Digital advertising and marketing in Canada – Lexology

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Advertising and marketing
Regulation
What rules govern digital advertising and marketing in your jurisdiction?
Canada has general competition laws and specific anti-spam laws that apply to digital advertising.
As for competition law, the federal Competition Act applies to all online representations. Representations may relate to online or offline sales. In addition, if an advertisement originates outside Canada but may influence the Canadian public, the Competition Act may apply.
Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) applies to the use of “commercial electronic messages”, including advertisements. Businesses may not send commercial electronic messages without the explicit consent of the recipient. Commercial electronic messages must also be in a prescribed form, including information such as sender identification and contract details and a no cost, easy unsubscribe mechanism. There are some exceptions to these new rules. For example, existing business relationships may not have to adhere to the stricter requirements outlined above.
Are there any specific regulations governing the use of targeted advertising?
Canada does not have specific regulations on the use of targeted advertising, but privacy laws may apply.
The federal Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) has released a policy position (Policy Position on Online Behavioural Advertising) on how the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) would apply to targeted advertising. For example, under PIPEDA, organisations must receive meaningful consent for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information. According to the OPC, this would include personal information used for targeted advertising.
Restrictions
Are there any restrictions or limitations on goods and services that can be advertised, marketed and sold online?
Goods and services sold online are generally subject to the same restrictions that apply to the same sales for brick-and-mortar establishments. For example, vendors must comply with consumer protection legislation in each province and territory.
Spam messages
What rules and restrictions govern the sending of spam messages?
CASL imposes strict limitations on the use of “commercial electronic messages”. Businesses may not send commercial electronic messages without the explicit consent of the recipient. Commercial electronic messages must also be in a prescribed form, including information such as sender identification and contract details and a no cost, easy unsubscribe mechanism. There are some exceptions to these new rules. For example, existing business relationships may not have to adhere to the stricter requirements outlined above.
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