Counterfeit Products in Canada


Big Business: Counterfeit Products in Canada

The internet is an attractive medium for counterfeit products. There, criminals can remain anonymous while running a profitable business online.

In Canada, RCMP estimated in their 2005 Economic Crime Report that the annual cost of counterfeiting to the Canadian economy is between $10 billion and $30 billion.  Michael Geist, Canada and Research Chair for Internet and E-Commerce Law, dispute these figures, claiming they were derived largely from media reports and the internet.

In Canada, it is difficult to calculate the actual financial losses associated with counterfeiting, given that no comprehensive economic study has been conducted to date. Primarily, this is because Canada has no intellectual Property reporting system to maintain statistics on counterfeiting. However, experts report that the flow of counterfeit goods has increased from 5.5 million in the mid-eighties to 512 million in 2005.

Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement

Canada continues to be listed in the 2007 Special 301 Report. The Special 301 Report is an annual report that examines the effectiveness of the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement regimes in various countries. Unfortunately, Canada has been on the watch list for more than ten years due to our weak IP Enforcement system.

In a comprehensive report prepared by the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network in 2007:  “Roadmap to Change,” experts identified numerous problems in Canada concerning piracy and the need for change. Some recommendations include more coordination between RCMP, border security, and rights holders, strengthening the IP enforcement program in Canada by addressing the weakness of border security, and amending the copyright and trademark legislation.

This report was instrumental in waking the government by alerting them about the piracy problems in Canada. Following these submissions to the Committee on Industry, Science and Technology in 2007,  a report was tabled in the House of Commons, entitled Counterfeiting and Piracy are Theft. Under Standing Order 109, the government responded by implementing an action plan to combat piracy. One change to the legislation makes it illegal to record movies in theatres in Canada. This legislation came into effect in 2007.

Duncan Investigations Investigates Counterfeit Products in Canada

In 2008, was shut down by the RCMP in Winnipeg, Manitoba,  after a lengthy investigation conducted with the Canadian Recording Industry Association and my firm: Duncan Investigations.  These pirates were running a very profitable counterfeit music business right in the heartland of Winnipeg, Manitoba, at the very expense of the creators of the product; the musicians. This was the RCMP’s largest seizure concerning the sale of counterfeit products in Canada.

Counterfeit products can be easily identified by some of the following means:

  1. Lack of logo or copyright
  2. Poor quality packaging
  3. Cheap prices
  4. Unknown name suppliers
  5. Poor quality product
  6. Spelling errors on the product

Combating piracy requires a continuous, coordinated effort among all stakeholders, businesses, citizens, and government agencies,  to ensure that we protect the rights of our creators, the economy, and the safety of the citizens.

By: Janie A. Duncan, Email, Website

At Duncan Investigations, we specialize in counterfeit investigations on behalf of copyright holders, collectives, and brand name owners.  If you require a comprehensive investigation concerning your product, please email us at or visit our website above.

Learn more about other Frauds, Scams, and Schemes.

1. (RCMP. Feature Focus: 2005 Economic Crime. Retrieved on November 7, 2008, from:
2. The Star: Misleading Data Undermine Counterfeiting Claims. September  17, 2007.  Retrieved on November 8, 2008: Tim Phillips Knock Off: The Deadly Trade in Counterfeit Goods:  The True Story of the World’s Fastest Growing Crime Wave, 2005.
4. Office of the United States Trade Representative: 2007 Special 301 Report.
5.  Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network, Report on Counterfeiting and Piracy in Canada:  A Road Map for Change, May 2007. Canada. Industry, Science, and Technology. Government Responses to the Eighth Report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. Counterfeiting and Piracy are Theft. House of Commons, Ottawa. 2007.


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