As a resident of Québec, it gets frustrating seeing giveaways that are open to Canadians… except those in Québec. It has become even more frustrating now that I work for a Québec-based manufacturer and handle their social media. When they sponsor giveaways, it kinda sorta really sucks if those giveaways aren’t open to their own compatriots.
So I set about figuring out what the whole “Excluding Québec” residents clause on many giveaways is all about, and whether or not bloggers are doing anything wrong by holding giveaways that are open to La Belle Province.
A couple notes on blogger giveaways in general:
- In Canada, giveaways that are purely based on chance (ie: randomly picking an entrant via Rafflecopter) are illegal and considered gambling unless the winner has to answer a “skill testing question.” This can be something all entrants complete at the start of a giveaway, or the winner can be asked to do so upon notification.
- In the US, giveaways based purely on chance do not require a skill-testing question, and are actually referred to as “sweepstakes.”
- According to attorney, Sara Hawkins, US sweepstakes terms must include:
- “No purchase necessary.”
- The alternative method of free participation.
- Geographic area of the sweepstakes and/or who is eligible to participate in the sweepstakes.
- Opening date and scheduled termination date of the sweepstakes.
- Complete name and address of the sponsor and promoter of the contest.
- Number of prizes, the accurate description of each prize, the retail value of each prize and the odds of winning each type of prize.
- Whether all prizes offered will be awarded and how the prizes will be awarded.
- Manner of selection of winners and when a determination of winners will be made.
- Where and when a list of winners can be obtained.
- According to the law firm, Smart & Biggar, Canadian contests terms must disclose:
- the number and value of prizes;
- any regional allocation of prizes;
- the skill-testing question requirement;
- details as to the chances of winning;
- the contest closing date; and
- any other fact known to the advertiser that materially affects the chances of winning.
So, ideally, if your giveaway is open to US & Canada, you should be respecting those terms. They are pretty much identical, so no stress there!
Where does the “Excluding Québec” thing come from?
The exclusion of Québec in giveaways comes from the fact that here, giveaways are governed by a special government agency: the Régie des alcools des courses et des jeux. [The Alcohol, Racing and Gambling Commission.] (What a bunch of killjoys!)
The Régie has a bunch of crazy, complicated rules that involve submitting your contest terms for approval and paying a deposit on the total value of your prize. BUT…
These Rules do not apply to publicity contests where the total value of the prizes offered does not exceed $2,000, with the exception of sections 5 and 6 that apply to all publicity contests in which the total value of the prizes exceeds $100.
The crazy Régie rules only apply to prizes valued at $2000 or more!!!!
If your prize is under $100, NONE of the Régie’s rules apply.
Over $100 but under $2000, your giveaway needs only respect sections 5 & 6:(And these overlap with the US/Canada terms you already use!):
- the conditions for entering the contest;
- the places where the public must deposit or send the contest entry forms;
- the deadline for entering the contest;
- a description of the method of awarding the prizes;
- the number and a detailed description of the prizes offered and the value of each prize;
- the place, date and precise time the prize winner will be named;
- the media used to inform the winners of the prizes won;
- the place, date and deadline for claiming prizes, or where applicable, whether the prizes will be delivered to the winner;
- the information that the winners will be selected by a jury, where applicable;
- the information that as a minimum the persons specified in section 12 must be excluded in all cases;
- the following text: “Any litigation respecting the conduct or organization of a publicity contest may be submitted to the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux for a ruling. Any litigation respecting the awarding of a prize may be submitted to the board only for the purpose of helping the parties reach a settlement”;
- the nature of the skill-testing requirement that a winner has to satisfy in order to claim his prize.
The person for whom a publicity contest is carried on shall ensure that the advertising for the contest does not imply that any person: has won a given prize; may enter a contest for the purposes of receiving a prize or being able to win a prize, when in fact all participants receive a prize.
In a Nutshell:
Is your giveaway worth less than $100?
It can be open to Québec!
Is your giveaway worth more than $100 and less than $2000?
The terms & conditions you already have in place for the US and Canada basically cover everything required by Québec except for this one sentence: “Any litigation respecting the conduct or organization of a publicity contest may be submitted to the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux for a ruling. Any litigation respecting the awarding of a prize may be submitted to the board only for the purpose of helping the parties reach a settlement.”
What about French?
While I try to make many of my blog posts and contests bilingual, you do not have to! According to Davis LLP Legal Advisors:
The Régie does not require French translation for rules of contest[s] held exclusively online. French translation [is]only required if contest sponsor is advertising in Quebec or making entry forms (other than online entry forms) available in Quebec.
Why should you open your giveaways to Québec?
- Our population is 8.1 million.
- We’re awesome.
- We have a huge natural parenting/cloth diapering community: We are home to Bummis, AppleCheeks, Omaiki, MiniKiwi, Öko Creations and more.
So, will your next giveaway be open to Québec?
Gotta pay the bills...