Unilever allowed to keep its margarine butter-coloured

Date Closed

June 23, 2008

Lead Office


On June 23, 2008,  the Government of Québec  repealed a regulation imposing restrictions on manufacturers of margarine made or sold in Québec.  Specifically, the regulation prohibited them from producing margarine with the same color as butter.  The law was challenged in court by Unilever on jurisdictional grounds.  On March 17, 2005, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a ruling of the Québec Court of Appeal on constitutional and administrative law issues regarding provincial and regulatory provisions respecting the colour of margarine. 

Unilever is a British-Dutch multinational consumer goods company co-headquartered in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and London, United Kingdom. Its products include food, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products, including margarine.

McCarthy Tétrault represented Unilever with a team that was led by Gerald Tremblay.