Sector Inquiries By Competition Bureau (Bill C-452) Deliberated By Industry Committee

Author:Ms Susan Hutton
Profession:Stikeman Elliott LLP

Bill C-452 proposes to give the Commissioner of Competition and the Competition Bureau broad powers to review the state of competition in entire industry sectors, absent grounds to believe that the Competition Act has been violated. The Bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (Parliament, House of Commons) in June, 2010. The Committee has now asked for an extension of its review, beyond February 1, 2010, in order to enable it to hear from a wide range of witnesses prior to clause-by-clause review.

Currently, the Commissioner's extensive investigative powers can only be used in relation to an "inquiry" which requires that grounds exist for believing either than an offence has been committed under the criminal provisions of the Competition Act, or that grounds exist for the Tribunal to make an order under one of the civil provisions of the Act. There is no explicit power for the Commissioner to inquire into the state of competition in an industry, absent allegations of wrong-doing under the Act. A predecessor to the Competition Bureau...

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