Today, the Competition Bureau published the final version of its revised Competitor Collaboration Guidelines. These updates are intended to provide clarity to the business and legal communities on how to identify and avoid the types of collaboration that can harm competition.
The guidelines, which were first issued in 2009, provide an overview of the Bureau’s general approach to assessing existing and proposed collaborations between competitors under the criminal conspiracy and civil agreements provisions of the Competition Act.
The updates reflect the Bureau’s experience reviewing competitor collaborations, as well as relevant decisions of the Competition Tribunal and the courts since the 2009 amendments to the Act. They also reflect feedback carefully reviewed by the Bureau following a public consultation in July 2020.
Notable updates to the guidelines include:
- providing greater context regarding the types of evidence the Bureau will consider in assessing whether firms are competitors; and
- clarifying the Bureau’s approach to agreements between competitors for the purchase of products, as highlighted in its recent statement from November 2020.
The guidelines are for general application and were not updated in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bureau will continue to review and update its guidelines in light of experience, changing circumstances and court decisions.