Canada’s competition watchdog has launched an investigation into Amazon.ca to examine whether the U.S.-owned online retail giant is engaging in conduct “impacting competition to the detriment of consumers and companies that do business in Canada.”
The Competition Bureau said in a press release Friday that it is “inviting market participants to provide input to inform its civil investigation into conduct by Amazon.”
The federal watchdog said, however, that its “investigation is ongoing and there is no conclusion of wrongdoing at this time.”
The Competition Bureau said it is conducting its investigation under the restrictive trade practices provisions of the Competition Act, with a focus on potential abuse of dominance.
Areas of interest to the watchdog include:
- any past or existing Amazon policies which may impact third-party sellers’ willingness to offer their products for sale at a lower price on other retail channels, such as their own websites or other online marketplaces;
- the ability of third-party sellers to succeed on Amazon’s marketplace without using its “Fulfilment By Amazon” service or advertising on Amazon.ca;
- and any efforts or strategies by Amazon that may influence consumers to purchase products it offers for sale over those offered by competing sellers.
A spokesperson for Amazon said the company is cooperating with the Competition Bureau review.
“[We] continue to work hard to support small and medium sized businesses who sell in our Canadian store — and help them grow,” Amazon said in an emailed statement.
Online shopping has boomed in Canada over the past decade. According to Statistics Canada, in 2018 Canadians spent $57.4 billion on online purchases, compared to only $18.9 billion in 2012.
The pandemic-related lockdowns appear to have accelerated that trend even further with Statistics Canada recently reporting that Canadians spent almost $4 billion shopping online in May. That is double the amount they spent in February before the pandemic began, and more than double the amount they were spending online a year ago.
With files from CBC News