2024-2025 Annual Plan – Onwards and upwards: Strengthening competition for Canadians

April 30, 2024

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Message from the Commissioner

I’m happy to present the Competition Bureau’s Annual Plan for 2024-2025, which comes at a turning point in competition enforcement and promotion in Canada.

The Government of Canada recently made significant changes to the Competition Act as part of its ongoing efforts to modernize Canada’s competition laws. These important changes have strengthened the Bureau’s ability to protect and promote competition for the benefit of both consumers and businesses.

And so, in the coming year, we will focus on leveraging the new tools in our toolbox as we take enforcement action and promote competition so all Canadians can benefit from lower prices, better services, and more choice.

The three pillars of our Strategic Vision—protecting Canadians through enforcement, promoting competition in Canada, and investing in our organization—will continue to guide us as we strive to be a world-leading competition agency, one that is at the forefront of the digital economy and champions a culture of competition for Canada.

On the enforcement side, we will work to implement the changes to the Competition Act and use all the tools at our disposal to prevent, detect and stop anti-competitive activity. We will continue to focus on sectors of the economy that matter the most to Canadians and to prioritize areas that will have the biggest impact on affordability.

On the competition promotion side, we will examine ways of increasing competition in a key sector of the economy by conducting a market study under the Competition Act’s strengthened framework. We will also continue to champion a whole-of-government approach to increasing competition, one in which all levels of government are guided by the same recognition: that we can build a better, stronger economy when municipal, provincial, territorial and federal policies are all designed to nurture competition, not to restrict it.

Lastly, we will continue to invest in our organization by giving our staff opportunities to learn and grow. We will continue to increase the diversity of our workforce to better reflect and benefit from the diversity of the Canadian population. And we will continue to ensure that our enforcement strategies keep pace with new business practices and technological advancements in the digital economy.

By applying our strengthened laws with a sharp focus on making Canada’s economy more competitive, the Bureau will do everything in its power to deliver the benefits of competition to Canadians.

Matthew Boswell
Commissioner of Competition

Protecting Canadians through enforcement action

Strategic Vision

  • Desired outcomes
    • Consumers and businesses enjoy the benefits of competition, particularly in key sectors of the economy that matter most to Canadians.
    • Anti-competitive activity is detected and addressed early.
    • New and innovative tools are used to enhance our capabilities to process large volumes of data and digital evidence, enabling investigations to hone in on proactive evidence more quickly.
  • Objectives
    • Take timely action on matters that are important to Canadians using all the tools at our disposal.
    • Increase proactive enforcement and leverage amendments to the Competition Act to better protect Canadians from anti-competitive activity.
    • Be a leader in the gathering, processing and analyzing of data and digital evidence.

What we will do in 2024-2025

  • Use all of the tools at our disposal to prevent, detect and address anti-competitive activity.
    • Implement legislative changes to the Competition Act, and apply the new tools provided by those legislative changes to prevent, detect and address anti-competitive activity. This includes ensuring a comprehensive update of our enforcement guidelines to align with evolving legislation.
    • Continue to be ready to bring cases to court, and to use the tools that allow the courts to stop anti-competitive activity as quickly as possible.
    • Continue efforts to ensure the merger program is properly funded for the future so that we can efficiently and effectively investigate and assess mergers.
    • Use the expertise of the Digital Enforcement and Intelligence Branch to strengthen our work at every stage of an investigation.
    • Prioritize the application of inclusive competition principles in our work, ensuring we contribute to the advancement of competitive markets for all Canadians.
  • Focus on sectors of the economy that matter to Canadians.
    • Continue to focus on key sectors of the economy, including online marketing, telecommunications, financial services, health, and infrastructure.
    • Prioritize investigations of anti-competitive conduct and mergers that make everyday life less affordable for Canadians, such as in the retail grocery and food supply sector.
    • Continue to crack down on deceptive marketing practices in relation to environmental claims (“greenwashing”) and junk fees in the form of drip pricing.

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Promoting competition in Canada

Strategic Vision

  • Desired outcomes
    • Regulators and policymakers, at all levels of government, give increased consideration to competition when designing, reviewing and amending regulations and policies.
    • We have a stronger role and presence on the domestic and international stage to enhance the Bureau’s enforcement and promotion efforts.
    • Our expertise contributes to positioning the Canadian economy for success in the digital age.
    • Businesses of all sizes are aware of their obligations under Canada’s competition and labelling laws.
    • Consumers and businesses are aware of how they can protect themselves from anti-competitive and deceptive practices.
  • Objectives
    • Seize opportunities to encourage competition and innovation in areas that matter to Canadians, particularly through championing a whole-of-government approach to enhancing competition.
    • Play a leadership role, both domestically and internationally, in adapting to the impact of the digital economy on competition policy.
    • Build awareness of consumer and competition issues through enhanced plain language and inclusive communication, outreach and engagement.

What we will do in 2024-2025

  • Encourage policy makers and regulators to adopt pro-competitive policies that drive Canada's inclusive economic growth.
    • Publish revised guidance on market studies to align with legislative changes to the Competition Act.
    • Advocate for pro-competitive policies and champion a whole-of-government approach to enhancing competition in Canada. In line with this, continue to improve awareness and leverage the Competition Assessment Toolkit to encourage policymakers at all levels of government to prioritize competition in their everyday work.
    • Host Canada’s Competition Summit focused on the intersection of competition and artificial intelligence.
  • Advocate for increased competition in sectors that matter to Canadians.
    • Conduct a market study under the revised powers of the Competition Act.
    • Report on research regarding the potential of data portability to unlock competition and empower consumers in the digital economy.
  • Create and deepen international and domestic relationships.
    • Participate and be a leader in international organizations and networks to advance the application of competition enforcement and policy. Additionally, continue to pursue new international collaborations to jointly prioritize the next generation of competition enforcement.
    • Engage with domestic partners and pursue new collaboration tools and frameworks to identify best practices and share information, where appropriate.
    • Continue to participate in the Canadian Digital Regulators Forum to strengthen information sharing and collaboration on matters that relate to digital markets and platforms.
  • Expand our outreach and promotion efforts to reach a broader, more diverse audience of Canadian consumers and businesses.
    • Continue to help Canadians identify and protect themselves from illegal conduct through general awareness efforts like Fraud Prevention Month and stakeholder outreach, as well as with targeted communications including consumer and business alerts and podcasts.
    • Expand the reach of our bid-rigging awareness work with government partners. Ensure it is available to those responsible for procurement at all levels of government. Additionally, continue to promote the use of our Collusion Risk Assessment Tool among private and public sector procurement agents across the country.
    • Ensure our competition promotion and enforcement efforts are accessible. Continue to use plain language in our communication products and outreach for greater inclusivity.
    • Promote compliance by continuing to enhance our resources, guidance and stakeholder relationships. This includes promoting our Compliance Bootcamp and new Compliance Hub to help businesses stay on the right side of competition and labelling laws.

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Investing in our organization

Strategic Vision

  • Desired outcomes
    • Our organization fosters a healthy and positive workplace that embraces diversity, accessibility, inclusion, official languages, innovation, ethics and teamwork.
    • Our employees have the right skills and technology to enhance our enforcement activities and keep pace in the digital economy.
    • Our workforce is comprised of individuals with diverse experience and expertise relevant to digital enforcement and promotion.
  • Objectives
    • Support continuous learning and development of our people while encouraging a culture of well-being, particularly by empowering employees to contribute to decision-making and innovative practices.
    • Modernize our processes and technology to work more effectively and keep pace with the digital economy.
    • Recruit from diverse educational and professional backgrounds to ensure that our organization benefits from wide-reaching expertise and varying perspectives.

What we will do in 2024-2025

  • Continue to place employee health and safety at the forefront of our work.
    • Continue to build a culture of wellbeing through formal training, learning, and wellness initiatives to support the physical and mental health of employees.
    • Continue to adapt how we do our work to ensure that we are inclusive and accessible while aligning with the demands of a hybrid work environment.
  • Achieve greater reconciliation, equity, accessibility, diversity, inclusion, and commitment to official languages, across our organization.
    • Continue to address or surpass all representation gaps across our organization to better reflect and benefit from the diversity of the Canadian population.
    • Continue efforts to help employees be more inclusive in their everyday work, such as offering learning opportunities on plain and inclusive language, reconciliation principles, accessibility standards, and cultural protocols.
    • Prioritize the integration of inclusive competition principles into our work, specifically ensuring we are well-equipped to integrate the strategies from the OECD’s Gender Inclusive Competition Toolkit. Additionally, continue to enhance our application of Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) processes by building awareness, knowledge and skills across our organization.
  • Ensure that our capabilities keep pace with new business practices, enforcement strategies, and technological advancements, particularly within the digital age.
    • Ensure we equip our organization with the tools and training required to effectively use the legislative changes to the Competition Act to protect and promote competition.
    • Continue to provide specialized training linked to priorities and skill gaps to meet the individual and professional development needs of employees. Further enhance employee professional development by facilitating connections with industry experts, such as with specialists in fields relating to emerging technologies.
    • Continue to modernize our systems and procedures to ensure that our technological capabilities will enhance our data governance, security, efficiency, and innovation.
    • Continue to strengthen capacity across our organization to ensure that we benefit from wide-reaching expertise and varying perspectives in the digital age.