Posted: March 12, 2010
Written by: Philip Watts
Today, significant changes to Canada’s Competition Act come into force. Since 1889, Canadian law has prohibited competitors from conspiring to fix prices, allocate customers or territory, limit the supply or lessen production of goods. The difficulty for prosecutors in enforcing the law has been to prove that the conduct of competitors conspiring together has harmed consumers. Beginning today, these conspiracies are illegal per se without the need to prove any harm to consumers and violators are now subject to much more severe criminal penalties.
These changes make Canadian Competition Law more similar to U.S. Antitrust Law. Many people in Canada are expecting to see an increase in prosecutions in Canada; these prosecutions may even become as common as antitrust cases are in the United States.
Because this is criminal law, pleading ignorance of the law as a defence will not get you anywhere with a judge. All individuals and businesses in Canada should ensure that they (and all their employees) are aware of this law and are complying with the new rules.