Competition Bureau to crack down against deceptive marketing of products claiming to cure COVID-19

The Bureau will investigate collusion claims wherein competitors fix the price of such products

Competition Bureau to crack down against deceptive marketing of products claiming to cure COVID-19
Competition Commissioner Matthew Boswell

The Competition Bureau will crack down against anti-competitive activities by individuals taking advantage of Canadian consumers and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Competition Commissioner Matthew Boswell has announced that the Bureau would be staying vigilant and investigating alleged violations of Canada’s competition laws, including “[d]eceptive marketing practices, such as false or misleading claims about a product’s ability to prevent, treat or cure the virus; and [c]ollusion by competing businesses, such as illegal agreements about what price to charge for products or services.”

Businesses engaging in pro-competitive collaborations to deliver affordable goods and services to meet the needs of Canadians have nothing to fear, said Boswell, as long as they make sure to comply with the Bureau’s Competitor Collaboration Guidelines.

The Bureau is cooperating with key contacts in the federal, provincial and municipal governments and in the business and legal communities to properly deal with this evolving situation.

And in an open letter dated Mar. 18, addressed to the executive members of the Canadian Bar Association’s competition law section, Boswell described possible changes to the enforcement processes of the Bureau, as a consequence of the COVID-19 situation and the Bureau’s need to prioritize urgent issues to protect Canadians.

The Bureau has implemented remote working arrangements for its staff, where possible, and has limited communications to phone calls and other means that adhere with the social distancing guidelines issued by public health authorities. For certain documents, including advance ruling certificates, no-action letters and written opinions, the Bureau has replaced hard copies of letters with emails from signatories.

For merger transactions, the Bureau has urged parties to “contact case teams and management in the Mergers Directorate as early as possible on complex matters and throughout the conduct of a review.”

Certain procedures requiring in-person interviews, meetings and negotiations may be delayed, given these extraordinary circumstances.

Recent articles & video

'We need to have the competence to question:' LegalTech panel on genAI fakes in the legal system

MPD Law Firm LLP appears in $20-million commercial case

BC court orders new hearing on worker’s mental disorder claim due to expert's incomplete information

Tax Court of Canada rules against additional 15 percent tax on dividends to Luxembourg shareholders

BC Supreme Court rejects husband’s claim against wife’s counsel over family home sale proceeds

Ontario Superior Court dismisses medical malpractice lawsuit due to lack of expert evidence

Most Read Articles

Survey shows many Canadians not keeping track of financial information crucial for estate planning

Sharing news website subscription password not copyright infringement, finds Federal Court

Lawyer salaries may vary more in wake of competition law changes: recruiter report

Jennifer Teskey, the Canadian managing partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, on talent and motivation