The Competition Bureau (French: Bureau de la concurrence) as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.
Headed by the Commissioner of Competition, the Bureau is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act.
The basic operating assumption of the Competition Bureau is that competition is good for both business and consumers.
The current Commissioner of Competition is John Pecman. He served as Senior Deputy Commissioner of Competition, Criminal Matters, before being appointed to his current position.
The Commissioner is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act and three labelling statutes, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Precious Metals Marking Act and the Textile Labelling Act.
Under the Competition Act, the Commissioner can launch inquiries, challenge civil and merger matters before the Competition Tribunal, make recommendations on criminal matters to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, and intervene as a competition advocate before federal and provincial bodies.
As head of the Canadian Competition Bureau, the Commissioner leads the Bureau's participation in international fora such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Competition Network (ICN), to develop and promote coordinated competition laws and policies in an increasingly globalized marketplace.
The Civil Matters Branch is responsible for detecting and deterring restrictive trade practices that have a negative impact on competition, such as abuse of dominance, refusal to deal, exclusive dealing, tied-selling and price maintenance. Activities of concern can also extend to certain types of anti-competitive agreements or arrangements of a non-criminal nature.
The Compliance and Operations Branch oversees the Bureau’s electronic evidence and conversion unit. It manages the Bureau’s Information Centre (1-800-line), as well as Bureau-wide planning, resource management, administration and informatics activities. The Branch also ensures that employees and managers have the necessary tools to conduct their work.
The Criminal Matters Branch is responsible for detecting, investigating, and deterring hard core cartels, including conspiracies, agreements or arrangements among competitors and potential competitors to fix prices, allocate markets or restrict supply, and bid-rigging. The Branch also actively reaches out to stakeholders engaged in procurement to enable them to detect and deter bid-rigging and other cartel activities.
The Economic Policy and Enforcement Branch provides economic advice and analysis in support of the Bureau’s enforcement investigations.
The Fair Business Practices Branch administers and enforces the provisions of the Competition Act on false or misleading representations and deceptive marketing practices. The Branch also enforces the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (except as it relates to food), the Precious Metals Marking Act and the Textile Labelling Act.
The Competition Bureau Legal Services of the Department of Justice is responsible for providing legal services to the Commissioner and for representing the Commissioner on all matters other than those for which the Public Prosecution Service of Canada is responsible.
The Competition Law Section of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada is responsible for initiating and conducting criminal prosecutions on behalf of the Attorney General of Canada and for advising the Bureau on criminal investigations.
The Legislative and International Affairs Branch advances fair and efficient competition principles by providing input through legislative, regulatory and policy development processes. Through the negotiation of trade and cooperation instruments, and active leadership in international competition fora, the Branch fosters strong relationships with key partners, advances and reinforces the Bureau’s enforcement priorities, and co-ordinates international efforts to promote competitive markets and effective competition law enforcement.
The Mergers Branch reviews merger transactions to assess whether mergers are likely to substantially prevent or lessen competition in the marketplace.
The Public Affairs Branch is responsible for the Bureau’s communications. It ensures that Canadian consumers, businesses, parliamentarians and the international community are aware of the Bureau’s contributions to competition in the marketplace and to the growth of the Canadian economy.