Issues the Bureau deals with

The Competition Bureau, as a law enforcement agency, 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.

It is important to understand what type of conduct is investigated by the Bureau. Your complaint might be outside the Bureau’s jurisdiction. The following information will help you to determine if you should file a complaint with the Bureau.

Types of anti‑competitive activities investigated by the Bureau include:

Price-fixing: When competitors agree on the prices that they will charge their customers.

Bid-rigging: When, in response to a call or request for bids or tenders, one or more bidders agree not to submit a bid, or two or more bidders agree to submit bids that have been prearranged among themselves.

False or misleading representations: When materially false or misleading representations are made knowingly or recklessly to the public.

Deceptive notice of winning a prize: When a notice, sent by any means, gives a recipient the impression of winning a prize and requires the recipient to incur a cost to obtain the prize.

Abuse of dominant position: When a dominant firm engages in anti‑competitive practices or engages in conduct that substantially lessen competition in a market, or is likely to do so.

Exclusive dealing, tied selling and market restrictions: When a supplier requires or induces a customer to deal only, or mostly, in certain products; requires or induces a customer to buy a second product as a condition of supplying a particular product; requires a customer to sell specified products in a defined market.

Refusal to deal: When someone is substantially affected in his or her business, or is unable to carry on business, because of the inability to obtain adequate supplies of a product on usual trade terms.

Mergers: When all or part of one business is acquired by another. The Bureau has the authority to review any merger, regardless of its size. However, the Bureau must be notified when the target’s assets in Canada or revenues from sales in or from Canada generated from those assets exceed $92 million, and when the combined Canadian assets or revenues of the parties and their respective affiliates in, from or into Canada exceed $400 million.

Multi-level marketing plans and schemes of pyramid selling: Multi-level marketing, when it operates within the limits set by the Competition Act, is a legal business activity, while a scheme of pyramid selling is illegal as defined by the law.

Deceptive telemarketing: When a product's representation is false or misleading while promoting the supply of a product or a business interest during person-to-person telephone calls.

Deceptive marketing practices: When a product is advertised at a bargain price and is not supplied in reasonable quantities; when a product is supplied at a price above the advertised price; when retailers make "regular price" claims without selling a substantial volume of the product, or offering the product, at that price or a higher price in good faith for a substantial period of time; or when a contest, lottery, or game of chance or skill is conducted without making adequate and fair disclosure of facts that affect the chances of winning.

The Bureau has the ability to refer criminal matters to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, who then decides whether to prosecute before the courts. The Bureau also has the power to bring civil matters before the Competition Tribunal or other courts depending on the issue.

Have a look at various issues the Bureau does not deal with:

  • Bad service dealings with a person or business
  • Billing problems
  • Collection agency harassment/problems
  • Contractual disputes
  • Information enquiry about a person’s and/or a business’ reputation or legitimacy
  • Refund issues
  • Store return and/or refund policy
  • Unethical behaviour issues