Stikeman Elliott

Marketing, Advertising & Compliance

Stikeman Elliott's Marketing, Advertising and Compliance Group consists of members drawn from the firm's leading Competition and Foreign Investment Group as well as its Corporate-Commercial Group. As it applies to marketing and advertising, competition law and consumer protection law are complex and constantly evolving, and business practices that appear innocuous to clients may in fact contravene relevant legislation. Our members proactively respond to client needs and ensure they receive legal counsel unique to their objectives in a timely and cost-effective manner, regardless of the complexity. They also ensure strategies meet all applicable laws and regulations.

To assist our clients with keeping abreast of timely industry developments and issues, the Group offers a blog on legal, legislative and policy matters at

Our Services

The Group provides, on a regular basis, marketing and advertising compliance (including Competition Act and provincial consumer protection legislation) advice to leading Canadian and international businesses across a wide range of industries, including food and consumer goods, automotive, pharmaceutical and healthcare, financial services, insurance and retail. Our lawyers routinely review, comment and provide risk assessments and risk mitigation advice, typically within very short time frames. We offer these services across Canada and have specific expertise in the highly-regulated Quebec market.

For over 20 years our team has closely assisted our clients in many marketing practices including,

  • Advertising and marketing, including TV/infomercials, radio, print, online, mobile and social media; 

  • Distribution strategies;

  • Pricing strategies, maintenance and claims;

  • Product labelling;

  • Warranty advertising;

  • Pre-clearance where required by certain industries;

  • Financial legal disclosure including credit and lease advertising considerations;

  • Contests and other promotional strategies;

  • Comparative advertising;

  • Disclaimers and contradictory messages;

  • Intellectual property considerations including trademarks, music and personality rights;

  • Social networking campaigns; and

  • Privacy considerations including management of personal information in the context of marketing campaigns and compliance with federal and provincial laws.

Stikeman Elliott's experienced counsel have a keen awareness of market trends, legislative change and policy initiatives, and can help companies avoid unwelcome surprises, including Competition Bureau investigations and civil or criminal actions by:

  • Conducting a compliance audit to identify and report on any aspects of a client's procedures or policies that raise potential issues;

  • Designing, in collaboration with the client's operations personnel, a comprehensive compliance program;

  • Conducting seminars to educate staff on compliance pitfalls common in their industry; and

  • Advising with respect to document management (i.e., creation and retention).

Our multi-disciplinary team is comprised of lawyers practising in the areas of competition, privacy, environmental, technology, regulatory and litigation, who often work closely and seamlessly to provide comprehensive advice and utilize a cost-effective mix of partners, associates and clerks to serve clients. We have represented clients with respect to misleading advertising claims, price claims and product performance claims, including the defence of class actions.

Our experience includes liaising with various government regulators, such as the federal Competition Bureau, provincial regulators and industry self-regulatory bodies such as Advertising Standards Canada and the Television Bureau of Canada (also known as Telecaster, a body which has promulgated infomercial guidelines). Members of our Group are actively involved with the Canadian Bar Association Competition Law Section's Marketing Practices Committee. They are committed to being at the forefront of important emerging issues and understanding the fast-evolving practices in this area, as well as providing influence where they can.

Connected to the Industry

In order to keep ourselves at the forefront of industry trends and changes to regulations, we are actively involved in industry organizations, including the Advertising Standards Canada, Food and Consumer Products of Canada and the Canadian Marketing Association. In fact, a member of the Group has recently been appointed as the Special Digital Privacy Counsel to the Canadian Marketing Association. Our lawyers are recognized as experts and speak at various legal and industry conferences, including The Canadian Institute's Advertising and Marketing Law Conference, and for the Food and Consumer Products of Canada organization.

Related Practices
Key Contacts

Catherine Jenner

Paul Collins

Susan M. Hutton
Jeffrey Brown

Leland P. Corbett

Shawn C.D. Neylan

Related Publications