Header graphic for print
Consumer & Retail Advisor

Category Archives: Competition

Subscribe to Competition RSS Feed

Online Price Advertising: Amazon to Pay $1.1 Million to Settle Canadian Competition Bureau Investigation

Posted in Competition, Legislation

The Competition Bureau (Bureau) announced January 11 that Amazon.com.ca, Inc. (Amazon) has agreed to pay a $1 million penalty for contravening the misleading advertising provisions under the Canadian Competition Act including recent provisions that came into force as part of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). Amazon will also pay $100,000 towards the investigative costs incurred by the Bureau. The fine follows an investigation into Amazon’s pricing practices over two years on Amazon Retail, the platform by which the company sells directly to consumers.

The e-commerce company has entered into a consent agreement with the Bureau to settle the investigation of … Continue Reading

Doing Business in Canada 2016: Read the latest updates to our popular guide

Posted in Acquisitions, Competition, Cross-Border Transactions


McCarthy Tétrault’s Doing Business in Canada provides a user-friendly overview of central aspects of the Canadian political and legal systems that are most likely to affect new and established business in Canada. The newest edition reflects legislative changes including:

  • Changes to the Competition Act and Investment Act Canada;
  • and an updated Mergers and Acquisitions chapter including new rules on takeover bids in Canada.

General guidance is included throughout the publication on a broad range of discussions. We also recommend that you seek the advice of one of our lawyers for any specific legal aspects of your proposed investment or activity.… Continue Reading

Cook or Get Out of the Kitchen: Legitimate Interest Required to Enforce a Restrictive Covenant

Posted in Competition, Franchising, Litigation

On McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Canadian Appeals Monitor blog, Shanique Lake recently published a helpful discussion of the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in MEDIchair LP v DME Medeqip Inc, which will be of interest to readers of the Consumer & Retail Advisor. This decision has important implications for all franchisors and franchisees in respect of enforcement of restrictive covenants or non-competition clauses in franchise agreements.… Continue Reading

Takeaways – McCarthy Tétrault’s 6th Annual Consumer Products and Retail Summit

Posted in Branding, Competition, Distribution, Employment and HR, Events, Franchising, Real Estate, Retailing, Shopping Centres

McCarthy Tetrault’s 6th Annual Consumer Products and Retail Summit was held on February 25, 2016. Here are our key takeaways from the Summit, including practical tips from each of our topics:

Trends and Lessons Learned from Recent Retail Restructurings
Katherine Forbes and Mirella Pisciuneri, Richter Advisory Group

  • E-commerce is here to stay and is key to success, but only as part of a strategy combined with ‘bricks & mortar’ to create a customer experience
  • Vertical integration and comprehensive merchandise planning are critical for reducing costs and improving profit margins
  • Make the most of available consumer profile information, but be mindful
Continue Reading

McCarthy Tétrault’s 6th Annual Consumer Products and Retail Summit

Posted in Branding, Competition, Consumer Protection, Events, Product Liability, Real Estate, Retailing, Trade

McCarthy Tétrault’s multidisciplinary Consumer Products and Retail Group is hosting our sixth annual national McCarthy Tétrault Consumer Products & Retail Summit, which will provide practical tips to address timely issues facing retailers and consumer facing businesses today.

Richter Advisory Group Inc. will discuss key trends and lessons learned from recent restructurings in the retail sector.

This will be followed by our panels of experts who will discuss the following topics:

  • Real estate issues, including the impact of e-commerce on “bricks and mortar” and leasing strategies;
  • Recent developments in competition law, including compliance policies, the display of prices and current priorities
Continue Reading

Competition Bureau seeks 30M$ against Avis and Budget over non-optional fees

Posted in Competition

On March 10, 2015, the Competition Bureau brought a misleading advertising application before the Competition Tribunal against Aviscar Inc. and Budgetcar Inc. The Bureau alleges that Avis and Budget promote car rentals at prices and discounts that are not attainable because customers are required to pay additional fees over the initial advertised rental price. The Bureau further alleges that Avis and Budget mischaracterize such non-optional fees as taxes and surcharges that car rental companies are required to collect from costumers by governments or third parties, when Avis and Budget would choose to impose these fees to recoup part of their … Continue Reading

Industry Minister Targets Retail Sales With New Cross Border Price Discrimination Law

Posted in Competition

Today, Industry Minister James Moore announced that new legislation, the “Price Transparency Act”, will be tabled in Parliament to target “unjustified” cross-border price discrimination.  Minister Moore indicated that the legislation will ensure that Canadians pay “comparable prices for comparable goods”.  The new law is not intended to set or regulate prices in Canada, nor does it appear that penalties can be imposed.  Instead, the Commissioner of Competition will be given powers and tools to investigate and “expose” price gaps between U.S. and Canadian retailers, though the Minister noted that some higher prices are justified by legitimate higher costs of doing … Continue Reading

Evolving Law of Trade-dress in a Digital World

Posted in Branding, Competition

In an increasingly crowded market, businesses are investing heavily into unique customer experiences to boost brand identity and loyalty. As expected, there is a growing need to protect the design and other distinguishing elements incorporated into the products, packaging as well as off and online customer experiences. Collectively, these features are known as the trade-dress or the look and feel of the brand. The recent crack-down on 22 counterfeit Apple stores illustrates the importance of trade-dress protection.

This article provides an overview of the law on trade-dress in Canada and surveys the movement in the US to protect the trade … Continue Reading

Competition Bureau Approves Loblaws’ Acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart Subject to Divestitures and Restrictions on Contracting Practices With Suppliers

Posted in Competition, Retailing

The following article by Jonathan Bitran and Oliver Borgers may be of interest to readers of this blog:

Competition Bureau Approves Loblaws’ Acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart Subject to Divestitures and Restrictions on Contracting Practices With Suppliers

On March 20, 2014, the Commissioner of Competition (Commissioner) and Loblaws entered into a consent agreement, whereby Loblaws agreed to 27 divestitures as well as behavioural remedies vis-à-vis its suppliers in order to address the Commissioner’s concerns that its acquisition of Shoppers would substantially lessen competition. Read more.… Continue Reading

Misleading Advertising – Competition Bureau’s Enforcement Priorities

Posted in Branding, Competition, Consumer Protection

The following article by Dominic Therien may be of interest to readers of this blog:

Misleading Advertising – Competition Bureau’s Enforcement Priorities

On February 4, 2014, Lisa Campbell, Deputy Commissioner of the Fair Business Practices Branch, and Sophie Beaulieu, Competition Law Officer, participated in a lunch seminar at McCarthy Tétrault’s Montreal office to discuss the Competition Bureau’s current enforcement priorities and recent enforcement actions in the area of misleading advertising and marketing. The following are key takeaways from their presentation. Read more.

 … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Releases the Indirect Purchaser Trilogy

Posted in Competition, Litigation

The following article by Sarah Corman and Shaun Finn may be of interest to readers of this blog:

Supreme Court Releases the Indirect Purchaser Trilogy

In an important trilogy released October 31, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the right of indirect purchasers to assert competition claims while confirming its rejection of the “passing on” defence in this context. Read more.… Continue Reading

Multi-Level Marketing Plans … Did You Know?

Posted in Competition

According to the Direct Selling Association[1], in 2011 alone some 92 million multi-level marketing (MLM) plan operators, or direct selling businesses, grossed over $154 billion world-wide. While MLM plans can be a profitable business model, caution is warranted for prospective market entrants as they must comply with many provincial requirements and ensure that their proposed business model is not deemed to be an illegal pyramid scheme under the Competition Act (the “Act”). … Continue Reading

Have Class Action, Will Travel – Review your Pricing Model

Posted in Competition, Litigation

Canadian plaintiff class action lawyers often file copycat class actions to those filed in the United States, so Canadian retail businesses are well-served to pay attention to trends in US class actions.

One area of recent interest in the United States has been the travel and tourism industry, where two major travel-related class actions are now ongoing, both alleging that travel booking websites and hotels entered into agreements with each other to fix prices. This type of price-fixing class action has been seen in Canada in a variety of industries.

Canadian businesses should review their pricing policies and practices with … Continue Reading

Pricing is Sticky: Consider your Class Action Risk

Posted in Competition, Litigation

One area that has been of considerable interest to class action plaintiffs in recent years is price-fixing.

If there has been any interest in your product or niche market, or that of your competitors, by any competition or anti-trust regulator in any jurisdiction in the world, you should consider your business to be at risk of a class action.  Price-fixing class actions can take a variety of forms, but the most common form alleges a price-fixing conspiracy, either among competitors (a horizontal conspiracy) or within a supply chain (a vertical conspiracy).

Class action plaintiffs look to regulatory investigations all over … Continue Reading