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Consumer & Retail Advisor

Category Archives: Legislation

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Key Takeaways – 7th Annual Consumer Products and Retail Summit

Posted in Events, Legislation, Retailing, Trade

McCarthy Tetrault’s 7th Annual Consumer Products and Retail Summit was held on February 23, 2017. Here are our key takeaways from the Summit:

Visions of the Changing Retail Industry

Erol Uzumeri, Searchlight Capital Partners

  •  The major trends impacting the consumer sector include: experience economy, digital disintermediation, silver economy, convenience, personalization and authenticity;
  • Successful retailers need to leverage their customer data to address consumers’ changing preferences;
  • Retailers need to carefully consider the investments required to create clear and differentiated positioning and cannot afford to remain stationary with the factors impacting the consumer sector on a daily basis.

Transactional Trends and Issues Continue Reading

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

Ontario Enacts Ban on the Expiry of Rewards Points

Posted in Legislation

On December 6, 2016, Bill 47 – Protecting Rewards Points Act (the “Act”), amending Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act, 2002 (the “CPA”), received Royal Assent.  The Act was first introduced on October 20 as a private member’s bill.

The primary effect – and stated purpose – of the Act is to prohibit the expiry of rewards points under consumer agreement due to the passage of time. Any provision to the contrary in any consumer agreement will be rendered void, with retroactive effect to October 1, 2016, such that all points purporting to expire after October 1, 2016, will need to be … Continue Reading

Retailers, It’s Time to Get Your French Touch

Posted in French, Legislation

As recently announced on November 3, 2016 by the Quebec Minister of Culture and Communications and Minister responsible for the Protection and Promotion of the French Language, Mr. Luc Fortin, the amendments to the Regulation respecting the language of commerce and business of the Charter of the French language (the “Regulation”) were published yesterday in the Gazette Officielle du Québec.

Pursuant to these amendments, a trade mark displayed outside a building only in a language other than French will now request a sufficient presence of French. The presence of French refers to a sign or poster with … Continue Reading

It’s Official! BC Releases Long Awaited BC Franchises Act Regulation!

Posted in Franchising, Legislation

Further to our previous posts, available here and here, the much anticipated BC Franchises Regulation (the “Regulation”) was released today, and it was proclaimed that the Franchises Act, SBC 2015, c 35 will come into force effective February 1, 2017. The Regulation and order of the Lieutenant Governor in Council can be accessed here. BC is now the sixth province to enact uniform franchise legislation.

The Regulations specify the information to be included in a disclosure document, including information related to: risk warnings, financial statements, and other prescribed information related to the franchisor and the franchise. By … Continue Reading

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

The Ongoing Pursuit of Accessibility in Ontario – Amendments to the AODA Effective July 1, 2016

Posted in Employment and HR, Legislation

On McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Ontario Employer Blog, Kate McNeill-Keller published an article highlighting the recent amendments to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, which may be of interest to readers of the Consumer & Retail Advisor blog. These amendments intend, in particular, to align the requirements of the Customer Service Standards with those set out in the Integrated Accessibility Standards.… Continue Reading

Happy FranCanada Day – Electronic Delivery of FDD’s in Ontario on July 1st

Posted in Franchising, Legislation

Further to our update in April Ontario has approved the amended regulations to the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000 to permit electronic delivery of franchise disclosure documents (“FDD’s”).  Regulation 581/00 comes into effect July 1, 2016.

Effective July 1, 2016, franchisors will now be able to deliver FDD’s electronically or by courier, in addition to the previously approved methods of in person or registered mail delivery. The complete changes may be viewed here.

With these amendments, Ontario franchise legislation has received a mini-modernization-makeover.

The new legislation provides that electronically delivered FDD’s must meet the following conditions:

  • be in
Continue Reading

Modifications to the Regulation Respecting the Language of Commerce and Business of the Charter of the French language

Posted in French, Legislation

The Acting Minister of Culture and Communications, responsible for the Protection and Promotion of the French Language, Ms. Hélène David, presented yesterday the proposed modifications to the Regulation respecting the language of commerce and business of the Charter of the French language (the “Regulation”).

Background

 Historically, the rule from the Charter of the French language to the effect that public signs have to be in French (or in French and in another language provided that French is markedly predominant) benefited from what is known as the “trade-mark exception”, allowing trademarks to be used solely in English (or any other … 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

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

BC Tables Bill 38 – Franchises Act

Posted in Franchising, Legislation

In recent years, British Columbia has been laying the groundwork for the introduction of franchise legislation in this province. We have posted about these initiatives on various occasions, including here and here. On October 5, 2015, these efforts culminated in the Provincial Government’s introduction (first reading) of Bill 38Franchises Act.

Bill 38 is modeled after the similar legislation already in force in Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. It will govern franchise agreements for franchises operated either wholly or partly in British Columbia. Its overarching purpose is to balance protections for potentially vulnerable … Continue Reading

The New Normal: Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers in 2015

Posted in Cross-Border Transactions, Legislation, Trade

The past few years have presented challenging immigration law issues for both temporary foreign workers (“TFW”) and the Canadian companies that employ them. While there has been increased media spotlight on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (“TFWP”), new layers of regulation have made it more difficult for Canadian employers to source talent overseas, while some employers have difficulty identifying Canadians who possess specific skill sets or are willing to move to work locations in remote parts of the country.

Recent Changes to the TFW Program

Retail employers have arguably been particularly hard hit by these measures. … Continue Reading

Vancouver Enacts Bylaws to Regulate Medical Marijuana-Related Retail Businesses

Posted in Legislation, Retailing

Medical marijuana is becoming big business. Recently, it was announced that two titans in the medical growing sphere have agreed to merge in a $58-million deal expected to close in August. The headlines in Vancouver relate to the recent boom in medical marijuana-related storefront “dispensaries.” Over the last two years, the number of these retail businesses in the City has grown by 100 percent each year. As of April 2015, the City reported that there were over 80 such businesses operating in Vancouver without a business licence.

On June 24, 2015, Vancouver became the first city in Canada to regulate … Continue Reading

Government of Québec Proposes New Regulation For Retail Signage

Posted in Legislation, Retailing

As a response to the decision of Québec (Procureure générale) v. Magasins Best Buy ltée, 2015 QCCA 747 described in the post entitled “Québec Signage Issue – Appeal Dismissed from the Bench” posted on May 20th, 2015, the Government of Québec recently announced that it intends to bring forward a new regulation requiring companies with non-French names to add wording in French to their exterior signs.

The new regulation is set to be introduced this fall. Though details regarding the provisions of the regulation have yet to be specified, companies could be required to add a French slogan, … Continue Reading

Franchise Legislation Introduced in British Columbia

Posted in Franchising, Legislation

British Columbia does not currently have any special franchise legislation. In late 2014, the Government of B.C. sought submissions from interested stakeholders on the question of whether B.C. should implement franchise disclosure legislation similar in structure to the legislation in force in Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island (previously discussed here). This development came on the heels of work completed by the British Columbia Law Institute (the “BCLI”), which recommended that B.C. should enact franchise legislation harmonized with other Canadian jurisdictions. For summaries of the BCLI’s Consultation Paper on a Franchise Act for British Columbia (2013) … Continue Reading

Border Battles: Navigating the Perils of Canadian Immigration Law for Retailers

Posted in Cross-Border Transactions, Legislation, Trade

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act of Canada and its accompanying regulations primarily govern the way in which foreign nationals are lawfully admitted to Canada for work related purposes.

The following are the most common scenarios where retailers may seek to bring foreigners into Canada:

Whether you are an established Canadian retailer with stores primarily or solely in Canada, or a global company that is contemplating stores in Canada, Canadian immigration law and its effects on your company’s ability to effectively operate are significant in the retail sphere. From obtaining work permits for key personnel to facilitate their entry into … Continue Reading

Québec Signage Issue – Appeal Dismissed from the Bench

Posted in Branding, Legislation

In connection with the decision of Magasins Best Buy Ltée, Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd. et al v. Québec (Procureur général), 2014 QCCS 1427 described in the post entitled “Doing Business in Quebec: Does the Charter of the French Language Prevent the Use of Trade-Marks in Languages other than French in Signs, Posters and Advertising?” posted in April 2014, the Québec Court of Appeal recently concluded that the Charter of the French language (the “Charter”) does not allow the Office québécois de la langue française (“OQLF”) to require retailers to add a French descriptor … Continue Reading

Spotlight on 2015: Trends and Issues in Retail

Posted in Legislation, Litigation, Retailing

As we are now in the second quarter of 2015, retailers are anticipating how changes over the remainder of the year could affect them. We anticipate that developments on the horizon will have a significant impact upon retailers in Canada over the remainder of 2015 (and beyond). Top trends and issues of which retailers should be aware include the following:

  1. Cybersecurity: Growing Threats to Retailers of Data Breaches

The consequences and the prevalence of data breaches have been growing, and there is no reason to suspect this trend will slow down. Cybersecurity firm Risk Based Security claims 2014 was the … Continue Reading

Not COOLing Down: U.S.-Canada Trade Dispute over Country-of-Origin Labelling Requirements

Posted in Cross-Border Transactions, Legislation, Retailing, Trade

Canadian retailers and manufacturers in the food and beverage space should be aware of the upcoming decision of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding country-of-origin labelling (COOL) requirements in the United States. Previously expected on January 27, 2015, this highly anticipated decision will be released on May 18, 2015 and is likely to have a serious impact on both sides of the border.

Background

Since 2008, a U.S. agricultural policy law called the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 has imposed rules requiring detailed labels identifying the country of origin of beef, pork, chicken and … Continue Reading

A Healthy Debate, Revisited: Amendments to Ontario’s Proposed Menu Labelling Legislation from the Perspective of Franchisors

Posted in Franchising, Legislation, Retailing

Earlier this year, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario resumed its debate of Bill 45, an act aimed at enhancing public health by enacting, among other statutes, the Healthy Menu Choices Act, 2015 (the “Act”). If passed, the Act will require every person who owns or operates a regulated food service premise to display the caloric information of their standard food items. Corporations contravening the Act will be subject to a fine of not more than $5,000 for every day on which the offence occurs or continues and, for a second or subsequent offence, to a fine of not more than … Continue Reading

Amendments to the Guarantees Acknowledgment Act (Alberta) and Its Impact on Franchise Transactions in Alberta

Posted in Employment and HR, Franchising, Legislation, Retailing

Effective April 30, 2015, the new Notaries and Commissioners Act (“NCA”) comes into force in Alberta. As discussed in the newsletter dated April 20, 2015, the NCA contains certain consequential amendments to the Guarantees Acknowledgment Act (Alberta) (the “Act”). Since franchise agreements frequently require the principal of a corporate franchisee to provide a personal guarantee of the franchisee’s obligations under the franchise agreement, these amendments will impact many franchise transactions in Alberta.

The amendments provide that:

  1. an individual providing a guarantee must now appear before an active practicing lawyer, instead of a student-at-law or a notary
Continue Reading

Ontario Court of Appeal refuses to read down or sever general release clause in franchise agreement

Posted in Franchising, Legislation

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently upheld a decision (which initial decision we wrote about here) striking down a general release clause in a franchise agreement, even though the franchisor sought to be released from non-statutory claims only. The Court of Appeal’s decision underscores the importance of carefully-worded release clauses, demonstrating that an overbroad release clause likely will not withstand scrutiny under section 11 of the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000 (the “Act”) and the parallel provisions in the franchise legislation of Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick and P.E.I.

As more particularly described in our earlier post, … Continue Reading