Beer, Butter, and Barristers: How Canadian Governments Put Cartels before Consumers
AbstractIn Canada, various sectors of the economy are subject to government regulations, many of which are designed to correct market failures. However, such regulations are generally inconsistent with federal competition law, which aims to promote economic efficiency by maintaining the integrity of competitive markets. The courts have resolved this tension by developing the Regulated Conduct Defence (RCD) – an interpretive judicial doctrine that immunizes various regulatory regimes from the application of competition law. In this Commentary we challenge the wisdom of the RCD from an economic and legal standpoint. In particular, we criticize the view, established by the courts, that regulations conflicting with competition law should be deemed to operate in the public interest. We argue that certain regulatory regimes advance private interests at an unreasonable cost to consumers. Our analysis includes three examples of regulatory regimes that interfere with competitive forces but nevertheless benefit from immunity to competition law: agricultural supply management, private alcohol retail, and legal services. We propose: (i) clarifying the Competition Act’s application to regulated conduct; (ii) where practicable, limiting the scope of immunity for regulated sectors such that if regulation is deemed necessary, it is narrowly tailored to be minimally impairing to competition; and (iii) requiring the federal government to assess the competitive effects of all legislation prior to enactment.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by C.D. Howe Institute in its journal C.D. Howe Institute Commentary.
Volume (Year): (2013)
Issue (Month): 382 (May)
Economic Growth and Innovation; Competition Policy; Supply Management;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General
- L43 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Legal Monopolies and Regulation or Deregulation
- L50 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - General
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- William B.P. Robson & Colin Busby, 2010. "Freeing up Food: The Ongoing Cost, and Potential Reform, of Supply Management," C.D. Howe Institute Backgrounder, C.D. Howe Institute, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 128, April.
- Kenneth E. Train, 1991. "Optimal Regulation: The Economic Theory of Natural Monopoly," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200848, December.
- Easterbrook, Frank H, 1983. "Antitrust and the Economics of Federalism," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 23-50, April.
- Paul R. Masson Author- Workplace-Name: University of Toronto & Anindya Sen Author- Workplace-Name: University of Waterloo, 2014. "Uncorking a Strange Brew: The Need for More Competition in Ontario’s Alcoholic Beverage Retailing System," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 414, August.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kristine Gray).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.