OTTAWA, ON — Conservative Shadow Minister for Competition, Ryan Williams, introduced his Private Members’ Bill, C-339, which seeks to eliminate Section 96 of the Competition Act, commonly known as the efficiencies defence.
The efficiencies defence allows anti-competitive mergers to proceed so long as the companies can show that they will operate more efficiently after the merger. This almost always ends in job losses for workers, more consolidation, and higher prices for Canadians. Bill C-339 will eliminate this section of the Act, opening up the market for more competition and more powerful paycheques for workers.
“When the Competition Act was written in 1986, Canada was a smaller, natural resource-based economy, heavily reliant on exports, with no free trade agreements whatsoever,” said MP Williams. “The efficiencies defence is a relic of that era before free trade and the globalized economy, and it is time for it to go.”
Canada is the only G7 country to still include the efficiencies defence. Canadians pay some of the highest prices in the world for cell phones, internet, banking, airline, and other fees because this government has failed to support domestic competition. The efficiencies defence was based on the 1960s industrial policy and 1980s trade policy, designed to increase the size of Canadian companies through consolidation to compete abroad while limiting competition at home. The world has changed since then, and so has Canada.
“The only things the efficiencies defence delivers for Canadians are higher prices and less choice. Competition is necessary for a market to develop new technologies, and new methods of service delivery, which will ultimately lead to lower prices for customers,” said MP Williams. “Conservatives believe that increased competition is the main driver behind innovation, freedom of choice, and consumer purchasing power. Conservatives will bring home more competition and choice for Canadians to lower prices and help to make Canada the freest country on Earth.”