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Invoking the Competition Act Against Climate Deception


Canada’s Competition Act says businesses may not make “materially false or misleading representations” to promote their interests. Some leading Canadian activists and a non-profit group that focuses on using legal leverage to advance environmental issues now say that Canada’s Competition Bureau should investigate prominent climate denial groups for breaching that rule.


Charles Mandel reports in the National Observer that Alberta river scientist David Schindler, Stephen Lewis, a former Canadian Ambassador to the UN, and activist  Tzeporah Berman, also adjunct professor at York University, are among the group of complainants that Toronto-based Ecojustice will represent in a formal complaint to the Competition Bureau levelled against Alberta’s Friends of Science, The International Climate Science Coalition, and the U.S. Heartland Institute.

Billboards Friends of Science erected in Montreal in 2014 were found by Advertising Standards Canada to be “false and misleading,” Mandel reports. Friends has also erected billboards in Calgary and Edmonton.

“While the denier groups do not publically disclose the identities of their funds,” Ecojustice said in its application to the Bureau, “available public information suggests their funding comes at least in part from individuals and corporations with business interests in the production and use of fossil fuels.” A decade ago Friends of Science received $175,000 from oil and gas company Talisman Energy Inc. to produce media questioning the climate consensus.

Ecojustice and its plaintiffs also asked the Competition Bureau to forward their complaint to the Attorney General of Canada for investigation of potential violations of criminal laws.