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Advertising Standards Canada releases 2009 Compliance Report on Canadian Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative

(Toronto – August 26, 2010) Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) today released its second annual Compliance Report on the Canadian Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CAI), covering 2009.

The 2009 Report confirms continuing compliance by companies participating in the CAI in meeting their program commitments. It also documents:

  • Changes to the children's advertising landscape since 2004;
  • Actions taken to enhance and expand the scope of the program;
  • Reformulation of products to increase their nutritional value.

"Building upon the success of the first year of the program, participating companies achieved excellent compliance results in 2009," stated Linda J Nagel, President and CEO of ASC. "This clearly demonstrates their continuing commitment to this important initiative."

The Canadian Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CAI)

Program Background

The CAI was launched by Canada's food and beverage industry in April 2007. It was developed to shift the landscape of advertising primarily directed to children under 12 years of age to the promotion of better-for-you products. The CAI complements the existing rigorous Canadian framework for regulating advertising to children. This is the second annual Report by ASC, the CAI administrator, on the progress made last year by the companies participating in the CAI in meeting their program commitments.

The program began with 16 participating companies and has grown to 19. Under the CAI, these leading Canadian food and beverage advertisers have committed to either not direct advertising primarily to children under the age of 12, or to shift their advertising to products that are consistent with the principles of sound nutrition guidance.

The 2009 Report evaluates compliance with their commitments by the following 18 companies: Burger King Restaurants of Canada, Inc.; Cadbury Adams Canada Inc.; Campbell Company of Canada; Coca-Cola Ltd.; Ferrero Canada Ltd.; General Mills Canada Corporation; Hershey Canada Inc.; Janes Family Foods Ltd.; Kellogg Canada Inc.; Kraft Canada Inc.; Mars Canada Inc.; McCain Foods (Canada); McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited; Nestlé Canada Inc.; Parmalat Canada; PepsiCo Canada ULC; Unilever Canada Inc. and Weston Bakeries Limited. (Post Foods Canada Corp., which joined the CAI in late 2009, was not reviewed for this Report.)

Program Enhancements

To ensure program flexibility and responsiveness, the CAI core principles were enhanced in 2010. These changes:

  • Doubled the original participant commitment from 50% to 100% so that all participants' advertising directed primarily to children under 12 must be for better-for-you products; and
  • Expanded the coverage of the CAI to additional media:
    • Video and computer games rated "Early Childhood" or "EC" that are inherently primarily directed to children under 12, and other games that are age-graded on the label and packaging as being primarily directed to children under 12;
    • DVDs of "G" rated movies in which content is primarily directed to children under 12, and other DVDs in which content is primarily directed to children under 12; and
    • Mobile media such as cell phones, PDA's and through word of mouth where advertising on those media is primarily directed to children under 12.

CAI Compliance

Transparency and public accountability are key components of the CAI. As program administrator, ASC provides independent oversight to the CAI by:

  • approving and publishing the participants' commitments;
  • auditing participants' compliance;
  • and issuing annual compliance reports

ASC evaluates participants' compliance through audit activities, monitoring, and stringent reporting requirements. Company websites, third-party websites, children's television programming and children's magazines are periodically monitored for compliance.

Advertising Standards Canada

Founded in 1957, ASC is the national independent advertising industry self-regulatory body committed to creating and maintaining community confidence in advertising. ASC members – leading advertisers, advertising agencies, media and suppliers to the advertising industry – are committed to supporting responsible and effective advertising self-regulation. A not-for-profit organization, ASC administers the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, the principal instrument of advertising self-regulation in Canada, and a national mechanism for accepting and responding to consumers' complaints about advertising. Complaints are adjudicated by independent volunteer councils, comprising senior industry and public representatives. ASC reports to the community on upheld complaints through its online Ad Complaints Reports. Through ASC Clearance Services, ASC provides advertising copy review in five regulated categories to ensure compliance with specific laws, regulations, codes and guidelines.

The 2009 CAI Compliance Report and information about the CAI are available at:

For more information:
David Rodier
NATIONAL Public Relations
Tel: 613-233-1699 extension 243