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Ottawa says new bill cracks down on fuel price gouging

Posted: August 1, 2014

Feds say new bill gives teeth
to oil industry watchdog

OTTAWA, — The federal government has introduced legislation that it says will add market transparency and accountability and crack down on conspiracy among industries.

The amendments to Competition Act, introduced before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Natural Resources, Science and Technology, are part of Bill C-19.

If adopted, the amendments will increase the fine level under the conspiracy provisions of the Act (section 45) from a maximum of $10 million to a maximum of $25 million and provide the Competition Bureau with the power to assess the state of competition in an industry.

“Strengthening the law will help build a more efficient and competitive marketplace for all Canadians,” said David L. Emerson, Minister of Industry. “Our goal is to provide a greater incentive to comply with the Competition Act.”Increasing criminal fines for conspiracy will serve as a deterrent to unlawful cartel behaviour in all industries, including the oil and gas industry, the government says. Providing the Competition Bureau with the power to assess the state of competition will enable the Bureau to gather comprehensive data, including data that is not in the public domain, to conduct in-depth analysis of various industry sectors, it adds.

The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that “promotes and maintains fair competition so that all Canadians can benefit from competitive prices, product choice and quality services.” It oversees the application of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act.

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