Archive for the ‘ Competition ’ Category

Contests Gone Wild: Controlling the Promotional Contest in Canada



Have you ever thought about organizing a Bikini Contest to give away a prize? What about organizing any promotional contest?

The reality is, promotional contests are absolutely everywhere.  Canadians love contests, and the contest industry is on a high. It’s almost impossible getting through your day without coming across some advertised contest. Whether you observe them online, on the radio, or on roadside billboards, the laws governing how these contests must run are crucial for every advertiser to be aware of in order to avoid severe criminal and civil penalties in the event of legal shortfalls. Read more

Bell Canada Pays Price for Misleading Advertising: Who’s Next?




After being taken on by the Competition Bureau, Bell Canada has agreed to pay a monetary fine of $10 million to the Bureau for engaging in misleading advertising.

Bell Canada’s advertised prices failed to include the many hidden fees such as modem rental and phone and digital television services that were later tacked on when consumers tried purchasing the advertised products or services. For example, Bell’s bundle package, which included cable, television and home phone services was advertised as low as $69.90/month but actual prices charged were $80.27 (about 15% more). An investigation launched by the Bureau determined that Bell has been engaging in this practice since December 2007. Read more

Greenwashing in the Consumer Marketplace: Marketers Will Make Green as Long as Consumers Go Green

The recent practice of what has become known as “Greenwashing” refers to the act of companies dishonestly or insincerely branding their products as environmentally friendly when in fact they are not nearly as environmentally sound as consumers are lead to believe. The challenges associated with Greenwashing are quickly becoming an invitation for legal intervention on many fronts and may likely continue to develop into a niche legal practice with an abundance of opportunity. Greenwashing claims are becoming extremely popular, and lawsuits and class actions in relation to Greenwashing claims have only seen the tip of the iceberg according to industry experts.

Although misleading advertising and false labeling is not uncommon amongst many industries, I’ve decided to focus specifically on these issues as they relate to  Environmental Marketing because of the immense consumer fixation on “Going Green” and companies’ determination to meet this consumer need. Read more



The Government of Canada has recently made some drastic amendments to the Competition Act (“the Act”) in efforts to further protect Canadians from the effects of anticompetitive market behaviour. Some of the key areas of the Act that have been overhauled include sections that relate to deceptive marketing practices, conspiracies, and the merger review process. The focus of this article will be centered on understanding why the current competition regime in Canada ought to be considered by trade associations and their members in their dealings to avoid potentially serious legal consequences.

Trade associations have been described as “individuals and corporations with common commercial interests who, under the auspices of the organization, join together to take joint actions that further their commercial or professional goals”. At first glance, this description may seem to lay the groundwork for completely legitimate activity such as discussing matters of industry importance, safety and quality standards and industry trends. In addition, because the Act lacks  provisions dealing exclusively with trade associations directly, one may think that activities involving trade associations are not on the Government’s radar. However, it must also be recognized that the risks associated with bringing market competitors together into such a tight forum creates a launching pad for trade association members to engage in anticompetitive conduct, which could very well be captured by the Act. However, this is not to downplay the legitimate roles trade associations have. As a result, the following will outline ways to maintain these legitimate purposes while being mindful of where to exercise caution.

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