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Competition bureau publishes draft guidelines for the production of electronically stored information

On August 26, 2014, the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) published draft Guidelines for the Production of Electronically Stored Information (the “Draft Guidelines”) for public consultation. The Draft Guidelines sets out the Bureau’s preferred standard format for receiving electronically stored information during the course of an inquiry or investigation under the Competition Act (the “Act”), whether in response to compulsory or voluntary processes. The issuance of the Draft Guidelines is part of the Bureau’s Action Plan on Transparency, which aims to promote the development of a more cost-effective, efficient and responsive agency, while providing Canadians with more opportunities to learn about the Bureau’s work.

The Draft Guidelines apply to production of electronically stored information (“ESI”) within the following categories:

  • a court order issued under section 11 of the Act;
  • a court order issued under the Criminal Code;
  • a supplementary information request issued under subsection 114(2) of the Act;
  • a production pursuant to participation in the Bureau’s Immunity or Leniency Programs; and
  • a voluntary production of information.

Producing parties are encouraged to communicate with the Bureau prior to collecting and producing ESI to discuss production details.

Further technical instructions include the following, among others: