The Competition Tribunal was created in 1986 when Parliament enacted major reforms of Canada's competition law and replaced the Combines Investigation Act with the Competition Act.

The Competition Tribunal Act provides for a hybrid tribunal consisting of judicial members appointed from judges of the Federal Court and non-judicial members who are knowledgeable in economics, industry, commerce or public affairs.

In 2002, a number of changes were made to the Competition Act and the Competition Tribunal Act. Private parties were given the right to initiate proceedings before the Tribunal in certain cases. The Tribunal could also hear references filed pursuant to section 124.2 of the Competition Act and award costs of proceedings before it. The number of judicial members to be appointed under the Competition Tribunal Act increased from four to six.

The Tribunal Chairperson has supervision over the work of the Tribunal including the allocation of work of the Tribunal members. On June 30, 1986, Madam Justice Barbara Reed was designated by the Governor in Council as the Tribunal's first Chairperson. Mr. Justice William McKeown became the second Chairperson in 1993 and he held the position until 2002.

Madam Justice Sandra Simpson served as Interim Chairperson of the Competition Tribunal from September 1, 2002 to June 16, 2003, and was designated Chairperson of the Competition Tribunal on June 17, 2003. On June 27, 2007, she was re-appointed Chairperson of the Competition Tribunal for a term of five years, and Member to June 9, 2014. Under her supervision, the Tribunal adopted new Competition Tribunal Rules in 2008. These rules set out new procedures to expedite matters before the Tribunal.

Mr. Justice Donald J. Rennie was appointed judicial member of the Competition Tribunal on May 3, 2012, and Chairperson on June 10, 2012. Justice Rennie was appointed to the Federal Court of Appeal on February 27, 2015 and continued to serve as Chairperson of the Competition Tribunal for a few months until the appointment of the new Chairperson.

Mr. Justice Denis Gascon is the current Chairperson of the Competition Tribunal.