On September 17, 2013, the Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada launched the new industry self-regulation program for online behavioural advertising (OBA) in Canada. The principal web portal for the program, YourAdChoices.ca, provides information resources to industry and consumers on OBA, along with a new industry guidance document, entitled Canadian Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioural Advertising. The Principles highlight:

  • the need for consumer education about OBA,
  • transparency in OBA activities,
  • consumer control over when consumers are tracked and offered OBA,
  • data security, and
  • the accountability of advertisers and advertising networks.

The Principles also prohibit the tracking of personal information for OBA purposes from those advertisers know to be under the age of thirteen, or from tracking personal information on pages directed to those under the age of thirteen.

Following the American model under the US Digital Advertising Alliance, the program will allow participating organizations to use the Ad Choices icon next to online behavioural advertisements in order to indicate compliance with the program. Advertisers and advertising networks may also register to be included in the OBA Opt-Out page. The Opt-Out page is a single location, available on the Ad Choices website, where consumers can opt-out from being tracked by one or more advertising networks for the purposes of OBA.

A number of associations are involved in the new self-regulatory program, including Advertising Standards Canada, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, and the Canadian Marketing Association. Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) will be the body responsible for receiving, investigating, and reporting on consumer complaints related to OBA. It is important to note that, under the new program, ASC will also review complaints concerning advertisers and advertising networks not currently participating in the program. For more information on the complaints procedure, visit ASC’s web page on the Online Behavioural Advertising Compliance Process.