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Advertising Dispute Procedure - Introduction

March 2012

Since 1976, Advertising Standards Canada (formerly, Canadian Advertising Foundation) and its predecessor, the Canadian Advertising Advisory Board, have been involved, at the request of the industry, in a procedure designed to resolve disputes between Advertisers. This work continues in the belief that self-regulation is preferable to government intervention, and has generally proved to be swifter, less costly, and attracts less attendant public notoriety than settlements of disputes between advertisers within the judicial system.

Disputes between Advertisers are matters of serious concern to the parties involved. To the extent that such disputes may represent violations of existing self-regulatory provisions, they are also of serious concern to professional advertising practitioners. Advertising Standards Canada maintains and administers the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards (Code), upon which this Advertising Dispute Procedure (Procedure) is founded. The Procedurewas formerly called the Trade Dispute Procedure, The Procedure has undergone periodic review and revision to ensure the fairness and effectiveness of its application in an increasingly more competitive marketing environment. The Procedure deals with voluntary standards and guidelines, not issues of law. It is based on the principle that self-regulation is both possible and desirable as a mature and responsible alternative to legislation imposed by governments.

Self-regulation is only effective when the parties in the advertising process exhibit spirited co-operation and compliance with the provisions in place, designed for the good of the industry at large. The Advertising Dispute Procedure must therefore be equitable to the parties involved. It must be seen, to be, and to be in fact, an appropriate application of an effective self-regulatory procedure for the advertising process which is subject to strict rules, consistently and uniformly applied.