Canadian Lawyer

May 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 10 of 59 9 Competition Bureau focuses on digital In February, the Competition Bureau released its strategic vision for 2020-2024, "Compe- tition in the digital age." It committed to hosting an annual digital enforcement summit to bring together domestic and foreign partners to discuss the challenges and opportunities for competition enforcement in the digital age and to create a digital enforcement office to provide specialized technological assistance to support the Bureau's work. Canadian Lawyer asked Anthony Baldanza and Chris Margison of Fasken Martineau and DuMoulin LLP in Toronto about the Bureau's vision for the next five years and its focus now. What did you take from the Competition Bureau's new vision statement? Baldanza: The statement places increased emphasis on promoting competition through enforcement rather than through education and advocacy. This isn't . . . surprising — the commissioner, Matthew Boswell, is a former Crown attorney, a law enforcer with a litiga- tion background. In the vision statement, Boswell identifies sectors that are a special fo- cus for enforcement: online marketing, telecommunications, financial services, health and infrastructure. Most have already been Bureau priorities; they are important to Canadians in their everyday lives. But the commissioner also states that he'll invest in enforcement capability through technology and people. Last year, he appointed a chief digital enforce- ment officer and is now expanding that to an office. Another enforcement-related initiative is that the Bureau has re-established the merger notification unit to become the merger intelligence and notification unit. They are focusing not only on notifiable mergers but also on smaller, non-notifiable mergers, particularly in the digital world. Margison: Yes, we've certainly seen increased enforcement in the online area generally, including drip-pricing cases, such as those involving StubHub and Ticketmaster, as well as in other areas related to deceptive marketing practices. We've also seen increased enforcement in the merger area, including cases involving software, scrap metal and grain handling. The commissioner is clearly backing up his words with action. Emergency Order invoked under Quarantine Act An Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act was announced March 25 by the Public Health Agency of Canada and implemented by the Canada Border Services Agency. Anyone entering the country by air, sea or land must self-isolate for 14 days and monitor themselves for any COVID-19 symptoms. The Quarantine Act, S.C. 2005, c. 20 empowers the governor in council to issue emergency orders if doing so will prevent the spread of a communicable disease posing an imminent and severe risk to public health. Taxpayers get extensions The Canada Revenue Agency extended the deadline for filing income tax returns to June 1, 2020 and the deadline for payment of income tax to Sept. 1, 2020 for both individuals and corporations, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes in tax measures and economic benefits have been continuously rolled out since the federal government announced that it would be launching its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan to stabilize the economy and to support Canadians and businesses that are struggling in the face of the pandemic. COVID-19 delays merger reviews Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell announced delays in merger reviews in a letter to the executive of the Canadian Bar Association Competition Law Section in March. As businesses are now operating remotely, it is "increasingly difficult" for staff to connect with third-party market contacts in a timely manner, he wrote. The Bureau is calling on merging parties to contact case teams and management in the Mergers Directorate "as early as possible on complex matters and throughout the conduct of a review." Q&A Anthony Baldanza Partner FASKEN MARTINEAU & DUMOULIN LLP Chris Margison Counsel FASKEN MARTINEAU & DUMOULIN LLP Years in practice: 40 Career highlight: First, working with several very smart, creative and dedicated people, including many clients, colleagues at Fasken, opposing counsel and Bureau representatives; and second, assisting in the completion of some difficult transactions that have made a big difference to clients. Career lowlight: An acute awareness that success as a lawyer does not come free of charge. I have a lot of outside interests and have not contributed or experienced nearly as much as I would have liked to in those areas. Years in practice: 20, including eight years in various positions at the Competition Bureau, including as special advisor to the commissioner of competition. Career highlight: While I have been fortunate to work as lead competition counsel on many high-profile cases and in interesting positions over my career, I am particularly excited about being an integral member of Fasken's growing competition practice, including mentoring the associates.

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