March 9, 2017

Practical Law Canada Competition has published a new Legal Update, which discusses key issues that can arise in Canadian contests (with practice tips for counsel to advise their clients). Below is an excerpt with a link to the full Update.


Ten Key Issues That Can Arise in Canadian Contests and Practice Tips

This Legal Update discusses ten key legal issues that can arise in Canadian promotional contests. This Update provides a brief overview of Canadian contest law, the basic elements of a promotional contest and a practical discussion of legal issues that can arise. Also included are practice tips and references to related Practical Law Canada advertising and marketing law resources.

Practical Law Canada Competition

Promotional contests in Canada are largely governed by the Competition Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-34 (Competition Act), Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46 (Code) and contract law. In general, contest sponsors must make adequate and fair disclosure of the information set out in section 74.06 of the Competition Act, avoid the illegal lottery provisions in section 206(1) of the Code and prepare contest rules to govern the promotion (the contract between a sponsor and contest entrants).

Other laws that may apply, depending on the type of contest, include privacy law (relating to the collection and use of personal information), Canadian anti-spam law (CASL, if electronic marketing to entrants is contemplated) and intellectual property law (for example, relating to the use of third party trade-marks or copyrighted material).

Major Contest Elements

Running a contest in Canada typically includes the following (for examples of contest rules and forms, see Standard Document, Promotional Contests: Random Draw Contest Rules and Forms):

Short rules. Short rules, which are typically a single paragraph included in advertising (for example, point-of-purchase marketing), website landing pages and social media pages, are largely intended to set out the mandatory statutory disclosure requirements in section 74.06 of the Competition Act. Other material contest terms are also typically included (for example, a statement that no purchase is necessary, language that states that entrant information may be used for marketing, if that is the case, a link to the full contest rules and other terms that, if not clearly disclosed upfront, may raise misleading advertising issues). For the Competition Bureau’s position on what should be included in point-of-purchase contest materials, see Enforcement Guidelines, Promotional Contests: Section 74.06 of the Competition Act, Competition Bureau, 2009 (Promotional Contest Enforcement Guidelines).


For the full Update see: here.



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 includes counseling clients on the application of Canadian competition and regulatory laws and I have worked on hundreds of domestic and cross-border competition, advertising and marketing, promotional contest (sweepstakes), conspiracy (cartel), abuse of dominance, compliance, refusal to deal, pricing and distribution, Investment Canada Act and merger matters. For more information about my competition law services see: competition law services.


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