Wage-fixing, no-poaching agreements to become criminal in Canada in June
The Competition Bureau has published its wage-fixing and no-poaching enforcement guidelines.
The guidelines provide businesses transparency and clarity on the Bureau’s enforcement approach to the new criminal provisions coming into force on June 23, 2023. As of that date, it will become a criminal offence for employers to agree:
- to fix, maintain, decrease or control wages or other terms of employment; or
- to refrain from hiring or trying to hire one another’s employees.
“The wage-fixing and no-poaching amendments coming into force is an important step in the ongoing modernization of Canada’s competition law,” said Matthew Boswell, Commissioner of Competition. “With these enforcement guidelines, we’re providing businesses with the certainty and predictability they need to ensure that they’re in full compliance with the law.”
The $25 million cap on fines is also being removed. Going forward, all fines for offences under the conspiracy provision — including agreements to fix prices, allocate markets, restrict supply, fix wages or refrain from hiring — will be determined at the court’s discretion.
The Bureau will also update its Immunity and Leniency Programs to include the new wage-fixing and no-poaching provisions. The Immunity and Leniency Programs are the Bureau’s most powerful tools for detecting and stopping criminal conduct prohibited by the Competition Act, it said.
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