Transport Canada to conduct public interest assessment regarding proposed acquisition of Sunwing Vacations and Sunwing Airlines

Transport Canada

On April 8, 2022, WestJet Airlines Ltd. and Sunwing Travel Group notified the Minister of Transport that WestJet proposes to acquire Sunwing Vacations and Sunwing Airlines. This notification was in accordance with the mergers and acquisitions provisions of the Canada Transportation Act.

The Minister of Transport has determined that the transaction raises public interest considerations related to national transportation. As such, a public interest assessment of the proposed transaction will be conducted with input from the Commissioner of Competition, who will assess impacts on competition.

The public interest assessment will include consultations with the air industry and other stakeholders, other government departments, other levels of government, as well as the public. The assessment will include an analysis of the economic benefits or challenges resulting from the proposed transaction. Canadians are encouraged to have their say on letstalktransportation.ca.

Under the Canada Transportation Act, Transport Canada has up to 150 days to complete this public interest assessment. However, the Minister has the authority to grant an extension should extra time be necessary. Considering the size and scope of the proposed transaction, an extra 50 days has been granted to both Transport Canada and the Commissioner of Competition, to ensure sufficient time for thorough analysis and assessment.

The Department now has up to 200 days (until December 5, 2022) to complete the public interest assessment and provide it to the Minister. The Minister would then provide a recommendation to the Governor in Council (Cabinet) concerning the proposed purchase. The Minister’s recommendation would incorporate the findings of the Commissioner’s report on competition considerations. There is no legislated timeline for the Minister to make his recommendation or for the Governor in Council to make a final decision.

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