Review of Industrial Organization
13: 85–129, 1998.
1998 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Abuse of Dominance under the 1986 Canadian
The University of Calgary, Department of Economics, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Queen’s University, Department of Economics, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada
In this paper we consider competition policy in Canada towards monopoly and
monopolization. While our focus is primarily on providing an introduction and
examination of the abuse of dominance provisions in the Canadian Competition
of 1986 (hereafter simply the Act), we also provide a brief overview of the
existing law prior to the 1986 reforms. An understanding of the nature of the law
under the Combines Investigation Act,
the predecessor of the Competition Act,
provides insight into the need for reform in Canada and the nature of that reform.
In particular the monopoly and monopolization provisions under the Combines
Investigation Act containedveryhigh hurdlesfor successfulprosecution.As a result
prosecutions under the provisions were infrequent and successful prosecutions
were virtually non-existent. The late 1970s Supreme Court ruling in the Irving case
effectively rendered Canada’s antitrust laws against monopoly and merger in the
Combines Investigation Act unenforceable and made reform inevitable. In response
to the old law and Canada’s enforcement experience, the monopoly provisions in
the new Competition Act differ substantially from those found in the Combines
Investigation Act. In this paper we argue that the abuse of dominance provisions
in the Competition Act can be, and in practice have (mostly) proven to be, ﬂexible
and effective in addressing socially inefﬁcient monopolization.
We are grateful for helpful comments from Andy Baziliauskas, Murray Hamley, Patrick Hughes,
Brian Rivard, Tom Ross, Richard Taylor, Bill Stanbury, participantsat theAuthors’Symposium hosted
by the Competition Bureau, and an anonymous referee. Jeffrey Church wishes to acknowledge the
gracious hospitality of the Canadian Competition Bureau during his tenure as the T.D. MacDonald
Chair when the ﬁrst draft of this paper was prepared. The views expressed herein are the authors and
are not necessarily those of the Director of Investigation and Research or the Competition Bureau.
Revised Statues of Canada, 1985, c. C-34 as amended.
Revised Statues of Canada, 1970, c. C-23 as amended.