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Competition is a crucial promise in today’s economic statement

Deep competition-enhancing reforms could secure Canada’s future

NOVEMBER 21 2023 — Today the government of Canada released their fall economic statement, including promises for future amendments to Canada’s weak Competition Act. These welcome promised reforms would build on competition reform Bill C-56, currently before Parliament, and reflect ideas first put forward in Bill C-352, a private member’s bill for reforming the competition act introduced by NDP leader Jagmeet Singh. 

"Weak competition is an anchor around every Canadian's neck, and we’re very pleased to see the government suggest they will soon take more action to fix it," said Matt Hatfield, Executive Director of OpenMedia. “From essential telecom services to the food on our plates, when businesses find themselves with monopolistic market power over ordinary people, they squeeze. And that has real consequences, strangling small Canadian businesses before they have a chance while raising prices for all of us. Finally, all federal parties seem to be waking up to the destructive consequences of Canada’s uniquely weak incentives for competition – amongst the worst of any OECD country.”

“Long overdue action now is still much better than never,” continued Hatfield. “We welcome today’s plans from our government to go beyond the limited reforms of Bill C-56, and encourage very broad powers for our Competition Bureau to investigate competition problems, break up monopolies, and stimulate fierce competition that benefits consumers and innovators alike.”

Key promises in today’s announcement include improving the Bureau’s ability to detect and prevent anti-competitive behaviour by businesses, particularly predatory pricing; strengthening their ability to block anti-competitive mergers; and providing a usable private right of action to Canadians when anti-competitive conduct has hurt them.

Polling this year by OpenMedia and Ekō showed that 92% of Canadians believe that monopolies are driving up prices, and only 7% of Canadians believe our existing competition laws benefit consumers. 

In recent months, over 23,800 members of the OpenMedia and Ekō communities have endorsed the Anti-Monopoly Charter, which lays out core principles for Competition Act reform in Canada.  More than 10,000 members of OpenMedia’s community have signed a petition calling on Minister Champagne to take concrete action to curb the dominance of telecom giants like Rogers, Bell, Telus, and Quebecor.

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