Alcoholic Beverage Appeal Procedure

1.1 An appeal procedure is available to any advertiser whose commercial submission(s) has/have been rejected, in whole or in part, by the Ad Standards Clearance Services Alcoholic Beverage Clearance Section (Alcoholic Beverage Clearance Section).

1.2 Advertisers must lodge their appeal in writing, without unreasonable delay, after receiving notification of the Alcoholic Beverage Clearance Section’s decision.

1.3 The written appeal must be directed to the Vice President, Standards, with a copy to the Vice President, Ad Standards Clearance Services.


2.1 Requests for appeal will be accepted if, in the opinion of Standards Division, in relation to the submission(s) in question and the circumstances of the case:

a. it appears that the Advertiser has extended reasonable efforts to negotiate approval of the rejected submission(s); and

b. it would be possible for an appeal panel, acting not unreasonably, to determine that the submission(s): does (do) not, as concluded by the Alcoholic Beverage Clearance Section, contravene the provisions of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission‘s (CRTC) Code for Broadcast Advertising of Alcoholic Beverages and/or the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s (AGCO) Liquor Advertising Guidelines.

2.2 Standards Division will, within two business days, make its determination under paragraph 2.1 above, and notify the Advertiser and the Alcoholic Beverage Clearance Section simultaneously whether the requested appeal will, or will not, be granted. A courtesy copy of this notice will be sent to the CRTC and/or the AGCO if the advertiser’s request for appeal is granted.


3.1 An appeal will ordinarily be heard within five business days from the time notice is received by the Advertiser from Standards Division that the appeal has been granted.

3.2 Advertisers or the Alcoholic Beverage Clearance Section may, at any time prior to the commencement of the hearing by the appeal panel, request from Standards Division a reasonable extension of time in which an appeal will be heard.


4.1 Standards Division, having notified the parties that the appeal will be granted, will assemble a three member panel (including a chairperson designated by Standards Division) of persons having no conflict of interest in the matter who will hear and consider the matter.


a. Each appeal panel will be composed of three persons drawn from a resource pool of persons representing: Advertisers, Advertising Agencies, or Broadcasters (two representatives); and the general public (one representative).

b. If, in any particular case, it is not possible to convene an appeal panel of that constituency because of the unavailability of candidate panellists, Standards Division shall be entitled to make substitutions.

c. The Advertiser and the Alcoholic Beverage Clearance Section, in each case, will be given written advance notice in a timely manner of the identity of the appeal panellists who will be considering the appeal.

d. Either the Advertiser or the Alcoholic Beverage Clearance Section may object to the inclusion of an individual panellist if the objecting party has a reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of such panellist. Such objection must be given in writing to, and received by, Standards Division within two business days of the panellists’ identities having been given to the objecting party.

4.3 Each person drawn for service as an appeal panellist will be requested to attest that he or she has no conflict of interest in hearing the appeal, and to agree to keep confidential all aspects of, and materials submitted for, the appeal.

4.4 The CRTC and/or the AGCO may, on its/their own initiative, designate its/their respective spokesperson(s) to attend and to participate in the appeal proceedings; or one or both such bodies may be asked by any party to the appeal, including the chairperson, to attend the appeal hearing in order to provide its/their expertise which may be pertinent to the hearing and resolution of the appeal.

4.5 The appeal panel will convene to hear the appeal at the Ad Standards facilities at the earliest possible time that is convenient to all parties, including the appeal panellists. At the discretion of Standards Division, participation by telephone conference call, of one or more of the involved parties, the CRTC and/or the AGCO, and/or appeal panellists, may be permissible.

4.6 At least one business day in advance of the appeal hearing, Standards Division must receive and, without delay, will re-direct to the other party (or parties), and to the appeal panellists, the written statement of particulars of the case that each of the Advertiser and the Alcoholic Beverage Clearance Section will submit to the appeal panellists at the hearing.


5.1 The only materials that may be appealed from and reviewed by the appeal panel are those rejected copy submission(s) identified with a Alcoholic Beverage identification number, audio or video material containing rejected copy, and those written materials (such as, but not limited to, correspondence and memos between the parties relating to the rejected submissions(s) attached to the Advertiser’s request for an appeal.


6.1 Each panel hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the following procedure:

a. Each party to the appeal will be present at the same time during the hearing.

b. A Standards Division representative also will be present during and throughout the hearing until a decision is rendered by the appeal panel. The function of this Standards Division representative is to advise the appeal panel, objectively, on the Appeal Procedure and precedent, but not to participate in the subjective decision-making by the appeal panel. The Standards Division representative will also function as a recording secretary of the appeal panel’s deliberations.

c. The Alcoholic Beverage Clearance Section representative(s) will make the first uninterrupted submission, detailing the reasons for rejecting the submissions(s) in question. This will be followed by the inquiries of the appeal panellists and those of the Advertiser.

d. Each spokesperson for the CRTC and/or the AGCO (see paragraph 4.4 above), if present, and requesting to be heard [or having been asked to make a submission] will make the next uninterrupted submission, followed by the inquiries of the appeal panellists, those of the Alcoholic Beverage Clearance Section and the advertiser.

e. The third uninterrupted submission will be made by the Advertiser, followed by the inquiries of the appeal panellists and those of the Alcoholic Beverage Clearance Section.

f. Each party in the same order of appearance will then be entitled to make a brief, summary, closing statement.

g. The Alcoholic Beverage Clearance Section and Advertiser representatives (and, if applicable, the spokespersons for the CRTC and/or the AGCO), will be asked to retire from the appeal proceedings when the appeal panel is satisfied it has sufficient information to conclude its deliberations which will then be conducted in private. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the appeal panel may recall any one or more of the participants in the proceeding and request clarification of or elaboration on matters raised during the proceeding. In this paragraph 6.1 (f), the term “participants” includes the persons referred to under sub-paragraphs (c) and (d) of this paragraph 6.1.

h. Decisions of the appeal panel will be by majority vote.

i. All decisions shall be final and binding upon the parties and will not be subject to appeal.

j. Written notice and the rationale for decisions of the appeal panel shall be provided simultaneously to all parties in the proceeding within two (2) business days from the conclusion of the hearing.

6.2 Confidentiality: The fact that an appeal has been filed; or the fact that an appeal is to be (or was) heard; or any details about the outcome of an appeal hearing are all to be kept confidential by, and among, the Advertiser appellant, the appeal panel members, the other parties to the proceedings pursuant to paragraph 4.4 and the Alcoholic Beverage Clearance Section. All inquiries by third parties about any alcoholic beverage commercial that was, in fact, approved by the appeal panel members, must be re-directed, without comment, to the Alcoholic Beverage Clearance Section, which may acknowledge only that the commercial was the subject of, and approved, on appeal.

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