Commissioner of Competition
John Pecman was appointed Commissioner of Competition on June 12, 2013, for a five‑year term.
Mr. Pecman is an economist with an M.A. from McMaster University and has worked at the Competition Bureau as an investigator, manager and executive for more than 30 years. He has worked in every enforcement branch at the Bureau, and has held increasingly senior positions since joining the organization in 1984.
Under Mr. Pecman's leadership, the Bureau's enforcement actions have preserved competition in a variety of major areas of the Canadian economy, including the automotive, manufacturing, e‑commerce, telecommunications and retail sectors. The results of these actions include criminal charges of rigging bids for the supply of water services to municipalities in Quebec; record customer refunds for mobile phone users deceived by false or misleading representations in advertisements for premium text message services; precedent‑setting remedies to protect competition in Ontario's water heater industry, including the first administrative monetary penalty for an offense under the abuse of dominance provision of the Competition Act; record fines imposed under the bid‑rigging provisions of the Act against suppliers of motor vehicle components; as well as consent agreements requiring significant divestitures in the Transcontinental/Quebecor newspaper acquisition, the Loblaw/Shoppers Drug Mart merger, the Sobeys/Safeway Canada merger and the Bell/Astral merger, which together preserved competition in the sale of advertising in community newspapers, in the retail grocery and pharmacy industries, and in the supply of pay and specialty television programming services.
In addition, Mr. Pecman is responsible for reinvigorating the Bureau's role in advocating for Canadian consumers by promoting the benefits of increased competition in regulated sectors of the economy. For example, the Bureau has made multiple submissions to the Canadian Radio‑television and Telecommunications Commission, including recommendations for increasing competition and consumer choice in television and mobile wireless services. Mr. Pecman also directed the creation of a new advocacy platform entitled The Competition Advocate, allowing the Bureau to share views on competition matters. The first edition was about the potential benefits of increased competition in the taxi industry from innovative new digital dispatch services.
Mr. Pecman realigned the Bureau's internal structure to create a stronger, more adaptive agency and maximize the impact of the Bureau's work for Canadians. Since 2015, the Bureau operates under a new organizational structure, improved decision‑making processes and an integrated strategic planning approach in order to increase organizational synergies, provide greater flexibility in allocating resources to strategic priorities, and establish a more complementary balance between the Bureau's enforcement and competition promotion activities.
Mr. Pecman has also initiated a 'shared compliance' approach to competition enforcement and promotion, recognizing that in addition to the Bureau's responsibility for enforcing Canada's competition laws, businesses are responsible for ensuring their compliance with those laws. Accordingly, the Bureau has revamped its Corporate Compliance Programs bulletin, created a dedicated corporate compliance unit, and created incentives for leniency applicants with "credible and effective" corporate compliance programs.
In 2013, Mr. Pecman introduced the Bureau's Action Plan on Transparency to promote the development of a more efficient and responsive agency, while providing Canadians with more opportunities to learn about the Bureau's work.
Mr. Pecman is a member of the executive bodies of the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD) Competition Committee and the International Competition Network (ICN). He currently serves as ICN‑OECD Liaison to ensure coordination of the work by these two international bodies.
Before his appointment as Commissioner, he held the position of Interim Commissioner beginning in September 2012. Prior to serving as Interim Commissioner, Mr. Pecman held the position of Senior Deputy Commissioner of the Criminal Matters Branch, where he directed significant criminal investigations, including retail gasoline cartel investigations in Ontario and Quebec, which resulted in multiple charges, guilty pleas, fines and jail sentences. As Senior Deputy Commissioner, he served as the Co‑Chair of the Enforcement Techniques Sub‑Group of the International Competition Network's Cartel Working Group.
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