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The Code

Updated Canadian Code of Advertising Standards and Interpretation Guidelines

Following consultation with ASC members and the public, ASC’s Board of Directors recently approved a number of amendments to the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards (Code), our principal instrument of advertising self-regulation. The amendments went into effect on October 3, 2016.

The changes include:

  • Clarifying language for Clauses 1(a),(b), (c) (e) (Accuracy and Clarity), Clause 2 (Disguised Advertising Techniques), and Clause 7 (Testimonials);
  • Addition of four new definitions: "advertiser", "entity", "material connection", and "teaser advertisement";
  • Addition of a new exclusion to the definition of "advertisement";
  • Addition of protected classes in Clause 14(a) (Unacceptable Depictions and Portrayals);
  • Inclusion of a provision to allow ASC to advise the Competition Bureau or other appropriate regulatory body of an advertiser’s failure to comply with a decision of the Standards Council;
  • Addition of an Interpretation Guideline to Clause 7 (Testimonials) to require disclosure in reviews, blogs and vlogs of any material connection between the endorser and the entity providing the product.

The Code and the Interpretation Guidelines are available at:

Invitation for Stakeholder Comments on Draft 2016 Consumer Advertising Guidelines for Marketed Health Products

In consultation with Health Canada, ASC is updating the 2006 Consumer Advertising Guidelines for Marketed Health Products (Guidelines). The Guidelines were designed to provide guidance to advertisers to develop compliant consumer-directed advertising of non-prescription drugs and natural health products. At Health Canada's request, the scope of the Guidelines is being expanded to encompass guidance for consumer-directed advertising of vaccines and medical devices. A draft of the 2016 Guidelines can be accessed here. If you would like to provide comments, please use the stakeholder feedback form here and send it to guidelines@adstandards.com by November 22, 2016. Please note that the identity of commenters will not be disclosed.

CAI cover

ASC Releases 2015 CAI Compliance Report

In September, ASC released the Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative: 2015 Compliance Report. The Report confirmed the continuing high level of compliance by the companies participating (Participants) in the Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CAI) in meeting their program commitments from January 1 – December 31, 2015. The CAI is a living program that has evolved significantly since its inception in 2007. Most recently, the Participants adopted category-specific uniform nutrition criteria to replace individual company specific nutrition criteria that had previously been used. These stronger nutrition criteria came into effect on December 31, 2015, and the Participants worked diligently during the year to reformulate products to meet the new criteria and challenging deadline.

Infopresse Conference: Youtubers and Web Influencers

In recent years, online content creators have become an important part of communications between brands and consumers. On September 21, Infopresse presented a conference devoted to exploring and understanding the role of online influencers in marketing communications. Danielle Lefrançois, ASC’s Communications Manager, was invited to participate in a panel discussion about the challenges of operating in the online landscape. Ms. Lefrançois highlighted the implementation of new ASC guidelines in October 2016 that require bloggers and online influencers in Canada to fully disclose paid endorsements. The panel consensus was that the credibility of both the advertiser and the influencer is compromised if paid endorsements are not disclosed. Other panel participants were: Julie Buchinger, Infopresse; Caroline Fleury, Tremblant; François Haguel, Google; and Micho Marquis-Rose, Slingshot.

Children’s Clearance Committee – Holiday Schedule

In order to accommodate your clearance needs during the busy holiday period, ASC’s Children’s Clearance Committee has scheduled Special Holiday Meetings from September 12 to November 21. Please see the extended schedule.

Welcome to New ASC Members and Official Representatives

comScore Canada Inc.

Official Representative: Brent Bernie, General Manager

Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, USA, comScore, Inc. is a cross-platform measurement company that precisely measures audiences, brands and consumer behavior everywhere. They have over 1,800 employees spread throughout 30+ countries. Their data footprint combines proprietary digital, TV and movie intelligence with demographic details to quantify consumers’ multiscreen behavior at massive scale. comScore operates a Canadian office of 50+ employees out of Toronto and has operated in Canada since 2002 supporting over 200 different clients in the advertising and media fields.

DHX Media Ltd.

Official Representative: Holly Chapman, Vice President, Media Sales - DHX Television

DHX Television is comprised of Family Channel, Family CHRGD, Family Jr. and Télémagino, and is part of DHX Media Ltd., a Canadian independent, pure-play children’s content company with global offices. Dedicated to celebrating family fun, DHX Television is recognized for several well-known series including The Next Step, Degrassi: Next Class and Teletubbies. DHX Media Ltd. has offices globally, and is traded on the NASDAQ and Toronto Stock Exchange.

Edelman Canada

Official Representative: Andrew Simon, CCO

With offices in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, and Ottawa, Edelman Canada is a full-service, independent communications marketing firm with specialized areas of expertise including creative and content, corporate, digital, insights and analytics, crisis and risk, earned and paid media, and public affairs.

The Children’s Place (Canada) LP

Official Representative: Ellen Cho, Vice President, Assistant General Counsel

The Children’s Place is a pure-play children’s specialty apparel retailer. The Company designs, contracts to manufacture, sells and licenses to sell fashionable, high-quality merchandise at value prices. As of July 30, 2016, they currently operate 1,064 stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, an online store, and had 123 international points of distribution open and operated by its 6 franchise partners in 16 countries.

Welcome New Official Representatives of ASC Members

An ASC Official Representative (OR) is the person designated by an ASC member company as its principal liaison to ASC. The following ASC member companies have identified a new OR:

  • Mike Ponter, Senior Marketing Director, Canada Bread Company
  • Chrisoula Nikidis, Executive Director, Ethics and Compliance, Innovative Medicines Canada
  • Gregory Reeder, General Manager, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, a division of Pfizer Canada Inc.
  • Kara Weatherall, Marketing Portfolio Manager, Franchise Business, Pizza Hut Canada Company
  • Kelly McInenly, VP Marketing, Revlon Canada Inc.
  • Scott Pedersen, Director of Marketing, Sleeman Breweries Ltd.
  • Douglas Milne, Vice President, Marketing Communications, TD Bank Group
  • Laura Amantea, Marketing Director, Wrigley Canada

New CAI Member – Maple Leaf Foods Inc.

ASC is pleased to welcome the newest member of the Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CAI) – Maple Leaf Foods. Maple Leaf Foods is Canada’s leading consumer packaged meats company, headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. Its brands include Maple Leaf®, Maple Leaf Prime®, Maple Leaf Natural Selections®, Schneiders®, Schneiders Country Naturals® and Mina™.

The CAI is a voluntary initiative by leading Canadian food and beverage companies to shift their advertising directed to children under 12 years of age to the promotion of healthier dietary choices, or to not advertise to children.

To read Maple Leaf Foods’ Commitment and for additional information about the program, visit adstandards.com/childrensinitiative.

Did You Know?

There are a number of resources available for members. You can:

  • Take advantage of our ASC members-only discount and attend ASC events.
  • Keep abreast of emerging industry and consumer issues pertaining to self-regulation, the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, as well as developments in advertising clearance.
  • Use ASC’s extensive online library as a one-stop repository of information regarding advertising industry self-regulation. In addition to Ad Complaints Reports and the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards and related documents, you will find ASC consumer research, current guidelines and important information pertaining to advertising clearance.

If you have questions or want more information about membership resources and tools, contact Randy Sageman, Member Relations, at randy.sageman@adstandards.com or
416 961-6311 x 241.

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Mark Your Calendars

November 15 – Introduction to the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards and Consumer Complaints Procedure
Presented in French

8:45 to 10:00 a.m
ASC – Montreal Office
2015 Peel St., Suite 915
Montreal, QC, H3A 1T8
Click here for more information
and to register.

Ad Standards is Canada’s national, independent, not-for-profit advertising self-regulatory body. We are committed to fostering community confidence in advertising and to ensuring the integrity and viability of advertising through responsible industry self-regulation. Ad Standards administers the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, the principal instrument of advertising self-regulation in Canada, and a national mechanism for accepting and responding to consumers’ complaints about advertising. Ad Standards Clearance Services reviews creative and offers consultative services in five categories, to help ensure advertising complies with relevant regulations.