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Client Work

United Grain Growers Limited v. Commissioner of Competition and the Canadian Wheat Board and Mission Terminal Inc.

Fasken
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Overview

On May 11, 2006, Agricore United withdrew its application seeking to rescind or modify a Consent Agreement concerning the Competition Bureau mandated divestiture of one of its Vancouver port terminals, representing a significant victory for Fasken Martineau client Mission Terminal Inc. The origins of the case go back a number of years. In October 2002, Agricore United entered into a Consent Agreement with the Commissioner of Competition whereby it agreed to sell one of its port terminals in Vancouver, in connection with its acquisition of Agricore Cooperative Ltd. By August 2005, the sale had still not been completed and Agricore United applied to the Competition Tribunal under s. 106 of the Competition Act to rescind or modify the Consent Agreement, in light of alleged market changes since the agreement was signed. The Commissioner of Competition opposed the application. The Canadian Wheat Board was granted intervenor status as was Mission Terminal, represented by Jeffrey Leon, William Hourigan, Douglas New, Richard Johnston and Sharon Horst of Fasken Martineau. Mission Terminal operates a port terminal in Thunder Bay, handling grain for the Canadian Wheat Board and other third parties and was interested in purchasing a port terminal in Vancouver. After two weeks of pre-hearing motions, opening arguments and the applicant's evidence, the application was withdrawn and costs were awarded to the Commissioner and both intervenors. (According to conventional wisdom, intervenors are not awarded costs by the Competition Tribunal.) The divestiture process now continues under the supervision of an independent trustee. Reasons and Order regarding United Grain Grower's Motion to Adjourn its Application and, in the Alternative, for Leave to Discontinue without Costs.

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