ASC Logo
ASC Logo
PSA banner
Skip Navigation LinksHome > Advertiser Disputes > Advertising Dispute Procedure > The Procedure
eClearance login icon eClearance Login

Advertising Dispute Procedure - The Procedure

5.1 Lodging a Complaint
All Complaints must be submitted to the Vice President, Standards, ASC in written form, signed, or authorized in writing, by a senior executive officer in Canada (or an authorized legal representative) of the complainant Advertiser. The Complaint must detail the basis of the allegation and specify the provision(s) of the Code which the Advertising allegedly violates; and must be accompanied by the applicable Fee.

5.2 Initial Assessment by ASC of Complaint
Within five (5) working days of receiving the complaint, ASC will notify the complainant Advertiser whether or not ASC agrees an infraction of the Code may have occurred. If it appears to ASC that an infraction of the Code may have occurred, and that the Complaint is not excluded from this Procedure under Paragraph 3 above, ASC will, without delay, send written notice of the Complaint to the defendant Advertiser. ASC will include a true copy of the Complaint in its notice to the defendant Advertiser. ASC may require receipt, within the same five (5) working days, of additional information from either or both parties to the advertising dispute in order to complete the assessment to ASC’s satisfaction.

5.3 First Stage Resolution
Having made a preliminary determination that an infraction of the Code may have occurred, ASC will, in writing, notify each of the involved parties of its preliminary determination and convene (and may adjourn and reconvene) one or more meetings among representatives of ASC, the defendant Advertiser and the complainant for the purpose of reaching a resolution of the Complaint that is mutually acceptable to the defendant Advertiser and the complainant.

In its notification to the involved parties, ASC will state that if for any reason, including without limitation the failure of the defendant Advertiser to attend at or participate in the mandatory resolution meeting, a resolution of the Complaint has not been reached within five working days of ASC’s request that the parties meet in an attempt to reach a resolution of the Complaint, a hearing before an Advertising Dispute Panel will take place subject to the availability of the Advertising Dispute Panellists and ASC.

Acting upon the complainant Advertiser’s consent or request, the five working days may be extended one or more times by some other number of days acceptable to the complainant Advertiser.

5.4 Notice of Hearing; Delays and Adjournments
Each party to an advertising dispute will be given at least fifteen (15) working days’ notice in writing of a scheduled Advertising Dispute Panel Hearing. Acceding to requests by either party for a delay or adjournment of such Hearing will be at the sole discretion of ASC prior to the appointment of the Chairperson of the Advertising Dispute Panel, and, thereafter, at the Chairperson’s discretion. No such request for delay by a defendant Advertiser may be accepted unless the defendant Advertiser undertakes and agrees to withdraw the Advertising at issue until the Advertising Dispute Panel and, if applicable, the Appeal Panel, has rendered its decision.

5.5 Composition of Panels
In the event of the unavailability of candidate Panellists, ASC shall be entitled to make substitutions, subject to the provisions of Paragraph 6.1 below respecting each party’s right to object based on a reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of the proposed Panellist.

5.6 The Conduct of the Advertising Dispute Panel Hearing
Each party to the dispute will be present at the same time during the Hearing. The complainant Advertiser will make the first uninterrupted submission, not to exceed 45 minutes, followed by the enquiries of the Advertising Dispute Panel members and those of the defendant Advertiser. The defendant Advertiser will make the second equally time-limited, uninterrupted submission, followed by the enquiries of the Advertising Dispute Panel and those of the complainant Advertiser.

Each party, in the same order of appearance, will then be entitled to make a brief, closing, summary statement. Both parties to the advertising dispute will be asked to retire from the proceedings when the Advertising Dispute Panel is satisfied that it has sufficient information to conclude its deliberations. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Advertising Dispute Panel may recall any one or more of the participants in the proceedings (including, without limitation, their advisers and any independent experts) and request clarification of or elaboration on matters raised during the proceedings.

The Proceedings and the outcome of an Advertising Dispute Hearing will not be invalidated because ASC, on its own initiative, has modified the Procedure governing the conduct of that Hearing for reasons of efficiency and practicality after becoming satisfied that such modification is not inimical to the rights of the parties under the Procedure.

Decisions of Advertising Dispute Panels will be by majority vote.

5.7 Notice of Advertising Dispute Panel Decision
Written notice of an Advertising Dispute Panel’s decision and the reasons for the decision will be simultaneously sent to both parties to the dispute within five working days of the conclusion of the hearing.

5.8 Enforcement of Advertising Dispute Panel Decision
In sustaining a Complaint, the Advertising Dispute Panel may require the defendant Advertiser to withdraw the Advertising in question or amend the Advertising in such manner as to not offend against the provisions of the Code. The defendant Advertiser will be requested to confirm in writing receipt of the Advertising Dispute Panel’s decision (or, where applicable, the decision of the Appeal Panel), and required to declare in writing to ASC within four (4) working days of receiving such decision that the defendant Advertiser will:

(a) comply with the decision either by withdrawing the advertising in question or amending it as proposed in the decision; or

(b) appeal the decision, in the case of an Advertising Dispute Panel decision.

5.9 Requesting Leave to Appeal an Advertising Dispute Panel Decision
Either party to a dispute under the Procedure may request leave to appeal an Advertising Dispute Panel’s decision on the basis that the Advertising Dispute Panel erred in its interpretation of evidence submitted or of the provisions of the Code.

A request for an appeal by either party must be received in writing by the Vice President, Standards, ASC within four (4) working days of the party’s receipt of the Advertising Dispute Panel decision; and must be accompanied by the applicable Request for Appeal Fee.

A defendant Advertiser may request an appeal only if that Advertiser has undertaken in writing to withdraw the Advertising in question, in accordance with the provisions set forth in Paragraph 6.9 below.

5.10 Review of Appeal
Upon receipt of a request for leave to appeal, ASC will draw a panel of three persons to consider the request, other than persons who served on the Advertising Dispute Panel. The three-member Review Panel will be composed of two representatives from the Industry Sector and one Public representative, who have no conflict of interest in the Complaint.

The Review Panel will consider whether or not there appears to have been an error in the interpretation of evidence or the provisions of the Code. For this purpose, a representative of ASC will be made available to the Review Panel as a non-voting resource person. If no such apparent error is found, the Review Panel will affirm the Advertising Dispute Panel’s decision. If the Review Panel determines that an error may have occurred, the Review Panel will recommend that the appeal be heard by an Appeal Panel. The Review Panel will have seven (7) working days from the date ASC receives the request for leave to appeal in which to meet and reach a decision and send its decision in writing to the parties.

Decisions of Review Panels will be by majority vote.

5.11 Appeal of Advertising Dispute Panel Decision
Upon recommendation of the Review Panel, and after receiving the applicable Appeal Hearing Fee, ASC will draw a five-member Appeal Panel from among those in the Advertising Dispute Resource Group who did not serve on the Advertising Dispute Panel or the Review Panel. The Appeal Panel will include four representatives from the Industry Sector and one Public representative, noted in Paragraph 4.1 above, provided that none of such representatives has a conflict of interest in the Complaint.

Each party to the Advertising dispute will be given at least seven (7) working days written notice of the date of the Appeal Panel Hearing. Requests made by either party for a delay or adjournment of the proceedings will be dealt with at the discretion of the designated chairperson of the Appeal Panel. The conduct of, and procedure to be followed at, an Appeal Panel Hearing will be patterned after the conduct of the Advertising Dispute Panel Hearing described in Paragraph 5.6 above.

Decisions of Appeal Panels will be by majority vote.

5.12 Consequences of Appeal
The Appeal Panel, having re-heard the Complaint, may uphold the decision, in whole or in part, of the Advertising Dispute Panel. Alternatively, if the Appeal Panel determines that an error in the interpretation of evidence or the Code has occurred, it will set aside the decision of the Advertising Dispute Panel and in its place substitute the decision of the Appeal Panel.

The written decision of the Appeal Panel will be sent to both parties within five working days of the appeal hearing.

Decision by Appeal Panels will be binding and final.

5.13 Closing a Complaint File
ASC will close an individual Complaint file when, in its opinion, the Procedure has been completed, subject, however, to the provisions of Paragraph 6.9 below.