The Safe Streets and Communities Act is relatively well known for the significant impact that it will have on a number of criminal statutes. Less well known, however, is the important effect that it will have on Canadians charged with violating the conspiracy and bid-rigging provisions of the Competition Act. This effect creates a new, US-style dynamic that may see the infamous Wall Street 'perp walks' become a Canadian business risk.
The Competition Act prohibits various kinds of anti-competitive behaviour, including commercial agreements among competitors that have anti-competitive effects. Amendments to the act that were passed in March 2009, but will come into effect only in March 2010, make significant changes to the way commercial agreements are analyzed and challenged by Canada's antitrust regulator, the commissioner of competition.