Lawyer Profile Detail

Donald B. Houston




Class Actions






[email protected]



University of Manitoba


Ontario, 1981


Donald B. Houston is a partner in our Competition Law Group in Toronto. He is widely recognized as one of Canada’s leading practitioners in competition law and litigation. Mr. Houston is a former Chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Competition Law Section.

Mr. Houston’s competition practice includes cartel investigations and prosecutions, mergers, civil cases before the Competition Tribunal and private actions (including class actions) in the Courts. He has frequently represented the Commissioner of Competition in the Tribunal and before the Courts. He also assists clients by counselling on the competition aspects of business transactions and by making representations to the Bureau in mergers and other matters.

Mr. Houston is recognized in several respected publications for his high level of expertise. These include the World’s Leading Competition and Anti-Trust Lawyers, Chambers Global: Guide to the World’s Leading Lawyers, Chambers Canada, Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, Benchmark Canada, The Legal 500 - Canada, Best Lawyers in Canada, Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada, and Who’s Who Legal: Canada. He is one of a few Canadian lawyers ranked by Chambers Global in band 1 for competition litigation.


Mr. Houston has acted as counsel on numerous significant competition matters. Recent completed mandates include:

  • Representation of Shell Canada in the sale of its oil sands interests in Canada, completed in 2017;
  • Representation of Molson Coors in its acquisition of the Miller beer brands, completed in 2016;
  • Defence of criminal price-fixing charges regarding chocolate products, charges stayed in 2015;
  • Representation of a telecommunications company defending claims of misleading advertising brought by the Commissioner of Competition, resolved in 2016;
  • Representation of an energy company, defending allegations of abuse of dominance made by the Commissioner in the Competition Tribunal, resolved in 2015;
  • Representation of Lafarge SA in its global merger with Holcim Inc., completed in 2015;
  • Representation of Desjardins in its acquisition of State Farm’s property and casualty insurance business, completed in 2015;
  • Cartel investigations and/or related class actions regarding chocolate products, polyurethane foam and automotive lights, all completed in 2015/2016.

Other significant mandates include:


  • Direct Energy’s sale of its Ontario Home Services Business to Enercare Inc., 2014;
  • Agrium’s acquisition of Viterra retail, 2013;
  • Leon’s acquisition of the Brick, 2013;
  • Maple Group acquisition of the Toronto Stock Exchange, 2012;
  • Eaton Corporation’s acquisition of Cooper Industries, 2012;
  • BCE’s acquisition of the CTV television network, 2011;
  • BFI Canada’s acquisition of Waste Services Inc., 2010;
  • Avaya Inc.’s acquisition of the Nortel enterprise communications business, 2009;
  • Suncor merger with Petro-Canada, 2009 – Counsel for the Commissioner;
  • ICI acquisition by Akzo Nobel, 2007 - merger;
  • Cargill Limited Acquisition of the Better Beef Group, 2005.

Cartel Investigations & Class Actions

Mr. Houston has represented clients in cartel investigations (and/or related class actions) involving a wide range of products including the following: foreign exchange, electronic books, air cargo, chocolate products, drywall, polyurethane foam, various automotive products, rubber chemicals, various computer chips and components, optical disk drives, construction flat glass, hydrogen peroxide and other chemicals, food additives and vitamins.

Other Competition Litigation

  • Representation of a telecommunications company defending claims of misleading advertising brought by the Commissioner of Competition, resolved in 2016;
  • Representation of an energy company, defending allegations of abuse of dominance made by the Commissioner in the Competition Tribunal, resolved in 2015;
  • Defence of criminal charges alleging breach of a Tribunal Order, charges stayed in 2012;
  • Commissioner v. Agricore United (2006 – merger litigation);
  • Commissioner v. Canadian Waste Services (2004 – merger litigation);
  • Commissioner v. Air Canada (2003 - abuse of dominance, predation);
  • Boehringer Ingelheim v. Bristol-Myers (1999 - private action, predation);
  • Law Society of Upper Canada v. Canada (1996 - regulated conduct);
  • ICN Pharmaceuticals v. Canada (1996 - jurisdiction of Patented Medicines Prices Review Board);
  • Director v. D&B Companies (1996 – abuse of dominance);
  • Director v. Southam Inc. (1995 – merger litigation); and
  • Director v. Air Canada (1993 – merger litigation, variation order).

Mr. Houston has appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Canada and all levels of Courts in Ontario. His experience litigating cases before the Competition Tribunal is unsurpassed in Canada.


Mr. Houston is an adjunct professor at Western University Law School, and has written and lectured extensively. His publications include:

  • “The Trial of an Action” (2nd ed.), 1998, with the late Honourable Justice Sopinka and Melanie Sopinka
  • “The Annual Canadian Competition and Foreign Investment Law Year in Review”, with J. Bitran et al;
  • Competition Law, in “Intellectual Property Disputes: Resolutions and Remedies,” Thomson/Carswell;
  • “Recent Developments in Competition Class Actions in Canada”, with E. Rix, Canadian Institute, 2009;
  • “The Role of Intent in Abuse of Dominance Cases in Canada”, with J. Pratt, Insight, 2006;
  • “Jurisdictional Issues in International Cartel Cases: A Canadian Perspective”, Irwin Law, 2006;
  • “Canadian Predation Laws and Their Application to the Airline Industry”, with J. Pratt, ABA, 2004;
  • “Price Maintenance, Price Discrimination and Predatory Pricing: Overview and Practical Issues”, with P. Sirkis, Osgoode Hall, 2004;
  • “Expert Reports: Practice & Procedure in Commercial Litigation & Forensic Accounting”, with J. Pratt, Butterworths, 2003;
  • “Anti-Trust Class Actions: A Canadian Growth Business”, American Lawyer Media 2002;
  • “Private Remedies for Anti-Competitive Conduct”, CBA, 1998, with R. Bell and S. Bhattacharjee.



Transactions & Cases

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