CMA Guides

Practical Information for Today's Marketer

The CMA offers the following guides and mini-guides to help marketers better understand the laws and rules that they must follow in the work that they do every day. 

You might also want to refer to the Canadian Marketing Code of Ethics and Standards.

In addition to guidance, the CMA actively advocates with government on behalf of the marketing profession in key policy areas. To learn more, visit our Policy Topics page.  

Have questions? Connect with us.



List of Available Guides

This guide contains information on implementing Canada's federal privacy law, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and the seven compulsory privacy requirements that are detailed in the Canadian Marketing Association's Canadian Marketing Code of Ethics & Standards. PIPEDA came into effect across Canada on January 1, 2004, setting the rules for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by Canadian organizations in the course of commercial activities.

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The CMA Guide on Cannabis Marketing provides information and insights to help marketers in this newly legalized sector to comply with the legislation and follow best practices. Developed by our Working Group on Cannabis Marketing, which is comprised of senior marketers from the cannabis industry, as well as agencies and suppliers to the agency, the Guide is relevant not only for front-line marketers in the cannabis sector, but also for their suppliers. It covers activities such as packaging, and the sale of non-cannabis items such as promotional items.

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This guide sets out a Transparency Framework to help organizations provide clear, user-friendly information about how consumers’ personal information is collected, used and shared. CMA members and the marketing industry can use this information to tailor their privacy policy and practices to suit their sector, business model, consumers' preferences and products.

The Guide will help companies comply with new Guidelines for Meaningful Consent, issued by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, which came into effect on January 1, 2019. It is the latest in a series of tools created by the CMA to help Canadian marketers maintain high standards of professional conduct.

The Guide reflects consumers' perspectives on transparency, gleaned from two research studies commissioned by the CMA and released in 2018. 

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A recognized leader in ethical marketing and industry self-regulation, the Canadian Marketing Association’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice establishes operating best practices for marketers in Canada. The following guidelines are intended to supplement Section N4 of the CMA Code of Ethics and the requirements for email and Internet marketing. 

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This guide provides CMA members with an overview of Canada’s Anti-Spam Law, which came into effect on July 1, 2014. The document provides members with an overview of the law’s requirements, key elements, special cases, practical considerations and a list of key resources.

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Contests in Canada have a loyal following and high consumer engagement. They generate marketing buzz and interest, so it’s no wonder that companies across all industries use them to attract consumer attention. Before launching a contest, marketers must be aware of contest laws in Canada, in order to preserve your organization’s reputation. The main laws governing promotional contests are: Section 206 of the Criminal Code, section 74.06 as well as the misleading advertising provisions of the Competition Act, Quebec’s Act respecting lotteries, alcohol, publicity contests and amusement machines and the common law of contracts.

This guide aims to a) provide useful background information about the relevant laws, b) provide regulatory guidance for marketers, and c) ensure that members are responsible and ethical in their marketing practices when administering a contest. This guide discusses relevant clauses from various laws, and an appendix found at the end of this document presents the actual legal wording. This guide is not meant to replace legal counsel and all contest sponsors should obtain legal advice before launching any kind of contest to help ensure full compliance with the law

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This guide provides CMA members with (a) an overview of the European Union (EU)’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in force May 25, 2018, (b) information on GDPR’s requirements, key elements and special cases, and (c) a compendium of important government and CMA resources that will help in planning a GDPR compliance program.

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This guide provides organizations with essential information relevant to marketing their goods and services by telephone in Canada. It includes information about various laws, government regulations, industry Code and best practices for this channel.

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CMA Members believe that special attention needs to be given to the sensitive issues surrounding marketing to children and to teenagers. Sections K and L of the CMA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice provide marketers with clear guidance on appropriate business practices when marketing to these demographics.

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This document is intended to contribute to your organization’s understanding regarding its obligations when marketing in the province of Quebec. Most marketers are aware of Quebec’s Charter of the French Language, sometimes still referred to as Bill 101.

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While CASL has been a strong focus for many marketers, much of this has revolved around new rules regarding the sending of commercial electronic messages (CEMs), obtaining consent from recipients, and a host of other issues falling within the domain of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The coming into force of Canada's anti-spam law (CASL) has, however, also brought forth changes to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), around electronic address harvesting.

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Native advertising has become increasingly popular over the past few years. In fact, it has been said that people view native ads 53% more often than banner ads, and that purchase intent is 53% higher with native ads.

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Through its Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, the Canadian Marketing Association holds its members responsible for the use or misuse of their marketing lists and data. When you decide to make your list or data available in the marketplace, you are accepting the responsibility for the use of that information including any promotional or advertising material your customer may see. Accordingly, these guidelines are designed to help protect and preserve the value and integrity of your lists and data.

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This document is intended to contribute to your organization’s understanding of the evolving regulatory environment surrounding consent for non-digital marketing communications as it relates to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information. It is also intended to ensure that your business meets the requirements of the Canadian Marketing Association’s Canadian Marketing Code of Ethics & Standards related to opt-out consent. Detailing the CMA Code requirements and CMA members’ best practice, it is recommended that this document is read in conjunction with CMA’s Privacy Compliance Guide. If dealing with electronic marketing communication, members should consult CMA’s Guide to Canada’s Anti-Spam Law and CMA’s Digital Marketing Guide.

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This document is intended to contribute to your organization's understanding of its obligations should it choose to use materials resembling currency as part of its marketing mix.

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