Businesses promoting their products and services must run the gauntlet of Canada's regulatory scheme. Both marketing and advertising are subject to federal and provincial legislation in Canada, making compliance especially difficult. Clients across industries retain Blakes because of our legal expertise, business acumen and creativity in resolving a wide range of advertising and marketing business, transactional and regulatory issues.
Our lawyers work closely with clients in all types of industries, including multinational consumer and other product manufacturers, retailers, and advertising agencies. We represent leading businesses in heavily regulated industries, such as the food, drug (prescription and non-prescription), medical device, cosmetic, natural health product, electrical product and financial industries, successfully resolving their challenges. We regularly review compliance with federal and provincial statutes, including those specific to certain products and industries.
We have extensive experience in dealing with Canadian regulatory and self-regulatory bodies to ensure compliance with not only laws, but also applicable policies, industry codes and guidelines. Clients often seek our guidance with respect to interpretation of and compliance with legislation, administrative and policy matters, and we interact with various government and other agencies, including the Competition Bureau, Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and Advertising Standards Canada. We also assist clients in bringing and defending complaints before regulators and industry associations as well as in court.
Blakes lawyers draft agreements of all kinds related to product marketing and promotional matters. We also advise on privacy matters, consumer protection, labelling, product claims, product safety, recalls, product composition reviews, intellectual property protection and emerging areas such as Canada’s new anti-spam legislation.
Our lawyers are among the most experienced in Canada in the area of misleading advertising. Often consulted for advice in the early stages of developing an advertising campaign, we also review material as the final step before advertising is placed. Many of Canada’s leading businesses, marketers, advertising agencies, and foreign companies offering products or services in Canada retain us to assist them with structuring promotions, sweepstakes, contests, offers (e.g., mail-in rebates, coupons), advertising campaigns and public relations activities.
We have been involved in numerous prosecutions involving the misleading advertising provisions of the Competition Act provisions and have extensive experience negotiating resolutions with the Competition Bureau. Our lawyers are also at the forefront of developments in the field of comparative advertising and have acted as counsel in many of the leading comparative advertising cases.
As an added value, we alert clients to emerging issues through regular newsletters, specialized publications and client seminars. We also maintain a dedicated anti-spam microsite containing resources to help businesses achieve regulatory compliance.
Some of our recent representations and representative matters include acting for:
- A major multinational food manufacturer in a successful re-launch of most of its food products, including comparative claims on label, in print, on television and online to promote newly reformulated products, which included negotiation with Advertising Standards Canada in terms of pre-clearing broadcast ads.
- Various food, beverage, consumer goods, and health and beauty companies in successfully prosecuting and defending consumer and trade complaints before Advertising Standards Canada.
- Various companies clearing broadcast advertising through Advertising Standards Canada.
- A cosmetic and consumer product manufacturer with its marketing and advertising activities, including print and online advertisements, sponsorship agreements and contests.
- A national loyalty program on a new, innovative advertising concept.
- Multinational organizations on all aspects of French language requirements in Quebec.
- A multinational company launching a direct-to-consumer website.
- A manufacturer and importer to implement a North America-wide product recall of a consumer electrical product.
While we cannot mention matters that we have acted on for confidentiality reasons, a sample of comparative advertising cases in the courts that Blakes has acted on include:
- Bell Aliant on a successful injunction proceeding against Rogers involving comparative advertising claims.
- Beatrice Foods Inc. in seeking an injunction to stop the defendant from making certain statements in its advertising campaign (Beatrice Foods Inc. v. Ault Foods Ltd.).
- Church & Dwight in seeking an injunction to stop advertising by the defendant (Church & Dwight Ltd. v. Sifto Canada Inc.).
- Forzani Group in defending claims of improper ordinary price advertising under the Competition Act and negotiating a consent agreement with the Commissioner of Competition.