Canadian Sweepstakes And Contests

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Many sweepstakes and contests open to those in the USA are also Canadian sweepstakes. This includes Instant Win Sweepstakes, as well as non-instants. Sponsors merchandising in both countries find it economical to run their giveaways for citizens on both sides of the border. The rules are different for the winners, and Canadians should take note. The tax laws in Canada actually favour you, as opposed to US sweepstakes and contest winners.

The majority of Canadian sweepstakes are open to those who have reached “the age of majority.” In other words, an adult. The ages of majority differ among the provinces, and all accept 18 or 19 as a legal adult. Here is a list of territories and provinces and the age of majority to enter Canadian sweepstakes:

Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan — age of majority is 18.

British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut and Yukon — age of majority is 19.

Canadian Sweepstakes Laws

Both the US and Canada have laws which govern sweepstakes and contest to keep them separate from lotteries.

In order to follow US law, the sponsor must remove the financial benefit to avoid being deemed an illegal lottery — the reason why sweepstakes and contests include statements in their rules confirming the entrant does not have to pay to enter, and that a purchase will not improve their chances of winning.

Canadian sweepstakes

Canadian sweepstakes

Canadians’ sweepstakes do it differently. They often have a strange math question on the entry form. This is the skill testing part, and it is not an attempt by sponsors to keep Canadians from winning sweepstakes and contests as often as Americans. They are merely following Canadian sweepstakes laws.

Canadian sweepstakes law is unique in that it requires that Canadian winners are not chosen by sponsors using luck. There must be an element of skill involved, hence the skill-testing question.

This requirement removes the element of pure chance, narrowing the field of qualified winners. Not every entrant has an equal chance to win; only those who at passed the skill testing question are eligible to win Canadian sweepstakes prizes. This is only a technicality, but it is consistently applied. Fortunately, people are able to pass the skill testing questions easily, even though sponsors are required to make the test moderately challenging.

A .99 calculator is all the equipment you need to pass the skill testing requirement for Canadian sweepstakes. The courts have agreed on a four-part mathematical test as sufficient to qualify as a skill-testing question, and a sample math test could read like: “12 times 2, less half plus 24.” That’s it. Answer a simple math question and you’ve qualified yourself for most Canadian sweepstakes.

Why Void In Quebec?

Many Canadian sweepstakes open to most provinces and territories are void in Quebec. The reasoning behind this is not to discriminate against Québécois — it’s because the rules in Quebec are so onerous they discourage many sponsors from participating. To wit, Quebec has this basic rule set (and others) regulating sweepstakes and contests:

  • Register the sweepstakes, contest and all supporting materials with the Quebec government at least 30 days in advance of the sweepstake’s launch.
  • Pay an upfront fee of up to 10% of the giveaway’s value.
  • Allow the government of Quebec to mediate any lawsuits that may arise from the sweepstakes and contests.
  • Provide a written report to the Quebec government after the contest has ended, proclaiming  that the prizes have been awarded.
  • These laws were written to protect the residents of Quebec, although you can see why sponsors are discouraged from completing these requirements.

    Canadian Sweepstakes And Taxes

    There are fewer sweepstakes and contests for Canadians to enter, but the tax laws in Canada are on your side. In Canada, if the contest or sweepstakes has a skill-testing question, it is usually considered a game of skill, so there are typically no taxes to be paid. Americans winning sweepstakes and contests would trade places with you, doing a simple math question in exchange for filing a 1099 and paying taxes!

    Entering sweepstakes and contests is a hobby that is popular in Canada, the same as in the United States. Canadian sweepstakes often have limitations to Canada only, and some Canucks have won some wonderful prizes.

    2 Responsesto “Canadian Sweepstakes And Contests”

    1. David Luff says:

      Thankyou for posting this information on Canadian sweepstakes, it has cleared a few of things up for me.
      I still however would like to know if there is any limitation put forward by Canadian/Ontario sweepstake laws as to how much time a a sweepstake holder has to make publicly known the winner. I have entered several sweeps where the sweep holders have said the winner would be announced shortly after a specific time,the winner only has two days to claim the prize. Then the holder does not post the winner on thier site for several weeks after the winner should have been picked. How can it be legal for a sweepstake to delay announcement of winners untill people have no chance of collecting thier winnings?

      • admin says:

        I don’t think there are laws in Canada and the US that cover this topic. It seems to be your sponsor’s whim. Do you know anything about them, and are you sure they give the prizes away at all?

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