International working group targets potential collusion by competitors in supply and distribution of goods

News release

February 17, 2022 – GATINEAU, QC – Competition Bureau

The Competition Bureau has joined the competition authorities of the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom in a new working group focussed on sharing information to identify and prevent potentially anticompetitive conduct in the global supply and distribution of goods.

The working group brings together the Bureau, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the New Zealand Commerce Commission and the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority.

In light of pandemic-related disruptions to global markets, the five competition authorities will share information on potentially anticompetitive conduct affecting global and domestic supply chains. The purpose of the working group is to help identify attempts by businesses to use supply chain disruptions as a cover for price-fixing or other collusive activities that involve competitors cooperating instead of competing with each other.

Competitive prices and product choices are vital to consumers and businesses, particularly those struggling to make ends meet in the wake of the pandemic. Competitive markets also play a key role in driving economic recovery and growth, to the benefit of all Canadians.

The Competition Bureau will work closely with its international counterparts and will not hesitate to take action against any conduct in violation of Canada’s Competition Act

Quotes

“While the Competition Bureau has offered businesses flexibility in contributing to legitimate pandemic response efforts that benefit Canadians, we want to be clear: we have zero tolerance for any attempts to use pandemic-related supply chain disruptions as a cover for criminal collusion that harms consumers and damages Canada’s economy.”

- Matthew Boswell
Commissioner of Competition

Quick facts

  • International cooperation and coordination is a crucial part of effective competition law enforcement.

  • This new working group complements a number of existing cooperation agreements with competition agencies in the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand designed to improve the effectiveness of competition investigations that impact multiple jurisdictions.

  • In September 2020, the Multilateral Mutual Assistance and Cooperation Framework for Competition Authorities (MMAC) was established by the Competition Bureau, the US Department of Justice, US Federal Trade Commission, the UK Competition and Markets Authority, the New Zealand Commerce Commission, and the ACCC.

  • Those who have information about a possible violation of the Competition Act are encouraged to contact the Competition Bureau.

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The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that protects and promotes competition for the benefit of Canadian consumers and businesses. Competition drives lower prices and innovation while fueling economic growth.

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