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Long-awaited reforms to the Canadian Competition Act (“Act”) have arrived and represent the most comprehensive amendments to the Act in over a decade. Recent and proposed amendments to the abuse of dominance provisions are likely to have a significant impact on how businesses operating in Canada assess and manage risk.

Modernization of Canadian competition law and foreign investment review is well underway. Recent and further proposed legislative amendments will impact how dealmakers assess substantial and procedural regulatory risk for mergers. This update summarizes the recent legislative amendments to the Competition Act (Act) that came into effect on 15 December 2023 and proposed legislative amendments to the Act and Investment Canada Act. Dealmakers should be aware of these amendments as they plan mergers involving Canadian businesses in 2024.

Earlier this year, Canada’s mandatory reporting rules were broadly expanded by lowering the thresholds to trigger a reporting obligation and increasing the information that must be reported to the Canada Revenue Agency As a result, taxpayers may be required to flag certain mergers and acquisitions transactions in real time if it could be reasonably concluded that one of the main purposes of entering into the transaction was to obtain a tax benefit.

In this In Focus video, our Canadian Tax and Corporate Transactions lawyers discuss how common contractual protection clauses could trigger an early reporting requirement and expose taxpayers to significant penalties if they fail to report.

In June 2019, the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) was amended to require private CBCA corporations to prepare and maintain a register of “individuals with significant control” (the “ISC Register“).
There have been two key changes since this requirement was first introduced:

  1. In May 2023, regulations were published to exempt additional corporations from having to prepare and maintain an ISC Register and to provide further compliance guidance.
  2. Amendments to the CBCA have been enacted imposing, amongst other things, the requirement to publicly file certain information contained in the ISC Register with Corporations Canada and to increase penalties for non compliance.

In 2023, we helped Canadian employers overcome a host of new challenges across the employment law landscape. Many companies started the year with difficult cost-cutting decisions and hybrid work challenges. In our 75-minute “quick hits” format, we’ll help Canadian in-house counsel and human resources leaders track what to keep top-of-mind for 2024.

In 2023, the Government of Canada focused on modernizing Canada’s Competition Act and Investment Canada Act, proposing legislation that will overhaul existing legislative frameworks. Looking forward, we expect the Government will continue its modernization agenda and the respective authorities will continue to take strong enforcement positions against perceived anti-competitive conduct and investments that raise potential national security concerns in 2024.

On 22 November 2023, the finalized regulations enacted under the Retail Payment Activities Act (RPAA) were published, with registration-related requirements expected to come into force beginning in November 2024 and the remainder in September 2025. The RPAA and Retail Payment Activities Regulations make up Canada’s new retail payment supervisory regime overseen by the Bank of Canada, Canada’s central bank.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has recently provided public comments to industry professionals concerning its enforcement plans related to the importation of goods suspected to be mined, manufactured, or produced with forced or child labor.
Canada implemented an import prohibition on goods mined, manufactured or produced wholly or in part by forced labor as of 1 July 2020, when Parliament amended the Customs Tariff (tariff item no. 9897.00.00) to reflect Canada’s new obligations under the USMCA (Article 23.6: Forced or Compulsory Labor).

On 5 October 2023, the Canadian Securities Administrators published guidance on dealing in Stablecoins, including by imposing updated terms and conditions for crypto asset trading platforms that offer Stablecoins, and requiring issuers of certain Stablecoins to provide undertakings in a form substantially acceptable to the regulators by 1 December 2023.

Through the Canadian Labour and Employment Law blog, our lawyers provide legal updates and practical insights to help clients understand, prepare for and respond to the latest domestic and cross-border Labour and Employment issues affecting Canadian and multinational employers.