The act has not been fully updated since the 1980s
The Competition Bureau of Canada has recommended over 50 changes to the Competition Act in response to the federal government's ongoing consultation on Canada's future competition policy.
The Bureau's submission highlights the importance of competition in the marketplace, particularly in light of the "largest price increases in decades." The Bureau noted that stronger market competition helps make things more affordable for consumers and businesses. It also fuels economic growth by giving new businesses an equal opportunity to compete.
The Bureau pointed out that Canadian competition law is often described as "outdated." The Competition Act has yet to be fully updated since the 1980s. The Bureau said in a press release that the government's steps toward policy reform, the amendments to the act in June 2022, and the ongoing consultation had encouraged the Bureau to keep the momentum to make Canadian laws fit for the modern economy.
The Bureau's submission built on its previous comments on Canada's competition policy framework. It recommended significant improvements to the act, including:
- Re-tooling the act's merger review framework to address issues with the market concentration and harm to the public interest in competition;
- Giving the Bureau formal information-gathering powers for market studies; and
- Streamlining investigative and judicial processes to make them timelier and more efficient.
The advice was based on the Bureau's experience administering and enforcing the act and international best practices. The Bureau said the recommended changes would better protect and promote competitive markets, allowing the Bureau to identify competition issues more efficiently and provide evidence-based advice to policymakers while delivering more timely results for Canadians.
"We must take action to ensure that our competition law and policy are fit for the modern economy. The Competition Act is the toolkit we use every day to protect and promote competition for Canadians. With sharper, more modern tools, we believe we can achieve more for the benefit of all Canadians," competition commissioner Matthew Boswell said.