The Implications of Running a Sweepstakes or Contest in Quebec
Rosemary Stein, VP from our Chicago office, wrote this piece for MK on running promotions in Quebec.
You have probably noticed that when Sweepstakes or Contests are run in the U.S. and extended to Canada the promotion will sometimes be “void in Quebec.” In Canada, promotions are governed primarily by federal law. Quebec is the only province that specifically regulates promotions and their restrictions are more severe than those allowed in other Canadian provinces. Following are some key things that you need to know if you are planning to run a promotion in Quebec.
There are strict guidelines about the content of the promotion rules as well as registration and bonding requirements depending on the products being promoted and the value of the prizes. The regime is handled by Quebec government’s administrator Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux (“Régie”). Sponsors must register the rules and all advertisements for the promotion with Régie prior to the launch. Registration requires payment of duty as follows:
- Any aggregate prize value over $100 to $1,000 CAD 10% of prize value and 5 days prior to launch.
- The total prize value is over $1,000.01 to $4,999.99 CAD 10% of prize value 30 days prior to launch and rules 10 days.
- If the value of a single prize offered to Quebec residents is greater than $5,000 CAD or the total value of all prizes is $20,000 CAD or more, the promotion requires both registration and bond fees. 10% of prize value 30 days prior to launch and rules 10 days.
In addition to following the guidelines for the promotion rules, the Sponsor must translate the rules into French in compliance with Quebec’s Charter of the French language.
Sponsors must allow the government of Quebec to mediate any lawsuits arising from the promotion.
Residents of Canada (including Quebec) cannot be declared winners until they have correctly answered a skill-testing question. The most common form is a four-step mathematical question.
Sponsors must file a written report 60 days after the promotion has concluded, attesting that the prizes have been delivered or attempted to be delivered; include the name and address of each winner of a prize valued at $100 CAD or more.
If you are considering launching a promotion in Canada and/or Quebec, contact us so that we can assist you. If the advantage of allowing residents of Quebec to participate in your promotion justifies the potential costs and helps you to meet your marketing objectives, Marden-Kane can perform all of the services for you and guide you through the legal maze.
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