Children’s Clearance Committee Organization and Procedure

Ad Standards publishes and administers The Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children (“Children’s Code”). The Children’s Code was developed to guide advertisers and advertising agencies to prepare commercial messages that recognize and respect the special characteristics of children as an audience. Canadian broadcasters have agreed to adhere to the Children’s Code as a condition of licensure by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

Ad Standards’ Children’s Clearance Committee (“Committee”) is charged with the important responsibility of reviewing and approving children’s broadcast advertising messages to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Children’s Code. All children’s commercials, except those which are purely local, must be approved by the Committee and carry a valid Ad Standards Children’s Clearance Number prior to broadcast.[1]

Read about how to submit a commercial for review and the associated fees.


The Committee reviews and approves finished children’s commercials based on the provisions of the Children’s Code.


2.1. Committee structure: The Committee shall be comprised of individuals including the chairperson, public representatives, industry representatives, and/or a representative from the CRTC.  Each submission to the Committee shall be voted upon by up to nine (9) members of the committee including:

  • Chairperson: The Chairperson, who presides at meetings of the Committee, will be a senior staff member appointed by the President & Chief Executive Officer of Ad Standards.
  • Public Representatives: The Chairperson shall appoint public representatives to the Committee. The term of office for each public representative shall be two years, renewable for successive terms of two years. Public representatives receive a small honorarium.
  • Industry/CRTC Representatives: The Chairperson shall appoint to the Committee representatives of private broadcasters; the CBC; advertiser associations; advertising agency associations, and the CRTC. These representatives are not subject to term limits.

2.2 Quorum
A quorum shall consist of four members, at least one of whom shall be a public representative. In the absence of a public representative, the CBC representative may serve in this role. In order to ensure balanced representation, any member who is unable to participate may be represented by an alternate approved by the Chairperson.

2.3 Confidentiality
All Committee members shall sign and be bound by Ad Standards’ Children’s Clearance Committee Confidentiality Agreement.


3.1 Submissions and Meetings
The Committee reviews produced broadcast commercials and their accompanying “as recorded” scripts. Committee meetings are scheduled every other week, except from September through November, when meetings are typically held weekly. View  the Children's Advertising Clearance Committee Submission Deadlines. Submissions must be made to Ad Standards by noon of the last working day preceding a Committee meeting. An expedited service is also available for submitters unable to meet this deadline.

3.2 Review
The Committee will review and carefully consider each submission. Committee decisions regarding a commercial’s acceptability will be reached by a simple majority of members who review the commercial. In the event of a tie, the Chairperson will identify a committee member (who, for any reason, was originally unable to review and vote on the submission) to review the submission and cast a deciding vote. If no such additional reviewer is available on short notice, the Chairperson shall cast a second and deciding vote.

Ad Standards will, if possible, notify the submitter of the Committee’s decision by the end of the business day on which the meeting and voting took place, but in any event not later than within two business days of submission. Approved commercials will be assigned an Ad Standards Children’s Clearance Number, which is valid for one year from date of issue. When the Committee does not approve a commercial, notice to the submitter will make specific reference to the Children’s Code clause or clauses the commercial was deemed to contravene.

3.3 Conflict of Interest
Any Committee member must declare if s/he has a conflict of interest before any screening or discussion of a commercial. S/he will be asked to leave the meeting for the duration of the discussion of that submission.

An example of a conflict would include an advertising agency representative working in an agency that has an account related to, or in competition with, the advertiser submitting a commercial for review.


An appeal process is available to any advertiser whose commercial is determined by the Committee to contravene the Children’s Code. An advertiser should direct their appeal in writing to Ad Standards’ Chief Legal Officer, with a copy to the Committee Chairperson. View the appeal procedure.


[1] Procedure in effect across Canada, with the exception of Quebec, whose authority to prohibit broadcast advertising to children has been affirmed. Clearance numbers are not required for commercial messages broadcast in Quebec. Therefore, the following procedure applies to the rest of Canada only.


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