Issues for Two-Sided Platforms in Canadian Competition Law

Canadian Competition Law Review, Vol. 26, No. 1 (Spring, 2013)

36 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2013

See all articles by Grant Bishop

Grant Bishop

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Date Written: May 2013


This paper proposes a framework for the analysis of anti-competitive conduct in the context of two-sided platforms under Canadian competition law. Applying this framework, the paper analyzes two recent reviewable conduct applications by the Competition Commissioner – against Visa and Mastercard, and against the Toronto Real Estate Board – that implicate the economics of two-sided platforms and are currently under consideration by the Competition Tribunal. In general, two-sided platforms intermediate interactions between two distinct sets of users, such that demand from one side of the platform depends on the extent of demand from the other side (e.g. operating systems, security exchanges, video game consoles). This paper argues that restrictions on a platform’s users should be permitted to the extent that these maintain incentives for efficient conduct within the platform and neither constrain nor distort the ability of participants to transact on alternative platforms nor facilitate cartels. Conduct that limits users’ ability to transact on alternative platforms, removing a competitive constraint through exclusivity, or that facilitates cartel behaviour should be regarded as anti-competitive.

First published in the Canadian Competition Law Review, Volume 26(1); reproduced with permission of the Canadian Bar Association.

Keywords: competition policy, competition law, network externalities, two-sided markets

Suggested Citation

Bishop, Grant, Issues for Two-Sided Platforms in Canadian Competition Law (May 2013). Canadian Competition Law Review, Vol. 26, No. 1 (Spring, 2013), Available at SSRN: or

Grant Bishop (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5

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