On February 7, 2022, the federal government announced plans to review the Competition Act – Canada’s key legislation for addressing monopoly power. As part of our mandate to support individuals and organizations in navigating and reforming Canadian competition law, CAMP has brought together advocates, researchers, and scholars to answer the question: what is needed from the review process to ensure it is fair, open, and inclusive? Together, we have drafted a letter outlining these needs.
If you or your organization would like to join as a signatory, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 9, 2022
Re: Consultation on the Competition Act
We applaud your leadership in championing the need for Canada to modernize its competition law and policy. The targeted amendments to the Competition Act as part of the most recent Budget Implementation Act sent a strong signal to Canadians that your government is serious about competition reform.
There is now the momentum to undertake the more expansive and wide-ranging review of current rules and enforcement tools required to develop a robust competition law and policy that is both adapted to our modern economy and reflective of the Canadian values of fairness and inclusion.
To accomplish this, the review process should be designed to actively seek the views of Canadians whose lives are directly impacted by our competition law. This means moving beyond the cloistered economic and legal community that has dominated policy and law reform discussions in the past. Canada’s competition law is felt in nearly every aspect of the daily lives of ordinary Canadians. This is why their voices must inform the future of this body of law.
To do so, the undersigned individuals and organizations request that any consultation on Canada’s competition law have the following characteristics:
- Format: the consultation should be open to all Canadians, and allow for direct submissions to departmental staff, not facilitated by a third-party or expert panel; the format should be accessible and accommodate the needs of those with disabilities
- Style: The consultation should be written in plain language that is easily understood by non-experts. Technical language should be avoided and should be clearly defined and supplemented with illustrative examples when necessary.
- Duration: to allow a wide variety of organizations and individuals to participate appropriately, the consultation should be open for submissions for at least 3 months.
- Scope: the consultation should not be limited to select areas of Canada’s competition law and should allow for comments on the role of competition in Canada’s broader socio-economic policy goals and related areas, such as privacy, consumer protection and data protection.
- Participants: departmental staff should make best efforts to publicize the consultation and include a broad range of participants, building on the example of regulators such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States.
- Output: any products bringing together the input provided by Canadians to the consultation should be developed by departmental staff, not any third-party. Any data collected should be made available, subject to applicable rules of confidentiality.
A consultation conducted with the above will give Canadians the confidence that the policy conversation is truly open and free of dominance by the same monopoly interests the law is designed to police. Your government had the courage to take the first steps to building law that protects Canadians and promotes free and fair competition, and we look forward to the next steps toward broader review and reform.
We thank you for your time and consideration.
Canadian Anti-Monopoly Project (CAMP)
Social Capital Partners
Kean Birch, Associate Professor, Co-Editor, Science as Culture, York University
Denise Hearn, Senior Fellow, American Economic Liberties Project and co-author, The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition
John Lawford, Executive Director / General Counsel, Public Interest Advocacy Center (PIAC)
Andrew Nixon, Arrell Scholar, PhD Candidate, University of Guelph
Jennifer Quaid, Professeure agrégée / Associate Professor, Vice-doyenne à la recherche / Vice-Dean Research, Section de droit civil / Civil Law Section, Faculté de droit / Faculty of Law, Université d’Ottawa / University of Ottawa
Dwayne Winseck, Professor at School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University and Director of the Canadian Media Concentration Research Project
Ben Klass, Consultant and PhD candidate at Carleton University School of Journalism and Communication
Patrick Leblond, Associate Professor and CN-Paul M. Tellier Chair on Business and Public Policy, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa.