Although Canada 's current conspiracy law dates back to the early 1900s and has remained virtually unchanged since it was initially passed, the Competition Bureau's new law comes into effect March 12, 2010, and will be broadly applied.

“The new law”, explains Jeffrey Thomas, a partner in the Vancouver office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, “provides that any agreement between competitors or potential competitors to fix prices, allocate customers or markets, or fix output is illegal. Importantly, the requirement to prove economic harm has been eliminated.”

And, all businesses, says Thomas, need to be aware. “As of March 12, agreement between competitors or potential competitors will be subject to some serious new rules. This is not to say that all agreements between competitors will be illegal, but businesses must know what these new rules say and make sure they're complying — or potentially suffer significant consequences.”