Competition Bureau assuming the presidency of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network for 2020-2021

News release

With the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, working with consumer protection and enforcement agencies from around the globe is more critical than ever

June 30, 2020 – GATINEAU, QC – Competition Bureau

As Canadians celebrate Canada Day, the Competition Bureau will begin its one-year term as President of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN). From July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, the Bureau will lead the network of consumer protection and law enforcement authorities from over 65 countries, representing approximately 5 billion consumers worldwide.

With the rapid rise of the digital economy, the accelerated pace of technological change, the global pandemic and an international push for environmentalism, consumers face many novel risks of deceptive marketing. Building consumer trust in a changing marketplace will drive Canada’s program of work during its presidency. 

The Bureau will work alongside ICPEN member nations to explore new ways to deter deceptive practices that affect consumers’ worldwide. This work will include a focus on the following themes:

  • COVID-19: examining global best practices around remote investigative and consumer protection work to better adapt to misleading and fraudulent marketing activities related to the pandemic;
  • Artificial intelligence (AI): exploring the benefits of AI as an investigative tool, as well as potential ways businesses may use it to mislead consumers; 
  • Digital platforms: looking at enforcement challenges, data privacy concerns and third-party responsibility associated with digital platforms;
  • Misleading environmental claims: examining ways to address misleading activities that attempt to exploit consumer concern about the environment.

To support its role as President, the Bureau will draw on its findings and recent experiences in the digital economy, specifically in fraud prevention, big data, and deceptive marketing in the area of privacy.


“With the economic challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and the incessant expansion of the online marketplace, collaborating with consumer protection and enforcement agencies worldwide has never been more critical. Together, we will identify matters that require cross border enforcement responses and work to protect consumers on a global scale.”

Josephine Palumbo,
ICPEN President 2020-2021
Deputy Commissioner, Deceptive Marketing Practices at the Competition Bureau of Canada

Quick facts

  • ICPEN aims to protect consumers by encouraging global cooperation among law enforcement agencies and the sharing of information about cross-border challenges that affect consumers.

  • The Bureau has been contributing to ICPEN since its inception in 1992, and previously held the presidency in 1996-1997. 

  • The Bureau’s ICPEN presidency was preceded by Colombia’s Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio from 2019-2020. Portugal’s Consumer Directorate-General will head the network in 2021-2022.

  • By rotating the presidency each year, ICPEN ensures there is appropriate geographical representation and participation from the different member nations.

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