The Dufresne Group (the “Group”), which operates Ashley Homestores and Dufresne Furniture and Appliances, must pay a substantial $3.25 million penalty, according to a statement from the Competition Bureau of Canada (the “Bureau”) released September 27, 2023. This settlement marks the resolution of concerns raised by the Bureau regarding the Group’s marketing practices.

The Bureau’s investigation into the Group’s marketing practices revealed a series of concerns related to the accuracy and honesty of their advertising claims. According to the Bureau, customers of Ashley Homestores were led to believe that they were benefiting from substantial discounts, based on assertions made through online platforms and various other advertising mediums within physical stores. Notably, the Bureau found that these apparent discounts were artificially exaggerated based on inflated regular prices, contrary to the ordinary price claims provisions of the Competition Act (the “Act”).Continue Reading The Dufresne Group Hit with $3.25 Million Penalty Amidst Competition Bureau’s Concerns Over Marketing Claims

On September 20, 2023, the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (“ISED”) released a report summarizing the submissions received from the public relating to the ongoing competition law amendment consultation process (the “Consultation Report”).

By way of background, as discussed in our previous blog post, 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”) on November 17, 2022. The call for public engagement highlighted that the review would focus on the role and functioning of the Act, the role and powers of the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”), the effectiveness of remedies and private redress mechanisms, addressing challenges of data and digital markets, and other pro-competitive policies.Continue Reading Public Consultation on Amendments to the Competition Act – Summary of Feedback

The Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) recently released a new volume of its Deceptive Marketing Practices Digest (the “Digest”). The purpose of the Digest is to provide businesses with guidance on how to comply with the Competition Act (the “Act”) when marketing their products and services, and each volume focuses on a few specific types of advertising practices. This sixth edition of the Digest discusses two main topics: (i) the use of scarcity cues in online marketing and (ii) drip pricing and other types of variable fees.Continue Reading Competition Bureau Releases Deceptive Marketing Practices Digest: Volume 6

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 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