — Price Maintenance (Section 76 of the Competition Act).
2. Increase competition promotion efforts to advance a culture of compliance and competition advocacy
The Bureau will increase our competition promotion efforts through our advocacy, stakeholder outreach and communication functions.
We will complete our ongoing market studies and will initiate at least two other market studies. For transparency purposes, these studies will be listed in the Advocacy portal of the Bureau’s website.
The Bureau will broaden awareness of and support for competition principles to benefit Canadian businesses and consumers, and increase the competition-related advice we offer to other government departments, as appropriate. Throughout the year, the Bureau will meet with consumers, business and legal associations, companies and government departments to address key matters.
We will continue to diversify and strengthen partnerships with key regulators—for example, the CRTC, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, domestically and the Chinese, Indian and Latin American competition authorities, internationally. The Bureau will enhance our participation in multilateral fora, roundtables and workshops, by actively contributing to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Competition Committee and Committee on Consumer Policy and continuing a leadership role in the International Competition Network and the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network.
As part of our ongoing Action Plan on Transparency, we will continue to consult on important issues and provide guidance on investigations and stakeholder communications through the release of our Transparency Bulletin. We will also continue to publicize enforcement outcomes, issue consumer advisories and position statements, and expand the Bureau’s social media presence.
3. Align with and deliver on Government of Canada priorities
As an independent law enforcement agency, the Bureau sets and pursues our priorities in awareness of the broader Canadian context, the priorities of the Government of Canada, and the interests of the Canadian public as a whole.
In 2014-2015, the Bureau will complement a consumer agenda. Specifically, we will support the Government’s intention to address unjustified cross-border price discrimination to reduce the gap between consumer prices in Canada and the United States.
We will complete a market study on propane in collaboration with the National Energy Board, as requested by the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Industry. The Bureau will also complete our market study assessing differences at the production, distribution and retail levels of the beer industries in Quebec and Ontario. We will continue our advocacy efforts on telecommunications and wireless issues by intervening or making submissions before the CRTC, where appropriate, over the course of the year.
The Bureau will also begin implementing and enforcing Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, which comes into force on July 1, 2014, in collaboration with our partners.
4. Increase organizational synergies through our people, planning and systems
Through greater internal collaboration, the Bureau will better integrate our business processes and better utilize our deep, diverse skill sets to ensure fair, healthy competition in Canada as efficiently and effectively as possible.
To demonstrate fiscal restraint, allow for sound resource management, increase collaboration and enable high performance, the Bureau will maximize the use of our people, skills and experience by implementing a new organizational structure.
The Bureau will improve accountability and performance reporting by finalizing and implementing a Performance Measurement Strategy.
We will continue to support and implement all Government transformative activities related to information technology (IT) and information management including the transition of IT support to Shared Services Canada.
The Bureau will also identify training requirements and facilitate internal and external training opportunities, including those involving the Canadian Bar Association and law enforcement partners.
Connect With Us
Information Centre - Competition Bureau
Toll free: 1-800-348-5358
TTY (hearing impaired): 1‑866‑694‑8389
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