The practice of Competition Law in Canada falls into two broad but distinct categories: solicitor (advisory) work (which includes merger analysis); and litigation.
Solicitor (Advisory) Work: Providing advice on Competition Law issues is an increasingly important part of advising business clients. Competition lawyers are called upon to advise clients on the competition law implications of a variety of business activities. By identifying and helping clients to address these issues, competition lawyers assist clients in managing and minimizing competition law risk. Competition lawyers provide advice with respect to corporate and commercial matters and day to day business practices. They are also advocates for clients in discussions with Competition Bureau officials. Principal areas of advice and representation include: mergers and acquisitions; strategic alliances and joint ventures; marketing and distribution activities; relations with customers, competitors and suppliers; and, increasingly, the interface between competition law and intellectual property law.
Competition Litigation: Competition litigation in Canada has traditionally involved representing clients before the courts on criminal matters and before the Competition Tribunal on civil proceedings initiated by the Commissioner of Competition. While there was limited private competition litigation in Canada in the years immediately following the enactment of the Competition Act in 1986, this type of proceeding has become more common with the advent of competition law class actions. Recent amendments permitting limited private access to the Competition Tribunal, and proposals to expand private access, are likely to lead to further private competition litigation in Canada.