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Contest Void in Quebec

Amazon is very explicit.  Within the first paragraph of the AWS Start-Up Challenge Official Rules 2011, you can read this line: "The Contest and these Official Rules are void in Quebec and where prohibited by law, and are subject to applicable laws."

Another example, BlackBerry.  In the Eligibility paragraph of the 2011 BlackBerry Developer Challenge Official Contest Rules, it is stated: "North America - Canada (excluding Quebec)".

I can go on with similar examples.

Why all this rejection?  Well it’s pretty simple.  The Quebec government has its own set of rules for contests happening in the province.  This could be a good thing if it was done right, however, it’s not.

In fact, the level of bureaucracy is so high that most international companies will just give up on the Quebecers market.  And given a company that really wants to complete all the paperwork, they will probably give up when reading the complete rules to activate their contest:


58. A person for whom a publicity contest is carried on in which the total value of the prizes offered exceeds $100 must pay to the Régie, at the same time as he sends the form provided for in section 59, the following duties:

(a) 10% of the value of a prize offered to contestants from Québec exclusively;

(b) 3% of the value of a prize offered to a group of contestants from Canada exclusively, when that group includes contestants from Québec;

(c) 0.5% of the value of a prize offered to any other group of contestants including contestants from Québec.

For a $100,000 contest value, the company that is doing an international contest still needs to pay a $500 dollar fee to the Quebec Government, even though the winner might not even live in Quebec.  That’s enough to just give up.

My point is that, the Quebec government wants to promote the growth of technology in the province.  Every year, they pour in millions of dollars to help startups with different programs.  But what’s the point if they give from one hand, and take from the other?

International contests like Amazon or Blackberry are at the heart of any new startup in the world.  By blocking such contest from entering Quebec, the government not only blocks potential new businesses from being created with someone else’s money, but they are also sending a message to the international market: "Don’t lose your time/money in Quebec".

There is no way that Quebec, or Montreal as of this matter, will ever become an international startup hub with this thinking.  Entrepreneurship is not something that you create by giving away discount on people’s salary. Personally, I have never seen an entrepreneur starting his business because he said "hey, I’m starting my company because I can now save 40% on my R&D salaries".  In fact, a startup can’t afford all the paperwork required to get those tax credits.  If the government really wants to help entrepreneurs start building the next new hot startups, it needs to remove any gate blocking the creative content, starting with world-wide developer contests like Amazon and Blackberry.

It’s time that we get in par with the rest of the World.  Quebec can’t be excluded anymore with all this globalization.  Last time I participated in a contest, I was the only Canadian and was competing against companies from USA, Brazil and India. 

We’re losing ground in Quebec, let’s stop that now.  Can someone wake up an official at Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux?