Transport Canada to conduct a public interest assessment regarding proposed purchase of Transat A.T. Inc. by Air Canada
August 26, 2019 Ottawa Transport Canada
On July 17, Air Canada and Transat A.T. Inc. notified the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, of a proposed transaction whereby Air Canada would acquire Transat A.T. Inc. This notification was in accordance with the mergers and acquisitions provisions of the Canada Transportation Act.
The Minister of Transport has determined that the transaction raises public interest issues related to national transportation. As such, a public interest assessment of the proposed transaction will be conducted with input from the Commissioner of Competition, who will assess impacts on competition.
The public interest assessment will include targeted consultations with the air industry and other stakeholders, other levels of government and the public, as well as an analysis of the economic benefits or challenges resulting from the proposed transaction. Consultation will begin on November 4, 2019.
Under the Canada Transportation Act, Transport Canada has up to 150 days to complete this public interest assessment. However, the Minister has the authority to grant an extension should extra time be necessary. Considering the size and scope of the proposed transaction, an extra 100 days has been granted to both Transport Canada and the Commissioner of Competition, to ensure sufficient time for thorough analysis and assessment.
The Department now has 250 days (until May 2, 2020) to complete the public interest assessment and provide it to the Minister. The Minister would then provide a recommendation to the Governor in Council (Cabinet) concerning the proposed purchase. The Minister’s recommendation would incorporate the findings of the Commissioner’s report on competition considerations. There is no legislated timeline for the Minister to make his recommendation or for the Governor in Council to make a final decision.
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