Minister Champagne maintains the Competition Act’s merger notification threshold and extends the Competition Act consultation
Pre-merger notification transaction-size threshold to remain at $93 million, while deadline to participate in competition consultation extended to March 31, 2023
February 2, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario
A competitive economy is a fair, innovative and prosperous economy. That is why the Government of Canada remains committed to do everything it can to improve competition and affordability, and will use every tool available to ensure that the Canadian economy is strong, resilient and creates jobs and prosperity.
Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced that he will maintain the transaction-size threshold for the advance notification of mergers under the Competition Act (the Act) for 2023 at $93 million. This is the second year in a row that the Minister has maintained the threshold. This will ensure that potentially harmful deals are fully scrutinized by the Competition Bureau. It also reflects the government’s ongoing commitment to see more competition in the marketplace through a robust enforcement framework.
In November 2022, the government launched the Competition Act review. Recognizing the significant interest from stakeholders across Canada, today, Minister Champagne also announced the extension of the deadline for Canadians to submit their comments to March 31, 2023.
In addition to providing $96 million to the Competition Bureau in Budget 2021 to enhance its enforcement capacity, the government made targeted improvements to the Act in June 2022 to strengthen the Competition Bureau’s powers, in order to protect Canadian consumers, workers, and small and medium businesses from anti-competitive and deceptive conduct. These amendments aligned the Act more closely with international best practices, notably through more proportionate maximum penalties and a broadened scope of anti-competitive conduct that the Competition Bureau may review.
Since then, the Competition Bureau has worked diligently to inform stakeholders of, and consult them on, the new provisions of the Act and it has invited interested parties to provide comments on its new guidelines addressing wage-fixing and no-poaching agreements before March 3, 2023.
“Canadians are rightfully worried about the rising cost of living. That’s why our government continues to do everything it can to make life more affordable, including ensuring a more competitive marketplace. I also trust that the Competition Bureau will ensure a fair and vigorous enforcement of the law, keeping a close eye on any evidence of foul play from companies taking advantage of global inflationary pressures, including in the food, energy, transportation and tech sectors. I also trust the Bureau will take swift action when necessary.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Under the merger provisions of the Competition Act, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry has the power to review the pre-merger notification threshold annually.
The Minister may leave the threshold unchanged or may adjust it using the indexing mechanism set out in the Competition Act, which is based on change in Canada’s nominal GDP, or prescribe a different amount to be established by regulation.
On November 17, 2022, the government launched a public consultation to hear Canadians’ views on broader changes to the Act and its enforcement framework that will help the Competition Bureau better protect consumers and the integrity of the marketplace.
Concurrently, the Competition Bureau is presently consulting Canadians on new guidance related to wage fixing and no-poaching agreements. Wage-fixing and no-poaching agreements between employers will be criminally prohibited following amendments made to the Competition Act last summer. This provision will come into force on June 23, 2023.
Senior Manager, Communications
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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