TORONTO – The Competition Bureau has announced that it will launch an official investigation into the marketing practices of the Pathways Alliance, a consortium of the six largest oil sands companies: Canadian Natural Resources Limited, Cenovus Energy, ConocoPhillips Canada, Imperial, Meg Energy, and Suncor Energy. The Bureau states that it will seek to “determine the facts relating to allegations that the Pathways Alliance has contravened the Act by making false or misleading environmental representations.”[1]

In response to the Bureau’s announcement, Greenpeace Canada’s senior researcher and writer, Nola Poirier, said:

“Our request to the Competition Bureau regarding the Pathways Alliance’s misleading ad campaign was accepted and has set off an official inquiry into the dubious advertising practices of the Pathways Alliance. We think the public deserves to be told the truth about the environmental harm caused by fossil fuel production, not fed misleading soundbites by industry.”

The application for inquiry was made in March 2023 by members of Greenpeace Canada, along with representatives from the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) and Environmental Defence, as well as a concerned student from Guelph University. 

“The Pathways ad campaign has been widespread across the country, popping up in high-profile placements such as Super Bowl ads, a billboard at BC Place in Vancouver and fully painted streetcars in Toronto. Pathways claims their ‘net-zero plan is in motion,’ but the Greenpeace complaint to the  Competition outlines how it fails to account for more than 80% of their emissions. Net- zero greenwashing is pervasive and there is a distinct need for accountability in advertising that incorporates the entire lifecycle of fossil fuels from their production to their combustion,” Poirier said.

If the inquiry finds that the Pathways Alliance members have made materially false and misleading representations to the Canadian public, the applicants have requested that they pay a penalty of 3% of their gross worldwide profits, which, for these six companies together amounts to over $8.5 billion (CAD). The complaint requests that the funds be dispersed by the Environmental Damages Fund and used for rehabilitation and clean up of oil sands pollution. 


Notes to editor:

[1] The Bureau’s letter is available here

[2] Press release, “Let’s clear the air”: Greenpeace Canada launches complaint against oil sands alliance for misleading advertising campaign

[3] The full complaint is available here.

For more information, please contact:

Adeoluwa Atayero, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Canada

[email protected]; +1 306 501-1314