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Competition Bureau Provides Guidance Regarding Enforcement of New Criminal Conspiracy and Civil Agreements Provisions

January-12-2010

Area Competition, Antitrust and Foreign Investment

Summary

The Competition Bureau (“Bureau”) has published guidelines regarding its enforcement of the new criminal conspiracy and civil agreements provisions (the “Guidelines”), clarifying that it will generally not seek to apply the new criminal law to dual distribution and franchise agreements. As reported in earlier updates, the criminal conspiracy provision of the Competition Act has been substantially changed to bring the law into closer conformity with U.S. cartel law. Effective March 12, 2010, all conspiracies, agreements or arrangements between competitors on price, output or sharing of markets (with limited exceptions) will potentially be subject to criminal prosecution, regardless of the actual or potential effect on competition. In addition, all other types of agreements or arrangements between competitors will be subject to a new civil law provision that provides for remedial action where such an agreement or arrangement prevents or lessens, or is likely to prevent or lessen, competition substantially in a market.

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