Canada’s New Competition Policy: Status and Outlook

by Donald Thompson



The article focuses on Canada's new competition policy. The Canadian approach to regulation of competition can best be understood against the background of the peculiar Canadian industrial structure, particularly the huge amount of foreign ownership in the Canadian economy. Canadian industry is a combination of multinational enterprises (MNEs) based in the U.S., numerous other U.S. based companies that do not qualify as MNEs but do have some international operations, some European and Japanese companies which are MNEs and some which are not, and a number of Canadian companies of substantial size, some of which qualify for multinational status. The result is a mixture of control over the Canadian competitive environment which in many cases is not indigenous. The ownership mix varies by industry. Finance, transportation and communication are primarily owned and controlled in Canada, as is the retailing sector. Petroleum production and refining and the automobile industry are almost totally foreign controlled. Canada has by far the highest level of foreign investment of any industrially developed country, and thus begins the regulatory process with less initial control of its competitive environment than any other western nation.

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