Policy Options Podcast · Modernizing Canada’s Competition Act

In the last few decades, Canada’s economy has changed. We have seen a massive shift in how online enterprises conduct business and how Canadians purchase goods, and these changes have altered the way business is done in Canada.

While this is no surprise to many, some may not know that one of the most important laws governing these businesses – the Competition Act ─ has not been updated since 2008, the same year that Apple’s app store was launched.

Competition policy in Canada is guided by narrow interests

We need to talk about Canada’s painful lack of competition

Our competition legislation has fallen behind business trends, and it needs to be brought into the 21st century. A 2022 report from the Competition Bureau states that “Canada faces real challenges to its competition policy framework,” and that the Bureau experiences “friction” in applying the Act on a day-to-day basis.  The Bureau recommended a “comprehensive review.”

But the Act is an extremely important piece of legislation, and when we do reopen it, we need to make sure it is revised correctly. So, how can it be effectively modernized?

Vass Bednar and Robin Shaban both wrote articles for the Policy Options series on modernizing the Competition Act, and they join the podcast to answer these questions.

Vass Bednar is the executive director of Master of Public Policy in Digital Society Program and an adjunct professor of political science at McMaster University.

Robin Shaban is a co-founder and senior economist at Vivic Research, a winner of the 2021 Globe and Mail Report on Business Changemakers award, and was an officer at the Competition Bureau.

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