CMA Advocacy in Action: 2020 year in review

Dec 16, 2020
Advocacy Standards

It’s been a busy and challenging year (to say the least), which is why we have rounded up the advocacy and regulatory developments since our last update that you need to know about in one convenient blog. 


The CMA’s regulatory committees met consistently to discuss issues affecting trust in the marketplace, including privacy, anti-spam and CASL, deceptive advertising, consumer protection, fraud prevention and more. They provided input into our government submissions, reviewed the Canadian Marketing Code of Ethics & Standards and several compliance and best practices guides, and developed new guidance for marketers which will be released early in 2021. 

Our Working Group on Cannabis Marketing meetings with Health Canada continued to provide insights into the legislative framework and provided opportunities for engagement with government officials on various issues affecting marketers in the sector.


With accessibility deadlines in Ontario fast approaching, be sure you are aware of your obligations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). This includes meeting the new accessible websites and web content requirements and filing an accessibility compliance report.

Privacy and Data Protection

Canada introduces new privacy legislation

On November 17, a bill to usher in a new Canadian privacy law was introduced. Bill C-11 establishes a new Consumer Privacy Protection Act (CPPA) to replace PIPEDA, as well as a new Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal.

The bill includes some significant changes to Canada’s privacy framework that marketers should be aware of, including the highest financial penalties in the G7. The CMA published a blog with more details, as well as a members-only preliminary overview of Bill C-11.

The details of the bill are subject to debate as it makes its way through the political process in the coming months. Once passed, organizations are expected to be provided with around 18 months of lead time to prepare for compliance.

The CMA will continue to engage with government on aspects of the bill important to marketers and will keep you updated on important developments.

Three provinces consult on new privacy rules

Quebec, British Columbia, and Ontario are looking to reform or introduce private sector privacy rules. The CMA responded to consultations on behalf of the marketing community in each province and continues to remain engaged. The CMA is calling for the coordination of privacy frameworks across the country to prevent complexity for organizations and consumers.

  • Quebec: In June, Quebec introduced Bill 64, which contains proposed amendments to its private sector privacy law, including GDPR-like fines and new privacy rights for individuals. For more details, check out the CMA’s submission, available in French and English.
  • British Columbia: In August, a Special Committee of B.C.’s Legislative Assembly wrapped up a consultation to reform the province’s private sector privacy law. See our submission, which provides recommendations to ensure the law remains flexible for both organizations and consumers.
  • Ontario: Also in August, Ontario launched a consultation to create the province’s first-ever private sector privacy law. The CMA urged Ontario to continue to rely on PIPEDA for privacy protection, with any new rules focusing on addressing sectors and activities that a reformed federal law will not cover. Read our submission for more.

Changes to California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

In July, final regulations under California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) came into effect, solidifying the compliance requirements for Canadian businesses subject to the law. See our CCPA blog series for more info on CCPA obligations.

In November, a local ballot initiative in California saw 56% of California residents voting in favor of additional revisions to ensure even stronger protections. The initiative would replace the CCPA with the Consumer Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) in 2023. 

For privacy-related enquiries or more information on the submissions mentioned above, please contact Fiona Wilson, CMA’s Director, Government Relations.

2020 Throne Speech

Two measures in the speech delivered by the federal government aligned with recommendations in our submission to government. Read our marketing perspective on the 2020 throne speech

Questions or comments? E-mail us – we want to hear from you

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Florentina Stancu-Soare

Senior Manager, Regulatory and Consumer Affairs Canadian Marketing Association




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