Review of Gowling WLG's Contest Creator

Gowling WLG's Contest Creator creates rules for promotional contests or sweepstakes in Canada. If you're giving away something and using it as a promotion, you need rules. Contest Creator generates those rules quickly online. This article reviews Gowling WLG's Contest Creator and tells you how you can use it.

The Problem

The Criminal Code makes it illegal for anyone in Canada to put on a lottery or game of chance without following specific rules. In addition, provinces and territories have their own rules, and some of them (like Quebec) are particularly thorough. To run a compliant contest or sweepstakes in Canada, you need a set of rules.

The Solution from Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG's Contest Creator generates a set of rules for a promotional contest in Canada. Contest Creator covers federal law and the applicable rules in all the provinces and territories of Canada. Contest Creator is being sold in three versions based on the jurisdictions where you want to run your contest: 

  • Any one province or territory except Quebec (Can$99). With this choice, you can run your contest in any province or territory except for Quebec (which has more complex rules). This choice makes sense for contests where you need just Ontario, for instance.
  • All provinces and territories except Quebec (Can$300). With this choice, you can cover all of the provinces and territories in Canada except for Quebec. 
  • All provinces and territories (Can$500). With this choice, you cover all the provinces and territories of Canada. This option includes Quebec and means you can run your contest in Canada without restriction. 

Quebec has its own rules for promotional contests that are more extensive than other jurisdictions, which is why the rules for Quebec are only available in the most expensive version of Contest Creator. For background on Quebec's provincial legislation on promotional contests, see Gowling WLG's Q&A for "What are the special rules for promotional contests in Quebec?" on the product page and our article Publicity Contests in Quebec.

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In terms of how Contest Creator works, Contest Creator consists of a simple interview with embedded guidance that steers you through the questions relevant for your jurisdiction. An example of a question in Contest Creator is "How many different ways are there to enter the promotion?" After being steered to that question, you would need to choose a number between 1 and 3, and then an additional question would be asked based on your choice. If you choose 2, the next question is "Is everyone in the promotion competing for the same prize?", which you would have to answer with a "yes" or "no". The interview collects the information on how you plan to run the contest, and generates a set of rules for you at the end of the interview. The rules can be downloaded or emailed to you as a Microsoft Word document, and you receive a transcript of your answers as a pdf. It takes about 20 minutes to generate a set of rules, and it is easy to do.

Contest Creator generates the rules for a promotional contest, but it does not cover everything you need to consider to run a promotional contest. Among other things, Contest Creator does not assist with a French translation or the filing with the Régie in Quebec (if you are running your contest in Quebec), create a set of mini-rules for your contest, or generate a math skill-testing question for you contest. For more information on issues not covered by Contest Creator, we've excerpted Gowling WLG's disclosure from the Q&A on the product page under "Important Terms" below.

Relative Advantage

Contest Creator is an innovative product that won a 2021 Precedent Innovation Award, which is an award from Toronto's Precedent magazine. Contest Creator is the only software solution to generate rules for promotional contests. On Gowling WLG's PartnerVine page, Gowling WLG estimates that Contest Creator saves their clients 79% of the cost of preparing those rules without the software. That is extraordinary value. If you are thinking of unlocking that value, you may want to consider using Gowling WLG for legal advice as well, because alternative counsel would have to check Gowling WLG's software (at least the first time they used the software). If you hire Gowling WLG, you won't have to pay to have the software checked.

Compatibility

Contest Creator is easy to use. After you purchase the product, you are provided a link directly to Gowling WLG's software. The software is provided through your browser, and downloads are provided directly to your local computer. There is no further integration required.

Circumstances of Use

Contest Creator has been built for promotional contests in Canada. It works for companies, individuals, and non-profits.

Contest Creator is not being sold as a substitute for engaging legal counsel. After the rules for a contest have been generated, the rules are intended to be reviewed by legal counsel.

About Gowling WLG

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Gowling WLG is the largest law firm in Canada by revenue and number of lawyers. Gowling WLG focuses on work for the largest companies in Canada, and has a long history of delivering value for those companies through the innovative use of software. Contest Creator is a great example of the value delivered by Gowling WLG to its clients on a daily basis.

For more information on Gowling WLG and the value they deliver with software, see Gowling WLG's PartnerVine page, where they have estimated cost savings for several of their products.

Support

Contest Creator is accessible online 24 hours a day. The software has been built to work without additional support.

If you have questions and aren't concerned with confidentiality, you can ask questions of Gowling WLG on the "Ask a lawyer" feature on Contest Creator's product page. Gowling WLG is not obliged to answer questions posted on "Ask a lawyer". If they do so, they'll publish both the questions and answers on Contest Creator's product page for the benefit of PartnerVine's community. Gowling WLG's reponses are for information purposes only and can't be relied on as legal advice.

If you need legal advice, Gowling WLG will need to check for client conflicts and you and Gowling WLG would need to agree to separate terms of service. If users are interested in a legal review of the rules generated by Contest Creator, they may want to speak with Gowling WLG to see if they will do that review in a cost-effective manner. PartnerVine can provide a referral if you would like help.

Important Terms

Below are some terms that we think may be important to your purchase. We can't say this list is definitive, but we hope it will help you in your purchasing decision:

  • Contest Creator is offered in 3 versions. If you purchase anything other than the most expensive version, you will not have a set of rules that addresses Quebec's particularly comprehensive rules.
  • You need to know where you'd like to run your contest before you make your purchase, because you can't change your purchasing option once it's been chosen.
  • Contest Creator is only being sold in Canada.
  • The Q&A on the product page includes disclosure on how Contest Creator can be used, including recommendations to speak with legal counsel if your contest includes (i) participants that are minors or (ii) highly regulated products like alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and vaping. One Q&A called "What does Contest Creator not do" lists issues not covered by Contest Creator, which we have included here for your information:
    • Where the “single- or multi-province/territory contest, including Quebec” option for Contest Creator is purchased, the contest rules generated will include Quebec-specific clauses and the questionnaire will include embedded warnings for legal risks and important considerations applicable to a contest open in Quebec. However, purchasing this option does not include the Régie filing or payment of the duty fee, French translation of the generated contest rules, or fulfillment of any other key requirements for Quebec contests set out in the FAQ ‘What are the special rules for promotional contests in Quebec?’ in the Q&A on the product page (except as specifically noted within this paragraph).
    • The Competition Act (as well as the law in Quebec) requires that contest-related advertising include specific minimum disclosures. These disclosure requirements typically are met by incorporating “mini-rules” (an abbreviated version of long-form contest rules) within contest-related advertising. The content of mini-rules is entirely dependant on the specific mechanics of a contest and the nature of the particular advertising, and as such is not generated by Contest Creator.
    • Depending on the nature and/or value of a prize awarded in a contest, many sponsors opt to require that a winner’s receipt of the prize is made conditional upon the winner executing and delivering a declaration and release form in favour of the contest sponsor and other contest parties. The rules generated by Contest Creator provide for sponsors to impose this as a requirement, however Contest Creator does not generate a declaration and release form.
    • Based on requirements under Canadian contest laws, where a contest’s eligible winner is selected by random draw (or other basis of chance), the rules generated by Contest Creator will require that a winner’s receipt of a prize is made conditional upon the winner correctly answering a math skill-testing question. However, Contest Creator does not generate a math skill-testing question for the sponsor to administer.
    • Contest Creator does not constitute or provide legal advice, and its use does not create an attorney-client relationship with Gowling. The generated contest rules, as well as the transcript that may include warnings of legal risks and important considerations, are intended to be reviewed by legal counsel – you are solely responsible for obtaining independent legal counsel in respect of your contest. Gowling can provide legal counsel, subject to its standard legal fees and client intake requirements.

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Further Resources

For more information on Contest Creator, go to the product page here.

For a summary of promotional contest rules in Canada, see our article Contests or Sweepstakes in Canada.

For a comprehensive overview of promotional contest rules in Canada, see our article Promotional Contest Rules in Canada.

To understand how to run a promotional contest on Facebook or Instagram, see our article Contests on Facebook or Instagram.

For a set of frequently asked questions on promotional contests in Canada, see our article Promotional Contests in Canada: FAQs.

To understand the situation in Quebec, see our article Publicity Contests in Quebec.

For information on Gowling WLG including the cost savings calculation discussed in this article, go to Gowling WLG's PartnerVine page here. 

For information on Gowling WLG, go to Gowling WLG's website.

Legal Information

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. Material aspects of this information may change at any time and without further notice.

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