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Category Archives: Consumer Protection

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Alberta Extends Mature Franchisor Exemption to 2021

Posted in Consumer Protection, Franchising, Legislation, Retailing

The Alberta government has recently decided to extend its Mature Franchisor Exemption under the Franchises Act until its next review in 2021. Under the Franchises Act Exemption Regulation, large franchisors meeting certain financial thresholds and holding a high level of operational experience are exempt from including financial statements as part of their Franchise Disclosure Document to prospective franchisees. In extending this exemption, the Alberta government has kept its legislation consistent with other provincial franchise legislation. Going forward, this move should help Alberta to remain attractive to franchise system investors.… Continue Reading

Practical Strategies for Managing Consumer Complaints

Posted in Consumer Protection, Product Liability

On March 2, 2016, we posted some key takeaways from our 6th Annual Consumer Products & Retail Summit held on February 25, 2016, and are following up with a series of posts to provide more detail on our top tips from the presentation Product Liability: Practical Strategies for Managing Consumer Complaints.

Tip #1: Developing a complaint management and response protocol can offer advantages such as building up one’s brand and generating good will with customers, suppliers and regulators alike.

Experience has taught us that many consumer complaints do not signal a material issue. As a result, dealing with them can … 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

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation: Considering CASL in Business Transactions

Posted in Consumer Protection, Legislation, Retailing

Since coming into force on July 1st, 2014, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (“CASL”) has created new concerns and risks that must be addressed in business transactions. This post reviews those concerns in the context of asset acquisitions, specifically the risks associated with the transfer of CASL consents for the purposes of sending marketing messages to business customers. Given the volume of marketing and customer contact conducted by retailers and consumer products distributors, this may be of particular concern in acquisitions of consumer facing businesses or businesses that manufacture consumer products. A retailer or distributor that fails to address these … Continue Reading

Ontario Court of Appeal Inspiring Consumer Misrepresentation Class Actions

Posted in Class Action, Consumer Protection

On McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Canadian Appeals Monitor blog, Laurie Baptiste recently published a helpful discussion of the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in  Ramdath v George Brown College, which will be of interest to readers of the Consumer & Retail Advisor blog. This is a significant case arising from the intersection of class actions and consumer protection legislation which manufacturers and distributors of consumer products and services should be aware of. The overall result of the case is an expansion of the application of consumer protection legislation and a lowering of the bar for recovery for unfair business practices, … Continue Reading

Ontario Court of Appeal Dismisses Pet Valu Class Action, Clarifies the Scope of the Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing and Calls for Greater Judicial Restraint

Posted in Class Action, Consumer Protection, Franchising, Litigation

The recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1250264 Ontario Inc. v. Pet Valu Canada Inc., 2016 ONCA 24 clarifies and narrows the scope of the duty of good faith and fair dealing imposed on franchisors under section 3 of the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure) (“AWA”) and expressly cautions against zealous judicial intervention in the framing and amendment of common issues in class action proceedings.

Read more in the original post by our colleagues at Canadian Appeals Monitor, McCarthy Tétrault’s blog focusing on information and commentary on upcoming and recent Appeal Court decisions.… Continue Reading

Ontario Court Grants Injunction to Protect Franchisor from Rogue Franchisees

Posted in Consumer Protection, Franchising, Litigation, Retailing

In Home Instead Inc. v. 244674 Ontario Inc. et al. (“Home Instead”), the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (the “Court”) considered the granting of an injunction against the franchisees, 244674 Ontario Inc. et al. (“244”) leading to the termination of their businesses where the goodwill and reputation of Home Instead (the “Franchisor”) was at stake. The two principles Mr. Weinert and Ms. Reid were allegedly operating their two separate franchises in common ownership in breach of the terms of their respective franchise agreements. Their franchise agreements did not permit the operation of … Continue Reading

Ontario Court Denies Leave to Appeal for Addison Chevrolet

Posted in Consumer Protection, Franchising, Retailing

On October 30, 2015, the Divisional Court dismissed a motion brought by the Plaintiff franchisees for leave to appeal the decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Addison Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltd. v. General Motors of Canada Ltd. In that decision, General Motors of Canada successfully struck four paragraphs of the statement of claim as it related to the duty of good faith. A summary of that decision can be found in the following link:

http://www.consumerretailadvisor.com/2015/08/not-everyone-is-a-party-some-comfort-for-foreign-franchisors/… Continue Reading

BC Government Seeks Input on Franchises Act (Disclosure) Regulation

Posted in Consumer Protection, Corporate Matters, Franchising, Legislation, Retailing

As we recently wrote about here and here, BC will soon become the sixth Canadian province to enact uniform franchise legislation. On October 20, 2015, Bill 38 – Franchises Act passed Third Reading in the BC Legislature. The Provincial Government is now seeking input on the Franchise Act (Disclosure) Regulation (the “Regulation”). The legislation will come into force only after the Regulation is complete. The following is a summary of what to expect from the Regulation.

The proposed Regulation will specify what information must be included in a disclosure document and the methods of delivery.

Franchisors will benefit from … Continue Reading

Bill 38 – Franchises Act Passes Third Reading in BC

Posted in Consumer Protection, Corporate Matters, Franchising, Legislation, Retailing

On October 6, 2015 the B.C. Provincial Government introduced Bill 38 – Franchises Act in the Provincial Legislature. We posted here, discussing the Bill’s primary contributions to the law governing franchises in B.C.

Since then, Bill 38 has moved quickly through the Legislature. It was debated during second reading and received broad support from both Government and Opposition members. On Tuesday, October 20, 2015, it was reported complete without amendment, read a third time, and passed. It is now in the final stage, awaiting Royal Assent. In due course, we will post a blog comparing B.C.’s franchise regime to … Continue Reading

McCarthy Tétrault launches CyberLex blog

Posted in Consumer Protection, Legislation

McCarthy Tétrault has just launched its twelfth blog, CyberLex, at http://www.canadiancybersecuritylaw.com. This blog discusses trends and developments in cybersecurity, privacy and data protection law in Canada and internationally; offers practical suggestions and insights on how these issues affect companies in a wide variety of industries; and provides guidance on how to address various challenges and opportunities created by technology and legislative developments.

Please visit the blog!… Continue Reading

Alberta PIPA Amendments: Much Ado About Nothing?

Posted in Consumer Protection

Just in time for the new year, the Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”) was amended by Bill 3 which came into force on December 17, 2014.  These amendments were in response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision to struck down PIPA in Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401, 2013 SCC 62 (“United Food”) on the basis that it infringed on the union’s freedom of expression.

Background

By way of background, the case arose from a strike in 2006, at the Palace Casino in Edmonton. Both the union … Continue Reading

Holiday Shopping Season – Steps Companies Can Take to Protect Themselves From Data Breaches

Posted in Consumer Protection, Retailing

As the online holiday shopping season kicks off with Cyber Monday, companies must be prepared for the risks posed by hackers. December may be the most hackable month of the year but retailers can incorporate the following practical steps, outlined by Kirsten Thompson from our firm’s Technology blog, to protect themselves from these risks.  You can read the article here.… Continue Reading

Roadblocks to Certification of Consumer Class Actions in B.C.?

Posted in Consumer Protection, Litigation

Alexandra CocksThe following post by Alexandra Cocks on the Canadian Class Actions Monitor blog may be of interest to readers of this blog: Roadblocks to Certification of Consumer Class Actions in B.C.?

On October 8, 2014, the B.C. Supreme Court refused to certify a proposed consumer class action relating to the sale of bottled beverages sold under the trade name “Vitaminwater” to B.C. consumers. [1]

The plaintiff alleged that the defendants, Energy Brands Inc. and Coca-Cola Ltd., marketed Vitaminwater products in a manner which had the “capability, tendency or effect of deceiving or misleading a consumer” into concluding that Vitaminwater is … Continue Reading

The Enforcement Begins: Highlights of the CRTC FAQ Updates on CASL

Posted in Consumer Protection, Corporate Matters

CASL came into effect on July 1, 2014, including the provisions for sending commercial electronic messages (“CEM”) (section 6) and installing computer programs (section 8).   Since July 1, 2014, it is reported that the CRTC has received more than 1,000 complaints.  Hence, awareness of this new law is spreading quickly, and as such so should attempts by organizations to become compliant.

The CRTC FAQs on Canada’s new Anti-Spam Legislation (“CASL”) were updated on July 4, 2014.  We covered the revisions made to the FAQs in May 2014 in a previous blog post.  The updated FAQs … Continue Reading

Identifying and Managing Legal Risks in the Retail Setting

Posted in Consumer Protection, Corporate Matters, Retailing

One of the most exciting aspects of the retail world is the multiplicity of ways in which retailers interact with their customers – through their branding and messaging; online in various ways; and in their bricks-and-mortal retail spaces.  These interactions create business opportunities, but they also create risks that can be complex to manage.  The costs of poor risk management are higher than ever given how social media permits customers to record and share their retail or consumer product experiences with each other, whether they are good or bad.  Furthermore, regulators are taking an increasing interest in product liability and … Continue Reading

Hot Off the Press – Doing Business in Canada: Navigating Opportunities for Investment and Growth

Posted in Consumer Protection, Product Liability

If your organization is currently thinking about establishing or acquiring a business in Canada, the newest edition of Doing Business in Canada, written by McCarthy Tétrault, will prove to be a valuable resource. The guide provides a broad overview of the legal considerations that non-residents should take into account to help ensure their success as they enter into a business venture in Canada. Each section offers timely information and insightful commentary on different areas of law.

The book includes a chapter on manufacturing and the sale of goods, with sections on:
  • regulations and product standards
  • comsumer protection
  • product liability
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

Recent Lessons in Preparing for and Responding to Security Breaches

Posted in Consumer Protection

Target recently acknowledged that it suffered a massive security breach over the holiday season between November 27 and December 15.  The result of the breach was that over 110 million credit and debit accounts which include customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three-digit security codes were stolen.

It was discovered during the investigation into the breach that the security breach was caused by a sophisticated malware that had the ability to infect individual point of sale devices, monitor data processes on the devices, then transmit the data outside of the retailer. The sophistication of … Continue Reading

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law is Coming – Are You Ready?

Posted in Canadian Market Entry, Consumer Protection, Corporate Matters, Franchising, Retailing

The following snIP/ITs blog post by Charles Morgan and Puneet Soni may be of interest to readers of this blog:

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law is Coming – Are You Ready?

Industry Minister James Moore announced today that most of Canada’s long-anticipated anti-spam/malware legislation (“CASL” for short) will be coming into force on July 1, 2014. As part of today’s announcement, Industry Canada also released a significantly revised and final version of its important CASL regulations.

CASL is widely considered to be the toughest commercial electronic messaging legislation in the world, and its coming into force will have significant implications … Continue Reading

Distance Contracts – What You Should Know About Sales Over the Internet in Québec

Posted in Consumer Protection, Corporate Matters

Québec’s Consumer Protection Act deems sales made over the Internet with residents of the province to be subject to Québec law. Such sales are termed “distance contracts” and are subject to the formal and substantive provisions of the Act.

The distance contract provisions under the Act are very similar to provisions that have been adopted under the e-commerce legislation in other provinces, since they are based on the Internet Sales Contract Harmonization Template, but the substantive provisions of Québec law relating to warranties, together with the regulations concerning advertising, impose additional obligation on Internet vendors.… Continue Reading

Protecting Your Brand in the Internet Age

Posted in Branding, Consumer Protection, Litigation, Product Liability, Retailing

Retailers and manufacturers know that their brand is not only the identity they expressly communicate to their customers, but also what those customers think and say about them. The rise of social media means that what a single individual thinks or says about a retailer can impact its brand in profound ways that were unthinkable before the Internet. A single message – or, sometimes worse, a single photo – can spread across the Internet and expose a retail reputation to real damage in a matter of hours that may take months to fix, if at all.

What does this mean … Continue Reading

BC is Consumer-Friendly for Class Actions – BC’s Consumer Protection Legislation

Posted in Consumer Protection, Litigation

One of the legal difficulties for plaintiffs in many class actions is showing they suffered harm. Where a disparate group of plaintiffs (possibly consumers) sues one or a small number of defendant businesses, there are inherent difficulties in the consumers proving they all suffered harm as a result of the defendants’ business practices, policies or agreements. Defendants try hard to exploit this difficulty in defending class actions.

In response, class action plaintiffs try to rely on legal theories that “turn the tables” on defendant businesses whenever possible. One example of such a legal theory is contained in provisions in British … Continue Reading