Web crawler.

Government of Canada, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (www.fightspam.gc.ca), FAQs:  “… computer programs that scan websites, usenet groups and social networking sites, trolling for posted electronic addresses.”

Webpage Contextual Advertisements.

One form of Internet advertising.  Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Policy Position on Online Behavioural Advertising:  “In this advertising model, an advertisement is delivered based on the content of a particular webpage. For example, when an individual visiting a website about pets goes to a webpage on that site about puppies, they would see ads about dogs. If that individual then goes to a webpage on that site about kittens, they would see ads about cats.”

West African scam (aka 419 scam, Nigerian scam or advance fee fraud).

Competition Bureau, The Little Black Book of Scams (2012): “The Nigerian scam (also called the 419 fraud) has been on the rise since the early-to-mid 1990s in Canada. Although many of these sorts of scams originated in Nigeria, similar scams have been started all over the world (particularly in other parts of West Africa and in Asia). These scams are increasingly referred to as ‘advance fee fraud’.  In the classic Nigerian scam, you receive an email or letter from a scammer asking your help to transfer a large amount of money overseas. You are then offered a share of the money if you agree to give them your bank account details to help with the transfer. They will then ask you to pay all kinds of taxes and fees before you can receive your ‘reward’. You will never be sent any of the money, and will lose the fees you paid.”

RCMP, Internet Security: “Fraud letters from Nigeria (and other African countries) is a type of scam that has been around for a number of years. Businesses, educational institutions and government departments were originally the prime targets of electronic messages bearing the promise of substantial amounts of money from alleged government or company officials in Nigeria. The general public is now also targeted, and thousands of people like you receive similar e-mail messages in their personal mail boxes. In some cases, con artists even send stolen or forged cheques to their victims. This scam can also be done by phone and from many countries. In addition to money you can be asked for confidential information against the promise of profits.”

Joewein.de LLC: “The so-called ‘419’ scam (aka ‘Nigeria scam’ or ‘West African’ scam) is a type of fraud named after an article of the Nigerian penal code under which it is prosecuted. It is also known as ‘Advance Fee Fraud’ because the common principle of all the scam format is to get the victim to send cash (or other items of value) upfront by promising them a large amount of money that they would receive later if they cooperate. In almost all cases, the criminals receive money using Western Union and MoneyGram, instant wire transfer services with which the recipient can’t be traced once the money has been picked up. These services should never be used with people you only know by email or telephone!  Typically, victims of the scam are promised a lottery win or a large sum of money sitting in a bank account or in a deposit box at a security company. Often the storyline involves a family member of a former member of government of an African country, a ministerial official, an orphan or widow of a rich businessman, etc. Variants of the plot involving the Philippines, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Korea, Iraq, Kuwait, UAE, Mauritius, etc. are also known. Some emails include pictures of boxes stuffed with dollar bills, scans of fake passports, bank or government documents and pictures of supposedly the sender.”

Winner release form.

A winner release form is commonly one of several documents used for the operation of promotional contests in Canada (and other countries), together with short rules (mandatory point-of-purchase disclosure) and long rules (containing the more detailed entry and eligibility requirements for the contest).  A winner release form commonly includes a declaration by the entrant of contact information, age, residency status, compliance and comprehension with the rules of the contest, no relationship with the contest sponsor and various releases depending on the nature of the contest – for example, to accept the prize as awarded, be responsible for any taxes associated with the prize awarded, release the sponsor from liability and, for promotional contests involving the creation of original material (i.e., skill contests involving the judging of artwork, video, or other talent exercises) transferring rights to the original material to the sponsor and granting the sponsor the right to use and reproduce it.

Word-of-mouth marketing.

Canadian Marketing Association, Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice: “Also sometimes referred to as ‘buzz’ marketing, word-of-mouth marketing is capturing the attention of consumers and the media to generate favourable word of mouth about a brand, product, service or organization.”

Written opinion.

Under section 124.1 of the Competition Act, any person may apply to the Commissioner of Competition, together with supporting information, for a binding written opinion regarding the application of any provision of the Act.  Written opinions can be a practical way for businesses and individuals to reduce potential competition law liability for proposed conduct.  A written opinion is binding on the Commissioner if all material facts relating to the proposed conduct have been submitted.  If issued, written opinions remain binding for as long as the material facts on which they are based remain substantially unchanged and the conduct is carried out substantially as proposed.  Binding written opinions are available, subject to the Commissioner’s discretion to issue them, for proposed conduct only.  In other words, the Bureau will not issue advisory opinions for existing business conduct.

Written opinions are available under the following provisions of the Act, among others: resale price maintenance (section 76), exclusive dealing / tied selling / market restriction (77), abuse of dominance (79), civil agreements provision (90.1), conspiracy (45), misleading advertising and deceptive marketing practices (52, 55.1, 74.01, 74.06), deceptive telemarketing (52.1), deceptive prize notices (53), multi-level marketing and pyramid selling (55 and 55.1), performance claims (74.01(1)(b)) and promotional contests (74.06).

See Competition Act section 124.1; Competition Bureau, website, Legal Actions and Opinions section; Competition Bureau, Bulletin, Competition Bureau Fee and Service Standards Handbook for Written Opinions; definition of “advisory opinion”.



I help clients practically navigate Canada’s advertising and marketing laws and offer Canadian advertising law services in relation to print, online, new media, social media and e-mail marketing.

My Canadian advertising law services include advice in relation to: anti-spam legislation (CASL); Competition Bureau complaints; the general misleading advertising provisions of the Competition Act; Internet, new media and social media advertising and marketing; promotional contests (sweepstakes); and sales and promotions. I also provide advice relating to specific types of advertising issues, including performance claims, testimonials, disclaimers and native advertising.

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