On 21 September 2023, the Government of Canada introduced Bill C-56 or the Affordable Housing and Groceries Act (“Bill C-56”), broad legislation that includes amendments to the Competition Act that, if adopted, will repeal the efficiencies defense in mergers, expand the scope of agreements and arrangements subject to the civil competitor collaboration provision, and permit public interest market studies. The proposed amendments to the Competition Act align with the Prime Minister’s recent announcement that the federal government would take action to enhance competition and drive down prices for Canadians, with a special focus on the grocery sector.
The Canadian Competition Act was recently amended to, among other things, criminalize wage-fixing and no-poach agreements between unaffiliated employers. Following a one-year grace period that permitted Canadian employers to ensure they are in compliance, the criminal prohibition will come into effect on 23 June 2023.
On 7 December 2022, Minister François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced the Canadian government introduced legislation to amend the Investment Canada Act, known as the National Security Review of Investments Modernization Act. While the proposed amendments at first appear to be a dramatic overhaul of the existing national security review framework for foreign investment in Canada, they are generally consistent with other recent legislative amendments and policy developments related to Canada’s national security, and with trends in other jurisdictions. The proposed changes heighten the importance of proactive planning to address national security risks arising in commercial transactions and other forms of foreign investment.
The Government of Canada has amended the federal Competition Act, Canada’s consolidated antitrust statute, to criminalize wage-fixing and no-poach agreements between employers, effective 23 June 2023. The criminal prohibition will apply to all employers, and is not limited only to those in competing sectors or industries. Employers who contravene the new prohibition against labor-related collusion risk incurring significant fines, the potential for imprisonment, or both, and heightened private and class action litigation risk.
Amendments to the Competition Act that come into force on 23 June 2023 will make it a criminal offense for employers to enter into no poach, wage fixing or other agreements related to the terms and conditions of employment in Canada. In this In Focus video, our Labor and Employment and Competition and Foreign Investment Review lawyers discuss the risks associated with non-compliance and what employers should consider as they prepare for the prohibition to come into effect.