Monthly Archives: September 2012

Contests are Contracts: Are You Covered By Your Rules?

I am in the habit of doing a daily media sweep for Canadian regulatory law developments.  Yesterday, a few contests being run by Canadian companies caught my eye, one, involving social media related follows and blog comments by entrants for a chance to win a prize, unfortunately for lacking many of the key elements for a Canadian contest. The marketing for this contest states: “Win a …” with brief rules setting out the entry deadline, maximum number of entries per entrant, brief eligibility (open to Canadian and U.S. residents), number of potential winners and when the draw will be made. Missing were several of the Competition Act’s required disclosure elements (including the approximate value of the prizes and odds of winning), elements to avoid the illegal lottery offences of the Criminal Code (i.e., no-purchase option and skill testing question) or any indication of compliance with U.S. or Quebec contest requirements.  … read more »

Competition Bureau September In Brief – Includes Online and Mobile Fraud Sweep

On September 28, 2012, the Competition Bureau published its September In Brief newsletter, which includes recent announcements of the appointment of John Pecman as Interim Commissioner of Competition, publication of the Bureau’s final Abuse of Dominance Guidelines, commencement of its new misleading advertising suit against Bell, Rogers and TELUS and update on its abuse of dominance challenge against Canada’s largest real estate board, The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). The Bureau also announced a joint Internet fraud sweep together with members of ICPEN (the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network), which targeted deceptive and fraudulent advertising in the “rapidly growing online and mobile markets.”  In making the announcement, the Bureau indicated that it was focused on undisclosed fees and hidden terms (themes consistent with its recent challenge of Bell/Rogers/TELUS – see: here): “This year, the annual sweep was designed to identify vendors who do not properly disclose the terms of … read more »

Using Social Media for Your Contest? Do You Know the Rules?

Social media is increasingly important for effective marketing and promotion, including the operation of contests.  Contest organizers should be aware, however, that there can be specific terms of use that apply to the promotion and administration of a contest using social media. For example, Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, the terms of use governing its relationship with its users, requires users to: 1.  Follow its Promotions Guidelines and other applicable laws when publicizing or offering any “contest, giveaway, or sweepstakes” on Facebook. 2.  Follow certain rules when collecting user information (not collect user information without consent, state that Facebook is not collecting the information and include a privacy policy stating what information is being collected and how it will be used). 3.  Agree to follow Facebook’s Pages Terms when creating or administering Facebook pages, which include rules relating, among other things, the collection of data and consent and notice … read more »

New Trade & Professional Association Books from the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE)

The Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) is offering a number of new trade and professional association related books.  From the CSAE: “Books to help your Board, your staff, and you.  If you lead an association or not-for-profit organization, these publications will help. 

The following publications are new to the CSAE Bookstore”: 10 Lessons for Cultivating Member Commitment – Critical Strategies for Fostering Value, Involvement, and Belonging Component Relations Handbook, 2nd Edition – A Guide to Successfully Managing and Motivating Chapters, Affiliates, and other Member Groups 199 Ideas: Creative Marketing & Public Relations Return on Impact: Leadership Strategies for the Age of Connected Relationships Board Governance Classics I Board Governance Classics II Guide to Positive-Staff-Board Relations (3rd ed.) Guide to Effective Committees (2nd ed.) A Practical Guide to Governing your Volunteer Organization The Complementary Model of Board Governance The Competition Law Guide for Trade Associations in Canada For more information about the … read more »

Practical Competition Law and Compliance Case Studies for Trade and Professional Associations: CSAE National Conference (November 1-3, Ottawa)

The Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) will be holding its annual National Conference in Ottawa on November 1-3, 2012. I am pleased to be co-presenting a seminar on Practical Competition Law and Compliance Case Studies for Trade and Professional Associations with the co-author (Mark Katz) of our new associations book (The Competition Law Guide for Trade Associations in Canada): “Although most association activities are benign from a competition law perspective, they can raise serious issues in a variety of circumstances that occur on a regular basis.  This presentation will review the key provisions of Canada’s Competition Act relevant to trade and professional associations and offer practical guidance on how to reduce risk based on a series of practical and interactive case studies derived from actual Canadian and international examples. The focus of the case studies will be on real-life association activities that can attract liability if not conducted in … read more »

Competition Bureau Posts New Acting Commissioner of Competition: John Pecman

The Competition Bureau has updated its organizational chart with John Pecman (formerly head of the Criminal Matters Branch) as Acting Commissioner of Competition.  From the Bureau: “John Pecman is Acting Commissioner of Competition. The Commissioner is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act and three labelling statutes, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Precious Metals Marking Act and the Textile Labelling Act. Under the Competition Act, the Commissioner can launch inquiries, challenge civil and merger matters before the Competition Tribunal, make recommendations on criminal matters to the Director of Public Prosecutions of Canada (DPP), and intervene as a competition advocate before federal and provincial bodies. As head of the Canadian Competition Bureau, the Commissioner leads the Bureau’s participation in international fora such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Competition Network (ICN), to develop and promote coordinated competition laws and policies … read more »

Canada’s Anti-spam Legislation: A Short Overview, Some Recent Developments & Practical Steps to Consider Before CASL Comes Into Force

I’ve been seeing an increasing flutter of updates and newsletters recently discussing the status of Canada’s new (though still unclear when) anti-spam legislation (“CASL”).  So I thought I would have a poke around the web, see what Industry Canada, the CRTC, the Competition Bureau and Privacy Commissioner’s office have been up to lately and post a few thoughts on the progress of the new law that is inching along, some recent developments and practical steps that can be taken before the law is in force. The bottom line at the moment appears that CASL will likely not be in force until mid- to late-2013, following the publication of new draft Industry Canada Regulations for comment (possibly this fall) and until some of the key operational details, such as the CRTC’s Spam Reporting Centre, are ironed out. Overview In December, 2010 CASL received Royal Assent.  When it is in force, it … read more »

Telemarketing in BC or to BC Residents? The Telemarketer Licensing Regulation May Apply

In speaking to some industry groups recently, I’ve had some questions about provincial licensing requirements for telemarketing (and who the rules apply to and the basic requirements). Most companies engaged in telemarketing (as well as the agencies and lawyers assisting and advising them) will already be well aware of the federal requirements under the Competition Act and National Do Not Call List (see: Telemarketing). Less well known, I’ve recently found, is the fact that in British Columbia, a third level of regulation may apply: the Telemarketer Licensing Regulation (the “Telemarketer Regulation”) under the British Columbia Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act (“BPCPA”). In general, all telemarketers conducting business in British Columbia (or contacting British Columbia consumers by phone or fax) to enter distance sales contracts are subject to the Telemarketer Regulation.  The Regulation also applies to telemarketers that contact BC consumers to solicit consumers for contributions on behalf of 3rd … read more »

Protecting the Minds of Youth: Advertising Standards Compliance Report on Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative

Last week the Advertising Standards Canada released its fourth annual Compliance Report on the Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (see: Advertising Standards Canada releases 2011 Compliance Report on Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative). The Initiative was launched by members of Canada’s food and beverage industry in 2007 in an effort to shift the landscape of advertising directed to children under 12 to the promotion of “better-for-you products”. Under this Initiative, which includes advertising in all major media (as well as children focused media such as video, computer games and DVDs), participants have committed to either not direct advertising primarily to children under 12 or shift advertising to promote products that are “consistent with the principles of sound nutrition guidance.”  The Initiative includes specific nutrition criteria (e.g., foods that reflect the dietary guidelines of Canada’s Food Guide or nutrient content claims of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s … read more »

A Few Thoughts on the Bureau’s New Abuse of Dominance Guidelines: Short, Crisp and (a Little) Controversial

On September 20, 2012, the Competition Bureau issued new final Abuse of Dominance Guidelines (see: Competition Bureau Issues Abuse of Dominance Guidelines). The Bureau’s new Guidelines replace its former 2001 Guidelines and are the result of some fairly significant public consultations, including comments from the Canadian and U.S. competition/antitrust law bars and criticism for, among other things, providing significantly less guidance than in the past (see: here). The Bureau’s new Abuse of Dominance Guidelines also replace a number of final and draft sector and conduct specific guidelines and bulletins (the Draft Enforcement Guidelines on Abuse of Dominance in the Airline Industry, The Abuse of Dominance Provisions as Applied to the Grocery Sector, Information Bulletin on the Abuse of Dominance Provisions as Applied to the Telecommunications Industry and Predatory Pricing Enforcement Guidelines). Some of the aspects of the Bureau’s new Guidelines that caught my eye include: Length.  The most striking feature … read more »