Competition in the Digital Economy


Issue at a Glance

It is important for marketers to operate in a healthy digital economy with diverse players, so organizations have a range of options through which to advertise, making it easier to connect consumers to the products and services they want and ensuring choice.

Canada’s 2019 Digital Charter includes the principle: to: “ensure fair competition in the online marketplace to facilitate the growth of Canadian businesses and affirm Canada's leadership on digital and data innovation, while protecting Canadian consumers from market abuses.”

The impact of big data on competition law has attracted significant attention lately. Work began in 2017, when the Competition Bureau consulted on the topic, releasing a final report that identified the need to adapt its tools and methods to this evolving area.

Given Canada’s digital transformation in recent years, it is anticipated that at some point, the government may propose changes to the Competition Act (last updated significantly in 2009). In the meantime, government is proposing to use levers outside the Act to address aspects of digital platform regulation, as outlined below.

CMA Blog: Competition Bureau Releases its Annual Plan
CMA Blog: Competition Bureau outlines strategic vision to 2024



Expected News Media Legislation

A federal bill is expected to be released in Spring 2021 that proposes some form of revenue-sharing between traditional media companies and digital platforms. The proposed bill follows developments in other jurisdictions, including Australia and France, that require digital platforms to compensate news organizations for their content.

The bill is one of several proposed bills aimed at digital platform regulation, including Bill C-10 released in November 2020, which proposes to amend the Broadcasting Act to bring foreign streaming services under Canadian content rules.

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