November 16, 2012

The following are some of the more interesting competition, advertising and regulatory law developments that caught my eye over the past several days, at least to the extent they have a bearing on Canada or companies doing business in Canada:

BCE and Astral plan to work towards reworking their deal to obtain regulatory clearance (see: here and here), following a rejection of the deal by the federal CRTC.

The Malaysian state-owned oil company Petronas was reported to be revising undertakings to obtain Investment Canada Act clearance for its acquisition of Progress Energy (see: here).

The CRTC launched new web pages for their planned mandatory wireless code consultations that include the “top 100 liked” comments for a new wireless code (see: here).

Earlier today, Canada’s Finance Minister gave some further indications that the Federal Government may soon reveal new Investment Canada Act rules for FDI in Canada and that the new rules may include “limits” (see: here).  Any such rules would replace and/or supplement existing Investment Canada Act provisions and guidelines under the ICA (e.g., those specifically relating to national security or state-owned-enterprises).

More testimony unfolded in the ongoing Quebec corruption and competition law probe relating to allegations of municipal bribes and bid-rigging in the construction sector in Quebec (Monique Muise at the Gazette in Montreal has the best feed going on this, plus she has a sense of humour and, if I may say, classic Quebecois ability to take things in stride – see:  here).

A new global class action law text was published by the Oxford University Press including a chapter on Canada (see: here).

The PQ is pressing for new anti-corruption legislation in Quebec, slightly to the chagrin of the Quebec bar (see: here).

The U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission issued a new Resource Guide to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that will impact some Canadian resource issuers (see: here).

Also on the U.S. side, though interesting as Canadian and U.S. enforcement officials are increasingly working together, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission made a number of advertising and fraud related enforcement announcements in connection with robocalls, fake business opportunity schemes and fake news sites (see: here).

Canada is moving ahead to forge new trade ties with Asia, with new bilateral agreements and trade missions, in light of a flagging U.S economy (see: here).

Canada’s Internet regulator (CIRA) came out this week against proposed new U.N. regulation of the web (see: here).  Some clear politics here, aka turf-wars, but many important issues nonetheless.

The Canadian Competition Bureau challenged RBS statements in recent public disclosure documents that it was “cooperating fully” in the ongoing global LIBOR price-fixing investigation (though, according to the Bureau, the bank has not applied for immunity or leniency under the Bureau’s Immunity or Leniency Programs and was in fact opposing document production requests) (see: here).  Some feather raising here.

Quite a few new and interesting competition/antitrust papers and articles were also published this week, including one I found particularly interesting, relating to the role of marketing managers in global price-fixing and other cartels (see: here).

And a few announcements: thanks a lot to Azmi & Associates over in Malaysia (Azmi & Associates) for including us in their upcoming competition law newsletter Competition Law Bulletin, CCH for reprinting my note on the recent Maxzone price-fixing sentencing decision (see: Federal Court in Maxzone Case Warns That Mathematical Sentencing Submissions Will No Longer Cut the Mustard),  Competition Policy International for including us in their October Blog o’ Blogs (see: October 2012 Blog o’ Blogs) and a small “mark your calendars” for an upcoming cross-border Canadian/U.S. advertising law webinar that I will be participating in for Strafford Webinars on January 8, 2013 – agenda and more details coming soon.


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    I am a competition and advertising lawyer based in Toronto who blogs on competition and advertising law and interesting legal and policy developments relating to business, white-collar crime, corruption and Internet and new media law.

    I offer business, association, government and individual clients efficient and strategic advice in relation to competition/antitrust, advertising, regulatory and new media law. I also offer compliance, education and policy services.

    My more than 15 years experience includes advising clients on hundreds of domestic and cross-border competition, advertising and marketing, promotional contest/sweepstakes, conspiracy/cartel, abuse of dominance, compliance, refusal to deal and pricing and distribution matters.

    For more information about my services, see here.