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Things to know

  • Contests are primarily governed by the federal Competition Act and Criminal Code. The misleading advertising provisions in provincial consumer protection legislation also apply to contest advertising.
  • Contests must have a set of written rules, disclosing at least the minimum disclosure requirements set out in the Competition Act.
  • The Criminal Code prohibits awarding prizes solely on the basis of chance or requiring a participant to pay money or other valuable consideration in order to participate in the contest or draw if the prize is goods, wares or merchandise.
    • Most contests include a no-purchase form of entry and require the winner to answer a skill-testing question to avoid these issues.
  • Companies running contests wholly or partly in Quebec must register the contest with the government. This includes paying duties, posting security, and reporting the list of winners.
  • Employee contests may raise tax reporting implications.
  • The collection and use of contestants’ personal information for marketing purposes requires informed consent under privacy laws.

Things to do

  • Ensure your contest rules set out the minimum disclosures required by the Competition Act.
  • Include a no-purchase entry option and a skill-testing question, if necessary.
  • Register promotional contests that are open to residents of Quebec.
  • Ensure the contest rules are readily available to contest participants. Ensure that, at a minimum, “mini rules”, including a web site link to the full rules, are included in all contest advertising.
  • Obtain appropriate consent for any subsequent marketing activities to the contestants.
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