COVID-19: Regulatory Resources

Competition

Canada’s Competition Bureau has clearly signalled that although the response to COVID-19 may cause delays and raise novel issues, it remains committed to fulfilling its mandate during this period of disruption. The Bureau’s merger review functions remain in place, with no change in approach and only minor logistical adjustments so far. In the area of competitor collaborations, however, the Bureau has expressed a clear and unprecedented willingness to support short-term, good faith collaborations designed to enable businesses to respond to the crisis, and has even created a new informal mechanism through which firms can seek the Bureau’s guidance regarding prospective collaborations.

COVID-19 and Healthcare Product Marketing under the Competition Act and Food and Drugs Act (May 7, 2020)
Update on Competition Law Enforcement in a Time of Crisis: Consistency in Merger Control, But New Flexibility in Competitor Collaborations (April 13, 2020)
Competition Law in Canada: What, If Anything, Changes in a Crisis Situation? (March 24, 2020)

Contacts: Please contact any member of our Competition & Foreign Investment Group.

Energy

In addition to financial relief for the oil and gas sector from the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta has suspended certain reporting and inspection requirements that impact the energy sector.

Federal Government Announces C$2.5B in relief for Oil and Gas sector in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia (April 20, 2020)
Alberta Government Suspends Certain Reporting and Inspection Requirements Under Specified Energy Enactments, Rules, Directives, Approvals and Licences in Response to COVID-19 (April 9, 2020)
Alberta Government Suspends Certain Reporting Requirements in Response to COVID-19 (April 3, 2020)

Contacts: Please contact any member of our Energy – Power Group or Energy - Oil and Gas Group.

Intellectual Property

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office ("CIPO") announced a blanket extension of all deadlines fixed under the Trademarks Act, the Patent Act, and the Industrial Design Act: all deadlines falling between March 16 and July 5 have been automatically extended to July 6, 2020.

COVID-19 Update: CIPO Extends Office Deadline (Last updated June 10, 2020)

Contacts: Please contact any member of our Intellectual Property Group.

National Security

One key factor that could change the world of business after COVID: an intensified governmental focus on national security. In the Canadian setting, this is likely to involve a shift in industrial and economic policy to incentivize investment in critical sectors such as health, as well as placing renewed attention on the potential impact of foreign investment on Canada’s ability to respond to future crises.

Canadian Government Announces COVID-19 Related Enhanced Scrutiny of Investments by Non-Canadians in Canadian Businesses Involved in Public Health or the Supply of Critical Goods and Services (April 20, 2020)
After COVID-19: How Will the Government’s New Focus on National Security Affect Canadian Business? (April 14, 2020)

Contact: Shawn Neylan 

Pension Plans

Pension regulators across Canada have been taking steps to address the impact of COVID-19 on registered pension plans, including deadline extensions, restrictions on portability transfers and certain exceptions for plans that temporarily reduce contributions. 

COVID-19 Pensions Update: Federally Registered Pension Plans (May 12, 2020)
Solvency Special Payments for Federally Regulated DB Plans Suspended to End of 2020, Consultation Promised for 2021 (April 16, 2020)

Pharmaceutical and Health Sciences

On March 18, 2020, the federal Minister of Health approved the Interim Order Respecting the Importation and Sale of Medical Devices for Use in Relation to COVID-19. The Interim Order, which allows for an expedited review of Health Canada applications for COVID-19 related medical products and expedited market access, was enacted under section 30.1(1) of the federal Food and Drugs Act. This section empowers the Minister to make an interim order where the Minister believes that immediate action is required to deal with a significant risk to health, safety or the environment.

This follows on Health Canada's Bulletin reminding Drug Establishment Licence (DEL) holders of their obligations to notify the regulator of any events that could have an impact on pharmaceutical operations. In the case of COVID-19, this would include events relating to drug shortages or impacting quality, safety or efficacy.

COVID-19 and Healthcare Product Marketing under the Competition Act and Food and Drugs Act (May 7, 2020)
Health Canada Offers an Expedited Regulatory Pathway for COVID-19 Related Products (March 24, 2020)

Contacts: Sara Zborovski (Toronto), Ian Trimble (Toronto)