Whether to include Quebec residents in a contest often depends on your interest in coming within the governance of the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux (the “Régie”). The Régie oversees contests that are “launched to the public” in Quebec. While this would not include contests offered only to employees, most other contests in Quebec with a total prize value over $100 fall under the Régie’s jurisdiction.
In light of the requirements, businesses often choose not to include Quebec residents in their contests. But there really is no need to shy away from Quebec; all you need is a quick course on how to stay on the right side of the provincial rules. Below are the key requirements you need to be aware of when offering a contest to residents of Quebec.
1. Let the Régie know
With limited exceptions, anyone intending to hold a contest in Quebec with a total prize value that exceeds $100 must notify the Régie using the prescribed form and pay a duty. The contest sponsor or sponsor’s lawyer should register these documents; otherwise, a proxy is also required. The deadline to file depends on the total prize value of the contest as follows:
- value of $1,000 or less must be filed at least five days before the contest launch date, and
- value over $1,000 must be filed at least 30 days before the contest launch date.
The contest launch date is the earlier of the day the contest begins or advertising for the contest begins.
2. Pay your duties
Any contest subject to the above filing requirements must pay duties to the Régie, assessed at a rate of:
- 3 %of the total value of the prizes offered to contestants in one or more Canadian jurisdictions that includes Quebec, or
- 10 % of the total value of the prizes offered exclusively to Quebec contestants.
Duties should be paid when the prescribed form is filed as the usual penalty for late payment is interest on the duties owed.
3. En Français
To comply with French language requirements in the province, the official rules of any contest and all other contest-related materials made available in Quebec must be translated into French.
4. File your materials
Keeping with the theme of “letting the Régie know", contest rules also must be filed with the Régie before the contest launch date. If the total value of the prize pool exceeds $2,000, you must also file copies of any contest-related advertising. Ideally, these materials should be filed in French and English.
5. No take-backs
Well, that’s not entirely true; however, after a contest has been filed in Quebec, you may neither amend nor withdraw the contest without notifying the Régie; from the contest launch date, you may neither cancel nor make any changes without the Régie’s approval.
6. File a security bond
If a contest’s sponsor has no place of business in Quebec, the value of a prize offered to Quebec residents is over $5,000, or the total value of the prizes offered is $20,000 or more, you must post a security agreement with the Régie.
7. File a winner’s list and keep all entry forms
Within 60 days of the draw date, you must file a detailed final report with the Régie indicating (among other things) the name and address of each winner of a prize valued at $100 or more. You must also retain all contest entry forms (and other documents that enable the Régie to verify whether the contest was properly run) for 120 days following the draw time.
8. Sorry, no children
Generally, Quebec contests should not be open to children under the age of thirteen to comply with the province’s broad prohibition against advertising to children.
About the authors
Shannon Uhera and Madison MacColl are associates at Gowling WLG. For information on Gowling WLG including the cost savings from using Gowling's Contest Creator to generate rules for your promotional contest, go to Gowling WLG's PartnerVine page here. For information on Gowling WLG, go to Gowling WLG's website.
Gowling WLG sells Contest Creator on PartnerVine. Contest Creator generates rules for promotional contests online. For more information on Contest Creator, go to the product page here. On that product page, you will find a Q&A from Gowling under the title "What are the special rules for Promotional Contests in Quebec" that provides information on publicity contests in Quebec.
To understand more about how to run a publicity contest in Quebec, see PartnerVine's article Publicity Contests in Quebec.
To learn more about Quebec's French requirements, see PartnerVine's article Quebec's French Requirements.
For a summary of promotional contest rules in Canada, see PartnerVine's article Contests or Sweepstakes in Canada.
For a comprehensive overview of promotional contest rules in Canada, see PartnerVine's article Promotional Contest Rules in Canada.
To understand how to run a promotional contest on Facebook or Instagram, see PartnerVine's article Contests on Facebook or Instagram.
For a set of frequently asked questions on promotional contests in Canada, see PartnerVine's article Promotional Contests in Canada: FAQs.
Finally, a note on how you can use the information on this page. This information is not to be considered legal advice and is not a substitute for advice from qualified legal counsel appointed to represent you. Material aspects of this information may change at any time and without further notice.