On April 28, 2016, we first reported on the Competition Bureau’s legal proceedings against Canadian based parka manufacturer, Moose Knuckles, concerning allegedly misleading claims that the parkas were “made in Canada”. The Competition Bureau initially sought $4 million in administrative monetary penalties. The company has now reached a settlement with the Competition Bureau wherein it has agreed to donate $750,000 over five years to Canadian charities. It has also agreed to make it clearer that certain of its parkas are made with both Canadian and imported components.
The settlement could be the beginning of a trend of successful mediated settlements in Competition Tribunal proceedings. The settlement may also signal an emergent trend of Competition Bureau settlements involving donations. Consent agreements were reached in 2014 and 2015 between manufacturers of hockey helmets and the Competition Bureau, which involved donation of hockey equipment. The press release in the Moose Knuckles case is silent on whether the Moose Knuckles donation could be goods (or a donations in kind, rather than a donation of money), but the release does indicate the donation will be made to charities “such as those that provide winter jackets to children in need.”
It is also noteworthy that, in the Moose Knuckles case, unlike the hockey helmet cases, there was no separate payment made toward the Bureau’s investigations. The reason could lie in the company’s statement that it was able to provide the Bureau with facts about its practices that it did not initially possess, expressing satisfaction over the settlement.