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Competition Bureau plan aimed at ‘protecting competition in uncertain times’

Monday, July 06, 2020 @ 4:00 PM | By Ian Burns

The Competition Bureau has published its 2020-2021 annual plan, which outlines the steps it will take in the coming year to protect Canadians as the country deals with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the plan, which is subtitled “Protecting competition in uncertain times,” the bureau said it will focus its enforcement efforts on key sectors of the economy, such as digital services, online marketing, financial services and infrastructure, while using all available tools to address anti-competitive activity, mergers and deceptive conduct, including warning letters, injunctions and other judicial proceedings.

In a message accompanying the report, Competition Commissioner Matthew Boswell said the bureau has “always played an essential role in making markets work for Canadians.”

“This year, as the world faces the significant economic impact and uncertainty arising from the COVID‑19 pandemic, the role of competition to empower consumers and drive our economy forward is more important than ever,” he said.

The bureau will also aim to encourage policymakers and regulators to consider competition and adopt pro-competitive policies to facilitate Canada's economic recovery while continuing to advocate for competition, with a focus on the health and telecommunications sectors by working with policymakers and regulators to provide evidence-based recommendations that improve competitive outcomes. In addition, a digital enforcement summit series will bring together domestic and international thought leaders who will share information on new enforcement tools, best practices and emerging issues.

“We will remain vigilant against potentially harmful anti-competitive activity, mergers and deceptive conduct,” said Boswell. “Enhanced intelligence-gathering methods and injunctions will be at the forefront of our efforts to ensure that Canadian consumers and businesses can thrive in the digital economy.”

The plan supports the bureau’s strategic vision for 2020-2024, which is intended to guide its efforts to become a world-leading competition agency that is at the forefront of the digital economy and champions a culture of competition for Canada.

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