Competition and antitrust in Canada
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP advises on the full range of antitrust matters, often being retained on some of the largest and highest-profile mergers in Canada. Contentious highlights over the past year have included acting in relation to advertising and abuse of dominance claims, reviewable trade practices and other civil matters before the Canadian Competition Tribunal, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. Randall Hofley returned to the team in January 2020 following a two-year term at the Competition Bureau; he specializes in enforcement matters, abuse of dominance, and deceptive marketing practices. On the regulatory side, Brian Facey advises on strategic multi-jurisdictional and domestic merger transactions, criminal cartel cases, follow-on class actions, and distribution and advertising matters. Facey chairs the wider competition group.
‘The Blakes team is without a doubt one of the leading competition law practices in Canada. They have very impressive bench strength and depth of experience.‘
‘We have worked most closely with Brian Facey who is excellent. Brian is so quick to see the bigger picture and approaches everything with a very strategic mindset.‘
General Electric Company
Intact Financial Corporation
Louis Vuitton SE
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
Visa Canada Corporation
WestJet Airlines Ltd.
- Advised Elanco Animal Health Incorporated on its $7.6bn purchase of Bayer AG’s animal health business.
- Acted as Canadian counsel to LVMH Moët Hennessy in its acquisition of Tiffany in a transaction with an equity value of approximately $16.2bn.
- Advised WestJet on its C$5bn acquisition by Onex Corporation.
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP
Toronto-based Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP has developed a strong reputation for advising domestic and international clients across the full spectrum of competition and foreign review law. The team also has experience in national security reviews. Recent highlights have included acting for Celgene Corporation in relation to the competition matters arising out of its $74bn sale to Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, and acting as Canadian counsel to Alstom Transport in its proposed acquisition of Bombardier Transportation's rail and train division. Litigator Sandra Forbes has significant experience defending clients in national and cross-border antitrust class actions, while George Addy is noted for his expertise in the field of TMT. John Bodrug and Anita Banicevic jointly lead the practice.
‘Davies has advised on several competition law compliance matters, always with strong and practical legal judgement and advice in very timely manner. Their advice balanced the need for a directional and strategic guidance, along with enough of the detail on the derivation and scope of the law and regulations to inform in-house counsel of the basis of that advice.‘
The Blackstone Group
The Liquor Control Board of Ontario
The Canadian Real Estate Association
FCF Co., Ltd.
Hostess Brands, Inc.
Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.
HyLife Group Holdings Ltd.
Alstom Transport SA
- Acting as Canadian counsel to Alstom Transport SA in its proposed $8.2bn acquisition of Bombardier Transportation’s rail and train division, including in respect of Canadian merger control and foreign investment matters.
- Acted for funds managed by The Blackstone Group Inc. and their affiliates in Blackstone’s C$6.2bn all-cash acquisition of Dream Global Real Estate Investment Trust, the largest-ever REIT M&A transaction in Canada.
- Acted for Celgene Corporation, an integrated global biopharmaceutical company, on Canadian competition matters related to its $74bn sale to Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.
The 'diverse group' at McCarthy Tétrault advises on the full range of antitrust issues, including merger control, criminal and civil investigations, litigation and class actions, misleading advertising and deceptive practices. The team represents clients across all key industry sectors but is particularly specialised in the airlines, pharmaceuticals, health, IT and TMT sectors. Foreign investment review and national security continue to be key sources of work in the department, with recent work including investments by state-owned enterprises, cultural reviews and national security investigations. Senior partner Oliver Borgers and practice head Jason Gudofsky are both names to note in this area. The group has grown with the arrival of Casey Halladay from McMillan LLP, a move that strengthens the firm's cartel work, as well as other contentious matters including abuse of dominance. Litigator Donald Houston is retained on cartel investigations and prosecutions, civil cases and private actions.
Other key lawyers:
‘The firm has invested in bringing together a diverse group with knowledge across the array of antitrust matters. As an added bonus, they are responsive, pragmatic, and work well with co-counsel.‘
‘Casey Halladay’s assessment of a merger matter from the outset was spot on, in terms of likelihood of a SIR, its scope, and the ultimate outcome.‘
WestJet Airlines Ltd.
Cineworld Group plc
Le Groupe Maurice
The Home Depot, Inc.
La Coop fédérée/Olymel
- Advised AbbVie Inc., the global biopharmaceutical company, on the merger control clearance in Canada arising out of its $63bn acquisition of Allergan plc.
- Advised Evonik Industries AG, one of the largest speciality chemicals companies in the world, on the Canadian competition aspects of its $640m acquisition of PeroxyChem LLC.
- Advised WestJet Airlines Ltd. on its proposed trans-border joint venture with Delta Air Lines, Inc. and the ongoing predatory pricing investigation initiated by the Competition Bureau.
Bennett Jones LLP
Bennett Jones LLP has a strong reputation both for merger review and competition litigation, acting recently as competition counsel for Bristol Myers Squibb in connection with its $74bn proposed merger with Celgene, and for Canadian North in its merger with First Air. The group advises on a broad range of antitrust matters for clients in highly regulated industries including hi-tech, telecoms, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, broadcasting and financial services. With competition law capabilities in Washington DC, the practice regularly supports and advises US and international lawyers and clients on issues confronting them in Canada. Randal Hughes leads the Canada-based department, while Melanie Aitken heads up the Washington team. Another key name is litigator John Rook QC, while up-and-coming partners Emrys Davis and Adam Kalbfleisch are also both highly-regarded.
Brewers Retail Inc.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
Broadridge Financial Solutions
Bumble Bee Foods, LLC
Conagra Brands, Inc.
Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Limited
Gibson Energy ULC
Insight Enterprises, Inc.
Longview Aviation Capital Corp.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
Northern Harvest Group of Companies
Premium Brands Holdings Corporation
The Blackstone Group L.P.
The Nielsen Company
Time Warner Inc.
TMX Group Limited
Total Energy Services Inc.
Usui International Corporation and Usui Co., Ltd.
Volkswagen AG, Volkswagen Group of America Inc., Volkswagen Group Canada Inc., Audi AG, Audi Canada Inc.
- Defended the Beer Store in $1.4bn class action in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against against allegations that the Beer Store, its shareholder brewers, and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario engaged in anticompetitive conduct in the sale of beer.
- Acted for Bristol Myers Squibb Company regarding competition matters and Investment Canada Act filings in Canada in connection with its $74bn proposed merger with Celgene Corporation.
- Acted for Allergan plc, a global pharmaceutical company, regarding competition matters in Canada in connection with its $63bn proposed acquisition by Abbvie Inc.
Fasken's antitrust team has extensive experience in all areas of Canadian competition law, including merger control, criminal matters, pricing and distribution issues, marketing and advertising, competition law litigation, exploitation of intellectual property rights and issues relating to abuse of dominant position. The team recently advised BASF Canada on the Bureau’s national investigation of alleged anti-competitive conduct in the agricultural industry and also worked on the sale of Kraft Heinz Co's natural cheese business. Anthony Baldanza is sought after for his expertise in cartel matters, abuse of dominance and other restrictive trade practices, while Huy Do and Antonio Di Domenico jointly lead the wider practice, and are both noted for their work across the spectrum of contentious and non-contentious antitrust issues.
Toyota Motor Corporation
Caisse de Depot
Guyana Goldfields Inc.
- Advising Transat in its C$720m sale to Air Canada.
- Advising BASF Canada in the Bureau’s national investigation of alleged anticompetitive conduct in agricultural industry.
- Advised Kraft Heinz Co in the C$1.62bn sale of its Canadian natural cheese business to Parmalat SpA/Parmalat Canada Inc.
Behavioural and transactional matters are regular features of the antitrust work undertaken by McMillan LLP. The team covers a range of investigations, foreign investment matters, merger clearance and policy review, and is also recognized for its work in cartel matters and class actions. Neil Campbell co-chairs the competition and international trade law groups and has worked on major cartel cases and class actions including multiple abuse of dominance and other unilateral conduct investigations. James Musgrove is a name to note for behavioural work.
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP represents clients across a huge variety of industry sectors, including financial services, entertainment, manufacturing, energy and mining, real estate, consumer packaged goods and many more. Shuli Rodal chairs the antitrust group and has extensive experience in all aspects of competition law, including M&A, strategic alliances and pricing and distribution matters. Michelle Lally and Kaeleigh Kuzma are also recommended.
Stikeman Elliott LLP
Stikeman Elliott LLP is widely considered a leader in domestic and cross-border merger reviews. Department head Paul Collins, formerly a senior deputy at the Competition Bureau, advises on both transactional and general compliance, as well as on marketing and advertising law. On the litigation side, Katherine Kay is particularly adept at defending class actions, where she has extensive experience in a wide range of cases. The wider litigation team has noted expertise across the full range of criminal and regulatory matters. Other names to note include Ottawa-based competition and trade specialist Susan Hutton, and regulatory and government relations counsel Lawson Hunter QC.
Torys has a track record of handling significant antitrust mandates. The team has advised NRG Energy on its acquisition of Direct Energy, with joint practice head Omar Wakil leading on the competition aspects of the transaction. In addition, the team has continued to be engaged in standalone merger reviews and also has strengths in competition disputes. Linda Plumpton is recommended here, chairing the firm's litigation group; she is particularly skilled in class action defences, investigations and foreign investment matters. Co-chair Dany Assaf advises international and domestic clients on all aspects of competition law and foreign investment matters, including national security reviews.
Other key lawyers:
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Behavioural work is among the core strengths for the competition team at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, though the group also remains active in class actions and other competition litigation, regulatory issues and cartel defence. The strength of its contentious and regulatory offering attracts high-profile work, a recent example of which sees the team advising Deutsche Bank on the Canadian aspects of the global LIBOR investigation. Department chair Robert Russell has over 30 years' experience acting for clients in criminal matters such as conspiracy, bid-rigging, misleading advertising and price maintenance.
Goodmans LLP' antitrust group works closely with the firm's M&A department, conducting merger reviews on transactions across a range of industries including financial services, manufacturing, real estate, TMT, entertainment, forestry and mining. The department also has experience of behavioural work, with particular expertise in investigations and related litigation. Practice chair David Rosner is recommended for his work with respect to complex mergers. Calvin Goldman QC retired in 2020.
Norton Rose Fulbright is best known for its international expertise, with a competition practice that is often called upon to advise on multi-jurisdictional cartel and antitrust investigations. Cross-border merger cases are also a key part of the work. The firm's Calgary office is particularly specialized in dealing with the Competition Bureau in oil and gas and agricultural sector mergers, while its Montréal counterpart routinely conducts cases before the Competition Tribunal, having successfully litigated bid-rigging cases in Quebec courts. Litigator Eric Lefebvre is a name to note in this space. Department head Kevin Ackhurst is based in the Toronto office, which, like the team Ottawa, covers the full spectrum of antitrust work.
Brookfield Asset Management
Canadian Tire Corporation
Green Growth Brands
H.I.S Co. Ltd.
Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited
Louis Dreyfus Canada
Makivik Corporation / Bradley Air Services Limited
Pfizer Canada Inc.
- Advising Aimia Inc. on the sale of all of the shares of Aimia Canada Inc., owner and operator of the Aeroplan loyalty program business, to a consortium consisting of Air Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Visa Canada Corp.
- Advised Bombardier Inc. on the sale of its regional jet business to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
- Advising Brookfield Asset Management on its acquisition of Enbridge’s Canadian natural gas gathering and processing business in northeastern British Columbia and northwestern Alberta for C$4.31bn.
Baker McKenzie's competition practice has significant experience acting both for domestic and international clients in the full range of merger control and foreign investment matters. The department is fully integrated across the firm's global competition group, and regularly works on matters stretching across multiple jurisdictions. Antitrust counselling continues to be a key area for the team, with recent work spanning abuse of dominance, distribution practices and competitor collaborations. Practice head Arlan Gates is a name to note for regulatory work, advising a range of international and domestic clients on market entry issues and ongoing commercial operations.
‘Reliable, knowledgeable and responsive.‘
Brookfield Business Partners
DIF Management Canada
Impala Platinum Holdings
The Freeman Company
- Represented The Freeman Company in the sale of Encore Event Technologies to a competitor, PSAV, a non-reportable transaction in Canada that was subject to in-depth review on substantive grounds.
- Represented Platinum Equity and its portfolio company, Pattonair Limited, in Canada and other jurisdictions in obtaining clearance for the $1.95bn acquisition of Wesco Aircraft Holdings, Inc.
- Representing Hitachi Ltd. in obtaining clearance in Canada and other jurisdictions for its proposed $11bn acquisition of the global power grids business of ABB Ltd.
Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP
Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP has experienced in a huge variety of proceedings at the Competition Tribunal and routinely handles merger review matters in support of the firm's transactional work. In line with the firm's wider sector strengths, the competition team has developed particular expertise in the areas of mining and cannabis. Department head Chris Hersh is based in the firm's Toronto office.
Dentons' competition group has experience in a full range of antitrust work, with capabilities across regulatory, transactional and contentious matters. Leveraging the firm's expansive global footprint, the practice group is a strong choice for cross-border matters particularly in the US and throughout Asia, and increasingly in nationwide mandates involving multiple Canadian provinces. The practice group is jointly led by Barry Zalmanowitz QC in Edmonton, and Toronto-based Sandy Walker, a 'very practical' regulatory expert.
‘The team is incredibly responsive and takes the time to learn about and understand your specific business needs, which they then incorporate into their advice and guidance.‘
‘Sandy Walker has advised me on competition issues for over 10 years and she provides very practical advice, and helps me understand competition risk and how to effectively manage it in our business dealings.‘
Bayer AG and Bayer Inc.
Daimler and Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc.
Lions Gate Entertainment
Mercuria Energy Group Limited
Ontario Power Generation
Saban Capital Acquisition Corp.
The Katz Group of Companies
- Advised Ontario Power Generation on its acquisition of a 50% interest in Portlands Energy Centre LP, a 100% interest in the 900 MW Napanee CCGT power station, and a 100% interest in the 683 MW Halton Hills CCGT power station.
- Advised Westminster Savings Credit Union on its merger with Prospera Credit Union to become Prospera Credit Union.
- Advising three Amazon companies: Amazon.com, Inc., Amazon Services International, Inc., and Amazon.com.ca, Inc., on putative class actions in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec regarding alleged anticompetitive conduct regarding new book sales in the United States and Canada.
DLA Piper (Canada) LLP
Split between Vancouver and Toronto, DLA Piper (Canada) LLP's antitrust group has a core focus on litigation, with particular strength in bringing and defending follow-on class actions. In addition, as a fully integrated part of the firm's global antitrust practice, the team is routinely involved in multi-jurisdictional matters including merger review, government regulatory investigations and civil litigation. Class action defence specialists Kevin Wright and David Neave jointly lead the practice from Vancouver.
Bristol Myers Squibb
British Airways PLC
Deutsche Lufthansa Aktiengesellschaft (“Lufthansa”)
Elna Co. Ltd.
Nongshim Co., Ltd.
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics/EUKOR Car Carriers
Renesas Electronics Corporation
- Defending Bristol-Myers Squibb in five class actions brought with respect to opioids.
- Defending BA in five class actions in Canada relating to air cargo and fuel surcharge fees.
- Acting for Elna Co. Ltd. in proposed class actions (Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Saskatchewan) involving allegations of collusion / price fixing in the supply of electrolytic, tantalum and film capacitors.