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New rules for advertising food and beverages to children

As of June 28, advertisers must submit ads for preclearance by Ad Standards Canada.
children smiling against a yellow background

New restrictions around advertising food and beverage products to children are now in place.

The rules were developed over two years by the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA), Food, Health and Consumer Products Canada (FHCP) and the Canadian Beverage Association (CBA) and Restaurants Canada, alongside government and stakeholders.

Under the Code and Guide for the Responsible Advertising of Food and Beverage Products to Children – first introduced in June 2021 – only food and beverages that meet specified nutrition criteria may be advertised in a manner that is primarily directed to children under the age of 13.

"It is easily one of the strongest, most comprehensive such programs in the world, and stands poised to dramatically reduce the exposure of children to child-directed food and beverage advertising," said Ron Lund, president and CEO of the ACA, in a statement.

As of June 28, 2023, advertisers can submit all food and beverage advertisements that might reasonably be seen as primarily directed to children for review and preclearance by Ad Standards Canada to ensure compliance.

In determining whether an advertisement is primarily directed to children, Ad Standards will consider three criteria: the nature and intended purpose of the food or beverage product advertised; the manner of presenting the advertisement; and the time and place it is shown. 

Ad Standards will enforce the Code and Guide through a complaints-based mechanism applicable to all advertisers.

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