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Statement by Senator Pierrette Ringuette on the Competition Bureau investigation into possible abuse of dominance by VISA and MasterCard

OTTAWA – Today, Senator Pierrette Ringuette took the opportunity to publically remind the Competition Bureau to complete and rule on its review of VISA and Mastercard under the Abuse of Dominant Position section of The Competition Act.

When Richard Taylor, Deputy Commissioner of Competition, Civil Matters Branch of the Competition Bureau appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade, and Commerce on March 25th, 2009, he stated that the Competition Bureau was “currently investigating the credit card companies under section 79 of The Competition Act, Abuse of Dominant Position.”

Section 79 states that where the Competition Tribunal finds one or more persons substantially or completely controlling a market and have engaged in practices that substantially limit competition, the Tribunal may make an order prohibiting any of those persons from engaging in that practice.

“Why is this taking so long? It has been over a year and a half since the Deputy Commissioner announced the investigation and we have yet to hear a ruling,” noted Senator Pierrette Ringuette. “This is a matter of the upmost importance to Canadian consumers and small businesses who are paying millions of dollars to these credit card companies every year. If they are in contravention of the Act, we need to know and action needs to be taken. I urge the Competition Bureau to finish this review and ensure that Canadians are not being hurt by anti-competitive practices. I would ask any and all Parliamentarians, Canadian consumers and small businesses who feel gouged by these companies to speak up and pressure the Competition Bureau to take action.”