Canada's competition enforcer to focus on 'active enforcement,' be quicker to head to court

02 Apr 2020 12:37 pm by Richard Vanderford

Canada's Competition Bureau intends to step up enforcement and more quickly challenge companies in court, bureau head Matthew Boswell said today.

The bureau intends to consider asking for injunctions more frequently, be quicker to litigate discovery disputes and to bring more difficult cases, Boswell said at a conference in Toronto.

"Active enforcement will be an area of of primary focus, and the bureau won't hesitate to take appropriate action to safeguard Canadians against anticompetitive conduct," Boswell said.

"We will bring forward principled cases and we won’t hesitate to move to litigation when we cannot reach a reasonable and appropriate consensual resolution," he told lawyers in his first major speech since he was appointed commissioner.

Enforcement will focus on sectors that "resonate" with Canadians and the burgeoning digital economy, Boswell said.

The bureau has several high-profile investigations or actions ongoing, including a prosecution involving an alleged bread cartel, an investigation into the fares of WestJet airline and an action over Ticketmaster's allegedly deceptive "drip pricing."

The Competition Bureau will also continue to prioritize online selling, he said.

The bureau knows a more litigation-heavy strategy could mean more losses, but Boswell said the agency is prepared for failure and that any litigation losses would still provide guidance on the law.

Boswell, a former crown prosecutor and securities enforcer, was appointed to the bureau's top job in March after nearly a year serving as acting head.

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