Competition Bureau obtains court order to advance an investigation of Google
The Competition Bureau has obtained a court order to advance a civil investigation into conduct by Google related to its online advertising business. The Bureau is investigating whether this conduct is harming competition in Canada.
The Bureau is investigating whether Google has engaged in certain practices that harm competition in the online display advertising industry in Canada. This industry is made up of various technology products that are used to display advertisements to users when they visit websites or use apps.
The Bureau requires more information to examine these practices and to determine whether they are:
- impeding the success of competitors; and
- resulting in higher prices, reducing choice and hindering innovation for advertising technology (ad tech) services, and harming advertisers, publishers and consumers.
The order, granted by the Federal Court of Canada on October 22, 2021, requires Google to produce records and written information that are relevant to the Bureau’s investigation.
The Bureau’s investigation is ongoing and there is no conclusion of wrongdoing at this time.
Online display advertising – where advertising is shown to users when they visit websites or use apps – includes a variety of ad formats from pictures to videos.
Advertisers and publishers use ad tech services to connect through digital marketplaces where ad space can be bought and sold in auctions.
Google sells online ad space to advertisers in Canada, among other places, on YouTube. It also provides online ad tech services to both advertisers and publishers in Canada who buy and sell online ad space.
The Bureau previously investigated Google for alleged anti-competitive conduct relating to online search, search advertising and displaying advertising. At that time, the Bureau committed to closely follow developments with respect to Google’s conduct.