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Marketers approach advertising to children with the highest regard, standards and accountability. Canada is already heralded around the world as having one of the most comprehensive systems of codes and standards for responsible advertising to children. ACA is a strong supporter of the self-regulatory system in this country, but can do better.
The system has two key components:
1) Broadcast Code For Advertising to Children
2) Canadian Code of Advertising Standards
It is important to note that the province of Quebec has separate legislation regarding advertising to children under the Consumer Protection Act. It prohibits commercial advertising that targets children under the age of thirteen.
Download the guide for this Act.
In 2016 Senator Nancy Greene Raine introduced the Child Health Protection Act (Bill S-228) a bill that intended to further restrict advertising of foods and beverages to children, but also would have resulted in restricting food and beverage advertising directed to adults. Additionally, it demonized many food products by trying to characterize them as “unhealthy.” In 2019 after almost three years of lobbying by the ACA and other industry stakeholders, the bill failed to pass. Read the case study for more details.
We share the government’s objective to fight childhood obesity in Canada. While Bill S-228 did not pass, the ACA along with the Canadian Beverage Association (CBA), Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada (FHCP) and Restaurants Canada have worked tirelessly on a Code and Guide that supports the government in achieving meaningful results without any unintended negative consequences.
The Code for the Responsible Advertising of Food and Beverage Products to Children (“Food and Beverage Advertising Code”) will be administered by Advertising Standards Canada, which will implement preclearance services under this Code and a compliance and complaint reporting mechanism. The new Code and Guide will govern all food and beverage advertising across Canada on any media. It meets or exceeds the latest Health Canada recommendations published in December 2018.
Advertisers will be expected to comply with the guidelines by summer 2023.
The Code for the Responsible Advertising of Food and Beverage Products to Children
The Guide for the Responsible Advertising of Food and Beverage Products to Children
The Role of Ad Standards as administrator of the Code
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(June 28, 2021) Advertising to Kids: A New National Code and Guide for Advertisers
(February 20, 2020) Marketing To Children Targeted in WHO Child Health Report
(June 28, 2021) Advertising Industry Commits to New Food and Beverage Code and Guide to Deliver on Government’s Objectives on Advertising to Children
(July 9, 2021) iPolitics: The Sprout: Food, beverage industry restricting junk-food advertising
(July 9, 2021) strategy: Food and beverage associations adopt code for advertising to kids
(June 4, 2019) Globe and Mail: Senators working to block bill that restricts food and drink ads aimed at children