Advertising to Children

The ACA has released a self-regulated code/guideline for Advertising to Children. Within it, Outdoor is required to restrict advertising of campaigns considered junk food to outside of a 100m radius of schools grades 8 and below. This is not an official Health Canada directive. All members should be able to action a request from an advertiser to adhere to this requirement; however, advertisers are responsible for ensuring their advertising adheres to the Code and any associated requirements. Therefore it will be incumbent on the advertiser to advise the Outdoor operator that their advertisement must be placed outside of the 100m radius described above.

The purpose of the Children’s Code is to guide advertisers and agencies in preparing commercial messages that adequately recognize the special characteristics of the children’s audience.

(a) Children’s Advertising – “Children’s Advertising” refers to any paid commercial message that is carried in or immediately adjacent to a children’s program. Children’s advertising also includes any commercial message that is determined by the broadcaster as being directed to children and is carried in or immediately adjacent to any other program.

(b) Children – “Children” refers to persons under 12 years of age.

(c) Outdoor advertising (other than on-premises communications as previously defined herein) placed within a 100-meter radius of public elementary or middle schools (through grade 8) will be deemed to be primarily directed to children. No food or beverage advertising will be placed on school buses. 

Canada has one of the strongest frameworks in the world for regulating advertising directed to children under 12 years of age. Canada’s system starts with preclearance of food commercials under the provisions of the Food and Drugs Act and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Food Labelling for Industry (CFIA Industry Labelling Tool).

Additionally, children’s food and beverage commercials are subject to the requirements of . Adherence to this broadcast code, including preclearance of each children’s commercial by a committee that includes industry and parent representatives, is a condition of broadcast license by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. Canada’s self-regulatory system also includes a rigorous system for responding to consumer complaints about advertisements under the provisions of Canadian Code of Advertising Standards (Code), which covers all media. The Code and its Interpretation Guidelines include special provisions regarding advertising to children.

Advertising that is directed to children must not exploit their credulity, lack of experience or their sense of loyalty, and must not present information or illustrations that might result in their physical, emotional or moral harm.

For detailed information, visit:


In Quebec, commercial advertising aimed at persons younger than 13 is prohibited by the Quebec Consumer Protection Act. See the Office de la protection du consommateur

Quebec Consumer Protection Act: ​​http://legisquebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/showdoc/cs/p-40.1

Date of COMMB update: July 2023

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