false or misleading 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

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