The Davis LLP Competition & Antitrust Law Practice Group has developed an excellent local and international reputation for the range and depth of its experience in advising and acting for clients regarding all aspects of Canada’s competition laws. We work with both Canadian and multinational businesses in a wide range of industry sectors.
We advise businesses, trade associations and professional organizations, administrative agencies and governments on matters under the Competition Act. We also advise foreign investors on issues arising under the Investment Canada Act, including any applicable notification or pre-implementation review obligations.
Businesses often develop practices or policies to help them succeed in a highly competitive local, Canadian or global marketplace. However, in certain circumstances, the Competition Bureau may allege such practices are anti-competitive, launch an investigation and seek a remedy. Our group has comprehensive experience counseling clients through these types of investigations and proceedings, particularly in cases of alleged abuse of dominance. We work with our clients to understand their business environment and strategic policies to resolve the Bureau’s competition concerns and defend against such allegations.
Conspiracy and other Criminal Offences
The prosecution of a criminal offence under the Competition Act can lead to substantial fines and imprisonment. An investigation itself can taint reputations and prove to be a significant distraction. We work with clients to counsel against the sort of activity that may trigger exposure to criminal or civil liability. We counsel businesses through investigations and contested proceedings and have successfully negotiated immunity and leniency arrangements for our clients with Canadian and foreign authorities.
Our work with the Bureau and those brought before it enables us to offer a unique cross-section of perspectives and strategies toward resolution.
- We have acted as litigation counsel in significant proceedings before courts and the Competition Tribunal.
- We have represented the Competition Bureau before the Tribunal, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada in Southam – the first contested case under Canada’s modern merger regime.
- We have counseled and appeared for both plaintiffs and defendants in private actions, including those brought as intended class actions.
We understand that buying or selling a business is an important decision for our clients. We work with clients to design the best strategy to obtain clearance from competition regulators >with minimal interference or delay to the transaction. We also provide practical advice and support with pre-merger notifications, substantive legal and economic arguments for transaction clearance and communicate and resolve competition concerns of the regulator. In the event of contested proceedings, our clients benefit from our wealth of experience before administrative boards and tribunals, including Canada’s Competition Tribunal.
We also advise clients on foreign investment issues under the Investment Canada Act, including notification and applications for review.
Pricing, Distribution and Marketing
Getting a product from the factory to the consumer can raise all sorts of competition issues as the product moves through the supply chain. Relationships between manufacturers, distributors and retailers, pricing and contracting practices and advertising activities can raise competition concerns. We help clients get their products to market while complying with the restrictions on pricing, distribution and marketing activities under the Competition Act.
Benjamin Franklin’s advice that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds true in competition matters. Defending against alleged violations of Canada’s competition laws can be costly and time consuming, and the publicity alone can damage a business’ reputation. We help our clients design and implement a competition compliance program that identifies, addresses and helps minimize the potential antitrust risk facing that particular organization.
We have provided advice on competition law issues to federal and provincial public bodies and agencies and to private sector clients in a variety of industries, including:
- Heavy machinery, building and construction materials
- High technology
- Energy, oil and gas
- Financial institutions
- Food products and distribution, liquor distribution, cooperatives, retail distribution
- Forestry, mining
- Paper distribution
- Health services
- Food services, hospitality
- Professional and trade associations
- Utilities and other services.
Legislation and Policy Development
The Davis LLP Competition & Antitrust Law Practice Group actively contributes to the development of Canadian competition policy. We regularly write on competition matters and work with the National Competition Section of the Canadian Bar Association to comment on proposed legislation and draft guidelines issued by the Competition Bureau.