Ottawa freezes merger notification threshold, funds housing innovation projects

Ottawa is freezing the threshold at which the Competition Bureau must be notified of a merger.

The federal Liberal government is also providing $123 million to eight homebuilders it says are driving innovation and will help build more than 5,000 affordable homes.

The announcements came Tuesday during Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland's weekly economic update alongside other ministers.

Federal law requires that mergers that exceed a certain value are flagged to the Competition Bureau in advance so it can assess the potential impact.

Ottawa says the amount usually increases along with gross domestic product — but instead, it will be frozen at $93 million, the threshold since 2021.

Had the threshold been increased at the rate of economic growth, the federal government says it would have been around $120 million by now.

The home funding is being allocated through the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, which finances rent-to-own schemes and other innovative projects.

Housing Minister Sean Fraser outlined some of the projects targeted for support, including ones focused on modular housing and lower energy costs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2024.

Nojoud Al Mallees, The Canadian Press