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Evidence of meeting #35 for Industry, Science and Technology in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was patent.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Harry Page  Chief Executive Officer, UBM TechInsights
Richard Gold  Professor, Faculty of Law, McGill University, As an Individual
Chris Tortorice  Corporate Counsel, Microsoft Canada Inc.
Dale Ptycia  Senior Manager, Licensing, Hockey Canada

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

So improving the resources there would probably provide the opportunity to actually cut some of this off and seize it?

9:55 a.m.

Senior Manager, Licensing, Hockey Canada

Dale Ptycia

It would definitely help, as would empowering front-line officers to target and seize counterfeit product.

Several times we've been able to alert the border officials as well to anticipated shipments coming in, but they have said they don't have enough resources to target particular shipments.

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

In some of these cases, do we get other merchandise and other types of contraband coming through? Is there a combination of those things?

9:55 a.m.

Senior Manager, Licensing, Hockey Canada

Dale Ptycia

Absolutely. There's a mix of not only licensed product from sport brands like ours, the NHL, but we'll also see other counterfeit brands of other products, whether it's software or other components, sometimes in containers when the container is opened or inspected.

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative David Sweet

Thank you very much, Mr. Ptycia and Mr. Masse.

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Thank you.

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative David Sweet

Now we go to Mr. Albrecht.

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you for being here today.

Mr. Ptycia, you mentioned in your opening comments that 75% of the jerseys that are worn to NHL games are probably counterfeit, and the number of Hockey Canada jerseys during the winter games was also very high.

Could you estimate the loss of revenue to Hockey Canada? You mentioned earlier that your group does a lot of work in promoting activities on the part of youth and getting them engaged in sports and engaged in physical activity, which obviously we're all concerned about here. If you're losing resources because counterfeit goods are taking away your profit margin, could you estimate what the loss of revenue is to your agency?

9:55 a.m.

Senior Manager, Licensing, Hockey Canada

Dale Ptycia

Just based on the numbers of jerseys that we detained and ultimately destroyed at the Vancouver mail facility—16,000 units—we probably would have lost in excess of a million dollars' worth of royalty revenue that just didn't come into our coffers.

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

You estimated that was 20% of it, so you're looking at $5 million potentially?

9:55 a.m.

Senior Manager, Licensing, Hockey Canada

Dale Ptycia

We are, if those numbers are indeed accurate, which we are pretty confident they are.

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

In terms of educating the public and making them aware that this is piracy—and, Mr. Tortorice, you mentioned not only the financial loss but also the physical danger to the person and to their computer systems and so on of using that software—what would either of you say are some ways the government could be more proactive in partnering with you in education modules?

9:55 a.m.

Corporate Counsel, Microsoft Canada Inc.

Chris Tortorice

In some countries there's definitely a coordinated effort between government and industry. There could be the same sort of advertising that talked to people about wearing seat belts so long ago, which said “if you don't wear a seat belt, this can happen”.

We've talked a little bit about the threat to health and safety, and I mentioned the safety and security of your personal information, your business data. But there are counterfeit medicines, there are electrical products, there are automobile and airplane parts that threaten Canadians.

If you've ever seen a video of one of those counterfeit electrical cords put under load and bursting into flames in seconds, you would not want that in your house, but you might go to the dollar store or you might go to sort of a medium-sized retailer and buy something because it's cheap. I think you need to be able to get the message out to people that it's not worth the risk.

There was a mention earlier about price, and I would say that once upon a time “if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is” was a great message. We don't see that so much now. We see that the price of the counterfeit product is often the same as the genuine one, and it's very difficult for unsuspecting consumers.

We need to find ways to get messages that hit home to Canadians, and maybe it would be through government and industry together saying “this could happen to you”.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Ptycia, do you want to...?

10 a.m.

Senior Manager, Licensing, Hockey Canada

Dale Ptycia

I would support those comments and say that the collaborative approach to educating Canadians would be a very good first step.

June 7th, 2012 / 10 a.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

I have to confess that this is my first meeting at this committee, so I'm no expert on this, nor will I ever be. But it appeared to me when Mr. Gold and Mr. Tortorice gave their opening statements that there was some fairly significant degree of differing views, if I could say that. As a person who is just beginning to learn this file, I would be interested in having each of you give me a one-minute statement.

Mr. Gold, why do you think we currently meet all our obligations?

And Mr. Tortorice, you think we have further to go in some of these issues.

Maybe I missed some of the nuances of what you were saying, but if I could have a minute from each of you....

Or am I running out of time?

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative David Sweet

You have about 40 seconds.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

There you go.

10 a.m.

Professor, Faculty of Law, McGill University, As an Individual

Richard Gold

We're both lawyers, so we're both right.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

So 40 minutes would be more appropriate?

10 a.m.

Professor, Faculty of Law, McGill University, As an Individual

Richard Gold

Technically, and I think Mr. Tortorice would agree, we do meet all international agreements that we have ratified. I think he was suggesting that Canada has signed but not ratified certain treaties from the World Intellectual Property Organization, which would include TPMs, etc., and he would like us to comply with those even though we have not yet ratified them.

So we meet the current state of intellectual property law, internationally. If we were to ratify those without changes, our laws would not be in compliance. However, there are a lot of different ways one could implement those.

10 a.m.

Corporate Counsel, Microsoft Canada Inc.

Chris Tortorice

There is perhaps a nuance in there that I don't fully appreciate. I would hope that if Canada were going to sign those treaties, it would be prepared to live up to them. I think our trading partners, once we've signed those agreements, look to us to live up to them.

Whether it's implementation or formal ratification or whatever word you want to say, copyright is a perfect example. We're not finished yet. We're close. Everyone is pleased that it has gone as far as it has. We need to get the job done to make sure that Canada's keeping up with those obligations. Once it signs those treaties, I think it's time for Canada to measure up to the international standards that other countries that have signed them are living up to.

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative David Sweet

Thank you very much, Mr. Tortorice and Mr. Albrecht.

Yes, that was well more than 40 seconds each.

Now we go to Mr. Harris for five minutes.

10 a.m.

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Thank you very much.

Thank you to everyone for being here today.

Just to follow up without increasing the chances of some conflict arising, Mr. Gold and Mr. Tortorice, perhaps very quickly—in less than 40 seconds—do you think parliamentarians should have the opportunity to study these new agreements before Canada signs and ratifies them?

10 a.m.

Professor, Faculty of Law, McGill University, As an Individual

Richard Gold

That's a loaded question. I'm trying to find a lawyerly answer to it.

I think any time we enter into international trade agreements that have an impact on Canada, all Canadians, including our representative, should be debating how that is done. I don't know what the best way to do that is. That is your bailiwick. And I take the government at its word that it will be open and transparent about it.

I understand that during negotiation processes there are sometimes restrictions, but I would anticipate we would all have an opportunity to discuss them and look at the implications of them and the perhaps unforeseen implications of certain things at some point.

Hopefully that was a diplomatic enough answer.