Melanie Aitken is Co-Chair Canadian Competition and Foreign Investment Group, and the Managing Principal of the firm’s US office in Washington, DC.
Melanie most recently served as Canada’s Competition Commissioner, in charge of the Canadian Competition Bureau. She headed the Bureau from 2009 to 2012, having previously served in the Bureau as the Senior Deputy Commissioner leading merger review from 2006 to 2009.
While serving as Commissioner, Melanie led many high-profile civil and criminal matters and worked extensively with leaders of international antitrust authorities around the world on enforcement and policy cases, holding leadership roles in key international organizations, such as the Steering Committee of the International Competition Network. Melanie is credited with revitalizing the Bureau as an active enforcement agency. Most notably, she led the introduction of major amendments to Canada’s competition laws, introducing a US-style second request merger review process in Canada, and a new per se criminal cartel offence. While establishing an unprecedented successful litigation record for the Bureau, Melanie initiated a landmark case that liberalized the Canadian real estate industry by removing rules that prohibited unbundled services, brought cases forward in significant matters (including a challenge to Visa and MasterCard over card acceptance rules, and challenging a merger to monopoly on a major airline merger); during her tenure, the Bureau won the first court-ordered merger prohibition since the 1990s.
Melanie was a partner at Bennett Jones and another major Canadian firm before joining the Bureau in 2005. She has acted as counsel in the Supreme Court of Canada and, prior to the Bureau, had an active trial and appellate antitrust and commercial practice, representing major Canadian and US companies in significant matters, including as counsel for the merging parties in Superior Propane, Canada’s leading merger efficiencies case.
Melanie is a frequent speaker and commentator on competition issues, and has taught as an Adjunct Professor at Osgoode Hall and Queen’s Law Schools. She is active in the ABA Antitrust Section leadership; sits on the Advisory Boards of the Global Antitrust Institute (D.C.) and Schulich School of Business (Toronto, Canada); and serves on the Board of Directors of the Canadian American Business Council (D.C.). Melanie also acts as a non-governmental advisor to the International Competition Network, a network of the world’s competition authorities fostering convergence to best practices in global antitrust enforcement.
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