Sign if you agree: NO more monopolies!

Right now, YOU have a once-in-a-century chance to tell the government to end the reign of monopolies in Canada. But once this window is gone, it’s gone for good. Will you endorse the Anti-Monopoly Charter to demand a fairer Canada — WITHOUT Big Telecom, Big Tech, and Big Grocery?

The Anti-Monopoly Charter: 1) Monopolies are taking over Canada, 2) Our laws should protect us, not corporate giants, 3) Monopolies should be BLOCKED from getting any bigger, 4) We need real ways to hold giant companies accountable, 5) Monopolies threaten democracy and a fair society.

Click to read The Anti-Monopoly Charter in full

Monopolies are taking over Canada. 

  • The growing monopoly power of many companies is deepening Canada’s cost of living crisis and breaking our economy — and our laws are too weak to stop it.
  • Extremely uncompetitive markets like in telecom, groceries, and online marketplaces ensure monopolies get away with jacking up prices, stealing and selling our sensitive personal data, and crushing new and independent businesses.
  • They don’t just benefit from these unfair systems — they build them. Monopolies bully regulators and policymakers into policies and practices that favour their large corporate interests over ordinary people.

Our laws should protect us, not corporate giants. 

  • Rather than stand up to monopolies, today’s complicated, and ineffective legislation — AKA our Competition Act — has helped the giants consolidate power.
  • In Canada, monopolies wield a legal trump card: Section 96, the “efficiencies defense” that greenlights every competition-killing buyout and merger. It must be entirely removed from the Act.
  • The Act’s primary objective should be to fight the growing problem of monopolies in Canada. It should explicitly exist to detect and break up monopolies today, and prevent future monopolies.
  • The Act should also make it possible for the Competition Bureau to consider worker harms — like cutting decent jobs and setting unlivable wages — as negative outcomes to prevent.

Monopolies should be BLOCKED from getting any bigger.

  • The Competition Act should set bright line rules to stop already-dominant companies in the market from buying other companies, with particularly tight restrictions on telecom monopolies.
  • The Act should put the burden of proof on the giants to demonstrate why their merger won’t hurt competition, rather than the other way around.
  • Everyday people deserve a voice when giants try to merge. Public transparency is critical, and regular Canadians deserve to participate in meaningful ways.
  • The Competition Bureau should be allowed to re-evaluate a merger or buyout at any time, even if it’s already happened.

We need real ways to hold giant companies accountable. 

  • Today, monopolies in Canada hold all the cards and answer to no one. That cannot continue.
  • The Competition Bureau can’t be weaker than the monopolies it’s meant to regulate. At minimum, the Act should give the Bureau the same robust investigative and enforcement powers as other agencies of its kind globally.
  • The Competition Bureau must have the power to proactively study our markets to root out — and swiftly deal with — creeping monopolies it finds.
  • Monopolies abusing their power to hurt competition overall is just as harmful as when they directly attack their competitors. The Act should expand its definition of “anti-competitive act” to include these instances.
  • People deserve to be heard. Under the Act, private citizens should have the right to bring forward cases and complaints of companies’ anti-competitive behaviour to the Bureau.

Monopolies threaten democracy and a fair society.

  • Monopolies shouldn’t exist. They are a sign of an extremely broken, unfair system, and Canada deserves better.
  • For over 40 years, monopolies have grown unchecked in Canada with little pushback from our government.
  • It’s about much more than just prices, or even the right to choose where to spend your money. Giant corporations shouldn’t be in charge of every facet of our society — that’s a job for the people. Democratic control of our economy is an absolute necessity.

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What’s happening?

After 37 long years, our government is finally considering making significant reforms to the Competition Act. Fixing our Competition Act, AKA Canada’s broken laws that set the rules for companies who compete in our markets, is our BEST chance to finally end the dominance of Rogers, Bell, Ticketmaster, Loblaws, RBC, and many more monopoly powers in Canada. A government consultation seeking YOUR input just opened up — but it's an opportunity we might not see again for decades.1

So what?

Our current Competition Act has turned Canada into a free-for-all for monopolies.

Under this flimsy legislation, Canada has NEVER successfully blocked two giant companies from merging.2 Weaknesses and loopholes in the Act let mergers and buyouts move forward in spite of hurting competition and affordability, and severely limit the powers of the Competition Bureau to take any meaningful action to hold monopolies accountable for abusing their dominance in the market.3

Rather than helping us fight monopolies, our Competition Act is helping giants like Big Telecom take advantage of us and making Canada’s markets some of the least competitive in the world.4

And it couldn't be happening at a worse time for people in Canada. From sky-high cell phone and Internet prices, to unaffordable housing, to disturbingly high price tags at the grocery store, it feels like our economy is failing us. There’s no one-size-fits-all fix, but a lot of these issues come down to our lack of competition. 

When markets have multiple companies all competing for customers, prices stay low, small businesses flourish, and companies are encouraged to innovate.5,6

But without real competition, the biggest companies can throw their weight around to charge us some of the highest prices in the world for things like Internet and cell phone connectivity.7,8 It means the massive power of monopolies can go completely unchecked, like when Big Grocery was scheming together to jack up bread prices, or when Ticketmaster’s monopoly over concert tickets recently led to extremely long website queues, canceled public sales, and thousands of angry fans (Taylor Swift, anyone?).9,10

Our lack of competition means that companies are gouging us for all they can get. But make no mistake: right now is our BEST opportunity to smash these oversized giants and put the power back in the hands of everyday people.

What can I do?

Sign your name to endorse the Anti-Monopoly Charter — a set of core principles demanding a competitive, fair, and affordable Canada. OpenMedia will submit your signatures alongside the Charter to the government’s open consultation on reforming Canada's Competition Act before the February 27, 2023 deadline. We might not get another opportunity like this to transform competition in Canada for another half-century — so we MUST make it count.

If you’re up for it, you can also participate directly in the government’s consultation by visiting this link. Be warned: the consultation’s webform is lengthy, not user-friendly, and cluttered with technical language. While sharing your input on the future of the Competition Act directly with the government is always an option to make your voice heard, use their form at your own risk!

Sources

  1. Consultation on the future of competition policy in Canada - Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
  2. Canada's competition agency maintains its opposition to Rogers-Shaw deal - Reuters
  3. Report Reveals the Extent of Canada’s Competition Problem - CIGI
  4. Seizing the Moment to Build a More Competitive Canada - Competition Bureau Canada
  5. Want help with inflation? Reform the Competition Act - Policy Options
  6. See 4
  7. The federal government's little secret: Prices are soaring - TekSavvy
  8. Is Canada the most expensive wireless market in the world? - Rewheel
  9. Court gives go-ahead to class-action lawsuit over bread price fixing - The Globe and Mail
  10. Dozens of Taylor Swift fans sue Ticketmaster in the wake of its ticket sale fiasco - NPR

Press: Rosa Addario | Phone: +1 (888) 441-2640 ext. 0  | [email protected]