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Mergers and Inquisitions? Competition Bureau's Merger Review Needs Improvement

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October 26, 2017

Report of the C.D. Howe Institute's Competition Policy Council

The Competition Bureau and the government should work to introduce measures to improve the efficiency, consistency, and predictability of the Canadian merger review process, according to the consensus of the C.D. Howe Institute’s Competition Policy Council, which held its fourteenth meeting on October 17, 2017. The Competition Act provides for reviews of mergers by the Commissioner of Competition, who heads the Competition Bureau, to determine whether such transactions are likely to prevent or lessen competition substantially. The Bureau’s merger review process is taking longer, although part of the delay may be due to matters outside of the Bureau’s control, the Council found. Specifically, the Bureau’s average response time regarding complex mergers has increased from approximately one month a few years ago to 52 days as of 2016/17 and more than 77 days in the first quarter of 2016/17. The Council members found that the process through which the Competition Bureau reviews transactions can be done in a quicker, more transparent and more predictable manner. The majority of the Council believes the Bureau can improve on its case triage and how it communicates with parties during reviews, while the government should consider a broader review of the Competition Tribunal.

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© 2014 C.D. Howe Institute. All Rights Reserved.

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© 2014 C.D. Howe Institute. All Rights Reserved.