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A Guide to Doing Business in Canada: Marketing & Advertising Rules

Doing business in Canada almost always requires some sort of marketing and advertising. Whether it be a logo on a candy bar wrapper or an email promotion advertising a sale; marketing and advertising is what helps drive a business. With that being said, it is important to keep in mind that before you start getting creative with advertising and marketing campaigns, you must stay within the rules of the game and understand the rules around marketing and advertising. In Canada, there is a few legal hurdles that need to be considered before embarking on an advertising or marketing campaign.


The Competition Act

As with most advertising, the Competition Act will need to be consulted. Specifically, the provisions relating to misleading or false advertising. Your brand will be liable if the facts you advertise about your own or competitors brand are false. Performance related claims need to be thoroughly tested because if they are proven to be false then they will fall afoul of the Competition Act. Therefore, before you advertise ensure that your facts are truthful and provable. So how would you know if your advertising campaign is misleading or not? Check out our previous blog post Is Your Advertising Campaign Misleading? to learn more about this.


Packaging and Labelling

There are many specific regulations that surround the cannabis, food, beauty and cosmetics industries when it comes to packaging and labelling requirements.

  1. Legislation

The Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act governs the packaging, labelling, sale, importation and advertising of prepackaged and other products. The requirement set out in this Act requires for any prepackaged consumer goods or products to have labelling details that are true and not misleading in order to better assist consumers make well informed purchasing decisions when buying goods or products. For example, when you are looking to purchase a new beauty product, it is likely that you will look at the packaging and labelling of the product before purchasing it. This may include the ingredients, the function, etc. The information listed on the packaging and labelling of the product is governed by the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and is trusted to be true and not misleading in order for you to purchase the product accordingly. If you choose to purchase, for example, a certain hair dye because it claims to be all natural but then discover that the product contains chemicals - well that would indicate the packaging and labelling was misleading and does not comply with the Act.


  1. Prohibitions

The Act prohibits packaging and labelling that is false or misleading. This includes the marketing and advertising of goods, services or products. Section 7(2) of the Act clearly outlines what it means to have a false or misleading representation on a label or package.


"Made In Canada" Products

A Made in Canada or Product of Canada product label can inject a sense of patriotic pride into the brand. Consumers become aware that their money is being immediately invested into the Canadian economy. But as Froese Law is always keen to demonstrate, laws apply. Canadian laws do not require businesses to incorporate any patriotic labelling that includes reference to Canada. They do, however, prohibit any false and/or misleading information on packaging and/or labelling of product.


Copyright Protection

Many businesses integrate a website into their business platform. A website is your intellectual property and contains your most valuable asset for marketing, sales and brand power. It includes your company’s domain name, graphics, logo, images and written content. If we're being honest, the better the website is, the more likely it will be to catch the eye of a competitor that can easily copy your website content and images and present them as their own. The best way to prevent others from stealing your content and images is copyright protection. While copyright law automatically gives you ownership of your original work at the moment you create it, there are important benefits to registering the copyrighted work. You can learn more about copyright protection here: Factoring in Copyright Protection for your E-Commerce Business.


Contests and Promotions

Contests are a great way of advertising your business and, with the rise of social media, it has never been easier to reach such a big audience. Contests are a great way to garner attention and divert potential customers to your brand. Not only can this led to an increase in sales, it may also help build up a client list and pinpoint where your brand will be most successful. However, creating the perfect contest is not your only consideration. There are also an array of different laws that regulate the use of contests that need to be followed. In order to ensure that your contest is legal, you should familiarize yourself with the various laws. Learn more from our previous blog post: Launching a Legally Compliant Contest.


What About CASL?

CASL was created to deter unsolicited commercial electronic messages (CEMs), or as we know it as spam emails. It applies to any individual or company that is sending emails to a recipient in Canada as long as the purpose of the email is to encourage participation in a commercial activity, such as the sale of a product. In order to send a commercial email that is in compliance with CASL, the sender must have either the recipient’s express or implied consent to receive the email or has ensured that the recipient falls under the itemized list of exemptions for consent. CASL dictates the content that is included in the email message, including sender information and unsubscribe mechanisms.


Froese Law is your ally for success. We assist with marketing and advertising laws, packaging and labelling laws, and all things digital marketing law.



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© 2020 by Froese Law

Froese Law provides its Canadian law services by a professional corporation.  

Froese Law provides its U.S. legal services in affiliation with a U.S. based law firm.

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