Marketing & Advertising

As discussed in our previous blog post, on November 17, 2022, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, launched the much anticipated public consultation on the second stage of potential amendments to the Competition Act (the “Act”).

As part of this consultation process, the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (“ISED”) issued a discussion paper, titled The Future of Competition Policy in Canada (the “Discussion Paper”), which considers numerous issues and potential areas of reform, including in the mergers, unilateral conduct, competitor collaboration, deceptive marketing and administration/enforcement context. The Discussion Paper does not include any particular recommendations or proposed amendments to the Act. Rather, it simply sets the stage and invites feedback from interested stakeholders on the issues and potential areas of reform, which can be provided on or before February 27, 2023.

To help businesses better understand the issues and potential areas of reform included in the Discussion Paper, we’re releasing a series of blog posts discussing these issues and potential areas of reform on a topic-by-topic basis. This is the fourth blog post in the series, which is focused on deceptive marketing in Canada.

Continue Reading Deceptive Marketing – Enforcement in the Digital Age

On November 17, 2022, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, launched the much anticipated public consultation for potential amendments to the Competition Act (the “Act”).

Continue Reading ISED Launches Consultation on Comprehensive Review of the Competition Act

A longer version of this article has also been published in the Canadian Competition Law Review.

“Greenwashing” involves making environmental (i.e., “green”) claims which may leave consumers with the false or misleading impression that a product or service is “environmentally friendly” when, in fact, it is not. In Canada, greenwashing – as a form of misleading advertising – is largely governed by the Competition Act (the “Act”). Specifically, section 74.01(1) of the Act sets out the general civil prohibition against making representations to the public for the purposes of promoting a product, service or business interest that are false or misleading in a material respect.[1] Section 52(1) of the Act contains the general criminal prohibition against misleading advertising. This section prohibits a person from knowingly or recklessly engaging in the activities prohibited by section 74.01(1).
Continue Reading Spotlight on Greenwashing

On September 20, 2022, the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) hosted its Competition and Green Growth Summit (the “Summit”). In a nutshell:  while the Competition Bureau did not provide any definitive policy pronouncements or specific directives (as the Summit was structured as a high level discussion on the intersection of competition law, deceptive marketing and sustainability policies), sustainability related matters are clearly an enforcement priority for the Bureau. Among other things, Commissioner Boswell highlighted the need for urgent action in addressing climate change and the increased interest by consumers and businesses in moving towards a greener economy.

Continue Reading Competition Bureau Green Growth Summit – Summary and Key Takeaways

Significant amendments to Canada’s Competition Act (the “Act”) are now law. The amendments can be broken down into five categories: (i) abuse of dominance, (ii) criminal cartel and competitor collaborations, (iii) marketing and consumer protection, (iv) merger review and (v) evidence gathering. All amendments are currently in effect with the exception of the new offence for wage-fixing and no-poach agreements and the increased penalties under the existing criminal cartel provisions of the Act, which will come into effect on June 23, 2023.

Continue Reading Canada’s New Competition Act Amendments and Private Competition Litigation: Compliance Tips for Businesses Operating in Canada

On June 23, 2022, Bill C-19, also known as the Budget Implementation Act, 2022, No.1 (“BIA”), received royal assent. The BIA was tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022 and included significant proposed amendments to the Competition Act (the “Act”).

Continue Reading Significant Amendments to Canada’s Competition Act Are Now Law: What You Need to Know

Recognizing the critical role of the Competition Act (the “Act”) in promoting dynamic and fair markets, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, announced on February 7, 2022 that he would carefully evaluate potential ways to improve its operation. This included, among other things, adapting the law to today’s digital reality to better tackle emerging forms of harmful behaviour in the digital economy; tackling wage-fixing agreements; modernizing the penalty regime to ensure that it serves as a genuine deterrent against harmful business conduct; more clearly addressing drip pricing; increasing access to justice for those injured by harmful conduct; and fixing loopholes that allow for harmful conduct. During an interview with the Toronto Star, the Minister suggested that this was the first step in a “comprehensive” review of the Act.

Continue Reading Significant Amendments to Competition Act Coming Soon

Governments and competition agencies around the world, including those in Canada, the United States and Europe, are reviewing their competition policies to assess whether they are capable of addressing novel and complex issues arising in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing digital economy. These issues arise because the digital economy, unlike traditional markets, is often charactered by, among other things, platform-based business models, multi-sided markets, network effects, economies of scale, rapid technological change and disruptive innovation.

Continue Reading Competition Bureau Recommendations to Strengthen the Competition Act: Introduction

Competition, marketing and foreign investment law saw a number of changes in the past year. Many of these changes were in response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, which has significantly changed the way Canadians, businesses and government agencies operate. Despite the pandemic, the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) has actively continued its enforcement activity and provided a number of guidance documents to help businesses stay onside the Competition Act (the “Act”). Similarly, Canada’s Investment Review Division (“IRD”) of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (“ISED”) has also responded to the challenges resulting from the pandemic.

Continue Reading Fasken’s Forecast for 2022 and Beyond: 2021’s Top 10 Trends in Canadian Competition, Marketing & Foreign Investment Law and what Businesses should expect in 2022

The Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA), the Canadian Beverage Association (CBA), Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada (FHCP) and Restaurants Canada recently published the Code for the Responsible Advertising of Food and Beverage Products to Children (the “Code”). The Code, and its accompanying Guide for the Responsible Advertising of Food and Beverage Products to Children (the “Guide”) expand upon the legislative and self-regulatory regimes that already exist in Canada by setting out the conditions governing responsible advertising of food and beverages to children. They recognize that children are a special audience and that particular care must be taken in developing advertising for children.

Continue Reading New Industry Standard for Advertising Food and Beverage Products to Children