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Competition Bureau warns against misleading COVID-19 marketing

The Competition Bureau has issued a warning to Canadian businesses regarding deceptive marketing claims about COVID-19 prevention or treatment. The statement warns businesses against making false or misleading claims that their products and services can prevent, treat or cure the disease. It also states that the bureau is monitoring the marketplace and will take action to stop such claims, possibly including financial penalties and jail time. The statement encourages companies to review their packaging and marketing materials to ensure compliance with the Competition Act and other regulations. The bureau is coordinating its efforts with Health Canada, which has not yet approved any product to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19, as well as other Canadian and international law enforcement agencies.

The bureau has issued compliance warnings to a variety of companies regarding the effectiveness of herbal remedies, bee-related products, vitamins, food products, ultra-violet lights, ozone air sterilization systems and some air filters or purifiers.

“As concerned Canadians take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones during the pandemic, they need accurate information so they can make informed decisions,” said Matthew Boswell, Commissioner of Competition. “We urge all businesses to ensure their marketing complies with the law, including any claims made about the performance of their products, or face potential legal action by the Competition Bureau.”

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