New International Online Reviews and Endorsements Guidelines Give Practical Guidance to Marketers, Reflect Competition Bureau Policies

Featured Update Practical Law Canada Competition July 18, 2016 This Featured Update discusses the recent Online Reviews and Endorsements Guidelines issued by the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN). It includes a summary of key principles and guidelines for review administrators, traders and marketing professionals, and digital influencers. It also highlights how these new Guidelines reflect the Canadian Competition Bureau’s approach to online reviews and endorsements, as well as other major consumer protection agencies. Practical Law Canada Competition Major competition and consumer protection agencies have been increasing their focus on digital marketing, including specific issues, such as online reviews and endorsements. For example, the Competition Bureau (Bureau) has been increasing its guidance relating to reviews and endorsements. See Competition Bureau: Bulletin, The Deceptive Marketing Practices Digest (Volume 1) (2015). The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also recently updated its Endorsement Guides FAQs. See The FTC’s Endorsement Guides: What People … read more »

Get in the Know: The Most Popular Social Media Advertising Products Available

Guest post by Nick Hollinger tbk Creative It’s common knowledge that any organization can – and should – set up free social media accounts to start organically reaching individuals without spending a dime. So, that’s all businesses can do with social media, right? Wrong. What if I told you that you can capitalize on thousands of potentially, untapped consumers (who have a need for your products) at a lower cost than traditional marketing mediums? This is where social media advertising comes in. In this article, I discuss the most popular social media advertising platforms and their capabilities. For the full article see: here. ___________________ For more information about my regulatory law services: contact For more regulatory law updates follow me on Twitter: @CanadaAttorney

Responding to Online Brand Attacks

Guest post by John Simpson (Shift Law) Online threats to commercial reputations are on the rise. These include “attack sites”, “gripe sites” (e.g., RipOff Report), cyber-libel via social media, domain name high-jacking, meta tag high-jacking and defamatory email campaigns. Online brand and reputation attacks are easy and inexpensive to wage and they can be devastatingly effective. When confronted with an online attack to its brand, a business has a number of options. It can respond with a “corrective campaign”, hire an online reputation management expert, hire a lawyer to write demand letters to the attacker (if known) or to Internet intermediaries or commence a lawsuit – or none of or all of the above. The best option will often include legal action. Online reputation and brand attacks can give rise to a number of causes of action against the persons directly involved as well as, in certain cases, the Internet … read more »

Four Year Mobile Cramming Case Ends With $11 Million Bell, Trade Association Settlements

Earlier today, the Competition Bureau (Bureau) announced two final settlements in its four-year year litigation against Canada’s major telecoms and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA). See: Bell customers to receive up to $11.82 million as part of Competition Bureau agreement. In making the announcement, the Commissioner of Competition said: “We are pleased that the agreements reached with Bell and the CWTA bring an end to the legal proceedings initiated by the Competition Bureau. Trust in the digital economy is vital for Canadians in the 21st century. As with the settlements reached with Rogers and Telus, Bell’s settlement represents a significant win for consumers and will deter others from engaging in misleading advertising that results in unauthorized charges to consumers.” This case, which was first commenced by the Bureau in 2012, involved allegations that Canada’s three largest telecoms (Rogers, Telus and Bell) made or permitted materially false or misleading representations … read more »

Filing Competition Bureau & Other Regulatory Complaints

I frequently receive inquires and calls relating to filing a competition, advertising, consumer protection or other regulatory complaint. Companies, individuals or other types of organizations may want to file a complaint relating to a competitor, manufacturer or supplier, retailer or other market participant based on potentially anti-competitive or misleading/deceptive conduct in the marketplace. A complaint may be based on direct harm in the marketplace (for example, competitor conduct that is causing damages) or simply from a concern about a company’s or individual’s activities are violating federal, provincial or local laws. In this respect, there are, depending on the type of matter, a range of enforcement agencies where regulatory complaints may be filed. These include the Competition Bureau, provincial consumer protection agencies, fraud enforcers (for example, the RCMP, police or Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre), Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications, CRTC (for example, for telemarketing complaints) or the Spam Reporting Centre. See below … read more »

Competition Compliance for Associations: CSAE 2016 Winter Summit

I am pleased to be a guest speaker at the CSAE (Canadian Society of Association Executives) Trillium Chapter’s 2016 Winter Summit in Burlington on February 4th. I will be co-presenting an interactive seminar on the Competition Bureau’s new approach to competition compliance for associations together with Mark Katz (Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP) and Nadia Brault, Director of Compliance at the Competition Bureau’s Competition Promotion Branch. Overview Last June, the Competition Bureau finalized its new approach to Canadian competition law compliance and issued a new Corporate Compliance Programs Bulletin.  The Bureau’s new approach includes some major changes including for associations.  Some of the Bureau’s key association related recommendations include that associations adopt credible and effective compliance programs and that companies consider compliance training for personnel attending association events.  The Bureau’s new compliance materials also include specific compliance guidelines for associations.  This presentation will tell you what you need to … read more »