Price maintenance is common in many markets and it can be pro‑competitive in many circumstances. However, issues can arise under the Competition Act where the conduct has had, is having or is likely to have an adverse effect on competition. This may occur if the conduct excludes rivals, prevents entry or limits competition in the marketplace.
When the Competition Act applies
The Act includes civil provisions that may apply to the following three types of price maintenance conduct:
- A person, by means of a threat, promise or agreement, influences upward, or discourages the reduction of, the price charged or advertised by that person’s customer or any other person to whom the product comes for resale; or
- A person refuses to supply a product to, or otherwise discriminates against, another person because of that other person’s low pricing policy; or
- A person, as a condition of doing business with a supplier, induces that supplier to refuse to supply a product to another person because of that other person’s low pricing policy;
Use of manufacturer’s suggested retail price
Manufacturers or distributors who make suggestions regarding resale prices should state clearly that their customers are under no obligation to accept the suggested prices. This can be achieved simply by including the statement “Dealers may sell for less” in price lists or advertisements, and adhering to this statement.
For more information on Price Maintenance, please visit the Preventing Abuse of Market Power section of the Bureau website.
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.
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.
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:
Toll free: 1‑800‑348‑5358
TTY (hearing impaired): 1‑866‑694‑8389
50 Victoria Street
Gatineau (Québec) 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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