Code for the Responsible Advertising of Food and Beverage Products to Children
The Code for the Responsible Advertising of Food and Beverage Products to Children (“Code for Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising” or CCFBA) sets rules for advertisers of food and beverage products, requiring a responsible approach to child audiences. Specifically, the CCFBA starts with a prohibition: unless the food or beverage product in question meets specific nutrition criteria, the advertising may not be primarily directed to children. A companion document—the Guide for the Responsible Advertising of Food and Beverage Products to Children—helps advertisers understand its intended scope and application, and informs Ad Standards in its interpretation of the CCFBA.
The Code for Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising and its companion Guide were developed as a collaborative effort by the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA), the Canadian Beverage Association (CBA), Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada (FHCP) and Restaurants Canada. The Code and Guide debuted in 2021, instituting a transition period for industry to comply. Ad Standards will begin administration of the CCFBA later in 2023.
The CCFBA recognizes that children are a special audience, and that advertisers must be sensitive to messaging about food, food choices and consumption. Under this new national standard, only food that meet specified nutrition criteria may be advertised in a manner that is primarily directed to children under the age of 13. In determining whether an advertisement is primarily directed to children, Ad Standards will consider three criteria: (a) the nature and intended purpose of the food or beverage product advertised; (b) the manner of presenting the advertisement; and (c) the time and place it is shown. These criteria will be familiar to advertisers who already follow the prohibition against advertising to children established under Quebec’s consumer protection legislation.
Ad Standards will administer the CCFBA later in 2023 in two ways: proactively, through offering preclearance services, and responsively through complaint responses and compliance reporting. For a more detailed description, visit the Administration of the Code for Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising page.