Effective merger control is the cornerstone of protecting Canadians from monopoly power. Mergers allow dominant firms to buy up their rivals, increasing the power they hold over a market and reducing options for consumers and businesses. Mergers are a key avenue reducing competitive intensity, and are often accompanied by higher prices, lower quality, and layoffs for the combined companies.
Canada’s competition law framework does not take the potential harms from mergers seriously enough to protect Canadians. Since the passage of the Competition Act in 1986, the Competition Bureau has only blocked a single merger successfully in court. This performance record reflects the preference of the court for allowing even harmful mergers, and results in conservative enforcers who are hesitant to take bold action to protect Canadians.
Believing that alleged efficiencies and economies of scale will benefit the Canadian economy, Canada’s merger law tolerates harms to everyday Canadians by allowing anti-competitive mergers. Canada’s merger law supports monopoly through mergers by trading off harms to Canadians in exchange for cost savings through Canada’s unique “efficiencies defense,” barring the Competition Bureau from challenging a merger one year after its closing date, no matter the subsequent harms to Canadians, only requiring merger remedies to remove the “substantial” from a substantial lessening or prevention of competition, rather than restoring competition and not allowing the Competition Bureau to analyze whether merger remedies reached through consent agreements actually solved the harms they are supposed to resolve.
By advocating for stronger merger laws, CAMP aims to promote organic growth and preserve competition and choice for Canadian consumers and businesses.