Moose Knuckles Settles “Made in Canada” Advertising Case, Second Use of Competition Tribunal’s Mediation Process

Earlier today, the Competition Bureau (Bureau) announced that Moose Knuckles has entered into a settlement to resolve alleged false or misleading “Made in Canada” claims relating to its down-filled parkas (see: Competition Bureau resolves Made in Canada advertising concerns with Moose Knuckles and Consent Agreement). Moose Knuckles has agreed to donate $750,000 to Canadian charities (e.g., those that provide winter jackets to needy children), qualify its country of origin claims (by stating “Made in Canada with Canadian and imported components), not make any advertising claims that create the general impression that its parkas are made exclusively with Canadian inputs and implement an internal competition compliance program. The Bureau had commenced an inquiry into Moose Knuckles’ “Made in Canada” claims and filed an application before the Competition Tribunal (Tribunal) last spring under the civil misleading advertising section of the Competition Act (section 74.01(1)(a)). The Bureau’s position was that the company’s claims … read more »

Competition Bureau’s Annual Internet Advertising Enforcement Sweep Focuses on False or Misleading Endorsements

Earlier today, the Canadian Competition Bureau (Bureau) announced that its most recent annual Internet advertising sweep focused on false or misleading online endorsements (see: Annual Internet Sweep Focuses on Online Reviews and Endorsements). The Bureau said that this year’s annual Internet sweep was aimed at “identifying websites that may use online reviews or endorsements as part of their business model”. It also suggested that enforcement following its review of its sweep may range from formal investigations to warning letters to companies. The Bureau participates in annual Internet advertising sweeps together with other major global competition/antitrust enforcement agencies through the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN). This year’s Bureau Internet sweep follows the recent publication of ICPEN’s Online Reviews and Endorsement Guidelines (for my earlier post on ICPEN’s guidelines, see: New Online Reviews and Endorsements Guidelines Give Practical Guidance to Marketers, Reflect Competition Bureau Policies). Previous Bureau online sweeps have … read more »

Why CASL is Bad for Canada’s Economy and How to Lighten It

Guest post by Andrew Shiestel tbk Creative Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) is anti-competitive for our Canadian businesses and it’s a large thorn in Canada’s dream of developing a world-leading ‘digital economy’. CASL is a problem for two primary reasons and I’ll explain both in more detail throughout this article. First, CASL is anti-competitive. For companies who wish to comply with CASL, there are a number of requirements they must meet—more so than any privacy legislation of its kind in the world—prior to being allowed to send out commercial electronic messages (CEMs). For instance, when seeking express consent on a website, a company’s subpage must have a form that has the company’s name; their mailing address; their phone, email, or web URL; a consent message detailing what the business plans to do with the recipient’s email; a statement in the consent message clearly stating that the user may withdraw their consent … read more »

Major Brand Agrees to Penalty in CASL (Canadian Anti-spam Law) Consent Case

On September 1, 2016, Kellogg Canada Inc. (“Kellogg”) agreed to pay a $60,000 penalty in relation to an alleged violation of the consent provision of Canada’s federal anti-spam legislation (CASL) under a voluntary undertaking. Under the terms of the undertaking, Kellogg has agreed to pay a monetary penalty, comply with (and ensure that any 3rd party authorized to send commercial electronic messages on its behalf complies with) CASL and to review and update its anti-spam compliance program. This most recent CASL case is interesting for several reasons. In general, it shows that the CRTC (the Canadian enforcement agency primarily responsible for enforcing CASL) is still working through matters that arose early after CASL came into force two years ago and that penalties, while not at the top end of the corporate maximum, have generally been significant. The CRTC has also targeted firms of all sizes in its enforcement efforts to … read more »

Canada Increases Scrutiny of Online Paid Endorsements

An interesting Canadian Business article on paid endorsements caught my eye earlier today. It discusses the increasing scrutiny of advertising regulators in Canada and the United States to require clear disclosures of material connections for online endorsements, including new Canadian Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) rules to require full disclosure of any paid endorsements or mentions of products and services. Canada’s Competition Bureau has also been quite active recently in this area, emphasizing that material connections between online endorsers and brands being promoted should be clearly disclosed. For several of my recent posts on online endorsements see here and here. For recent Competition Bureau guidelines on online endorsements, see The Deceptive Marketing Practices Digest, Volume 1. Canadian Business article excerpt: “A crackdown is finally coming on sponsored bloggers and influencers in Canada in the way of new rules that will require full disclosure of any paid endorsements or mentions of products and … read more »

Contest Law: Pinterest Quietly Updates Its Promotion Guidelines

Guest post by Brian D. Fergemann Partner, Winston & Strawn LLP (Chicago) August 18, 2016 Earlier this year, Pinterest quietly updated its guidelines for conducting contests and other types of promotions on the Pinterest platform. Those guidelines are contained within its Acceptable Use Policy. The previous guidelines stated, among other things, that companies should not “run a sweepstakes where each Pin, board, like, or follow represents an entry;” require people “to Pin from a selection;” or “require a minimum number of Pins.” None of those restrictions are found in the new guidelines. The new guidelines state that companies who conduct promotions should “encourage authentic behavior, keep Pinterest spam-free, and be sure to comply with all relevant laws and regulations.” The new guidelines state further that companies who conduct promotions should not require participants to Pin a specific image or allow more than one entry per participant. The new guidelines expressly … read more »

Competition Compliance Programs Continue a Competition Bureau Priority

Practical Law Canada – Competition has published a new Legal Update discussing recent Competition Bureau compliance program developments. Below is an excerpt with a link to the full Update. Featured Update Practical Law Canada Competition This Featured Update discusses recent Competition Bureau developments related to competition compliance programs. It provides an overview of competition compliance programs in Canada, recent developments and competition compliance recommendations for companies and other organizations exposed to competition law risk. Practical Law Canada Competition Competition law compliance is currently a top priority for the Competition Bureau (Bureau). In general, this is reflected in the Bureau’s strategic planning documents, recent speeches and outreach efforts to companies. See, for example, Competition Bureau: 2015-2018 Strategic Vision (June 2, 2015) (Strategic Vision 2016-2017), 2016-2017 Annual Plan: Strengthening Competition to Drive Innovation (July 28, 2016) (2016-2017 Annual Plan) and Deceptive Marketing Practices Digest, Volume 2 (March 7, 2016) (Deceptive Marketing Practices … read more »

Updated Canadian Contest Law Rules & Forms

Promotional contests (or “sweepstakes” in the U.S.) continue to be very popular for companies and brands. In this regard, I recently updated my Canadian contest law rules and forms in key popular areas, which include legal precedents to run random draw contests, consumer generated content contests (sometimes also called “skill contests”), trip contests and popular social media based contests. My Canadian contest law rules and forms offer companies an efficient and cost effective way of running Canadian contests, excluding Quebec.  Of course, I can help with legal advice if needed (see contact information below). For more information, see Canadian Contest Forms. ____________________ SERVICES AND CONTACT I offer business and individual clients efficient and strategic advice in relation to competition/antitrust, advertising, Internet and new media law and contest law.  I also offer competition and regulatory law compliance, education and policy services to companies, trade and professional associations and government agencies. My experience … read more »