The purpose of the Children’s Code is to guide advertisers and agencies in preparing commercial messages that adequately recognize the special characteristics of the children’s audience.
(a) Children’s Advertising – “Children’s Advertising” refers to any paid commercial message that is carried in or immediately adjacent to a children’s program. Children’s advertising also includes any commercial message that is determined by the broadcaster as being directed to children and is carried in or immediately adjacent to any other program.
(b) Children – “Children” refers to persons under 12 years of age.
Canada has one of the strongest frameworks in the world for regulating advertising directed to children under 12 years of age. Canada’s system starts with preclearance of food commercials under the provisions of the Food and Drugs Act and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Food Labelling for Industry (CFIA Industry Labelling Tool).
Additionally, children’s food and beverage commercials are subject to the requirements of The Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children. Adherence to this broadcast code, including preclearance of each children’s commercial by a committee that includes industry and parent representatives, is a condition of broadcast license by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. Canada’s self-regulatory system also includes a rigorous system for responding to consumer complaints about advertisements under the provisions of Canadian Code of Advertising Standards (Code), which covers all media. The Code and its Interpretation Guidelines include special provisions regarding advertising to children.
Advertising that is directed to children must not exploit their credulity, lack of experience or their sense of loyalty, and must not present information or illustrations that might result in their physical, emotional or moral harm.
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In Quebec, commercial advertising aimed at persons younger than 13 is prohibited by the Quebecor Consumer Protection Act. See the Office de la protection du consommateur.
Quebec Consumer Protection Act: http://legisquebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/showdoc/cs/p-40.1
Date of COMMB update: August 2021