Protecting Your Personal Information

The Canadian Marketing Association is a leader in industry self-regulation and ensures marketers remain ahead of the curve in protecting consumer privacy through its comprehensive Canadian Marketing Code of Ethics and Standards.

Mandatory for CMA members, the Code sets and maintains standards for the conduct of Canadian marketers and includes specific guidelines on fulfilment procedures, Internet marketing, interest-based advertising, consumer privacy and marketing to children and teenagers.

CMA members include corporate, not-for-profit, public and post-secondary institutions, including Canada's most prestigious brands. Our community also includes creative, media, and PR agencies, research firms, management consulting firms, technology companies and other suppliers to the marketing community. 

CMA's Code: Privacy 

The CMA has been at the forefront of the Canadian privacy landscape for over a decade and has been actively involved in various national and international forums discussing privacy issues and the protection of personal information.

Section J of the CMA Code focuses on consumer privacy. The CMA Code, together with Canadian privacy law, gives you the right to:

  • Access information held about you;
  • Correct erroneous information; and,
  • Have your name removed from telephone and direct mail marketing lists.

The Code demonstrates that CMA members have a commitment to ethical guidelines as a key part of their business operations. The Association regularly monitors the marketplace to ensure that its Code keeps pace with new marketing practices and technologies. Each year CMA members must sign a commitment to follow the Code.

Special considerations for children and teenagers

Interactive technology has provided children and teenagers with new opportunities for learning, communicating, playing and shopping.

Parents, children and teenagers should be aware that the Internet has joined television, print and other media as an important component of today's marketing campaigns, which are increasingly focused on using consumer information to build individual relationships.

CMA's Code sets out specific guidelines for members who market to younger audiences. These directives better guide CMA members and the greater marketing community in protecting and respecting the interests of children and teenagers.

CMA's Guidelines for Marketing to Children

In 1999, CMA introduced comprehensive guidelines for marketing to children, which were adopted by the International Federation of Direct Marketing Associations as the global standard. The guidelines raise the level of privacy protection for children and provide parameters on the areas of marketing language and commercial transactions and by defining the age at which a person is considered a child.

Tips for Parents - CMA's Protecting Your Children's Privacy

CMA's Guidelines for Marketing to Teenagers

In 2002, to address the growth of teen marketing, the Canadian Marketing Association introduced amendments to its Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice to ensure marketers respect a teenager's right to privacy. The guidelines raise the level of privacy protection for teenagers draw distinctions on what is and isn't appropriate in marketing to teens, and fills the gap between the fairly limited forms appropriate with young children and the fairly wide-open forms appropriate for adults.

Tips for Parents - CMA's Protecting Your Teenager's Privacy

Government Legislation

There is legislation that protects your personal privacy. Individuals are protected by the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) which came into effect January 2004 and sets out the ground rules for howorganizations may collect, use or disclose personal information in the course of commercial activities.

PIPEDA applies to most private sector organizations across Canada in the course of commercial activities except in Québec, British Columbia and Alberta. These provinces have their own private sector laws that are deemed "substancially similar" to PIPEDA. PIPEDA also applies to federally-regulated businesses operating in Canada and their employee information, including in Québec, British Columbia and Alberta. 

Provincial/Territorial Information and Privacy Offices

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Québec   K1A 1H3
Phone: (819) 994-5444
Toll-free: 1 (800) 282-1376

Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia
P.O Box 9038 Stn. Prov. Govt.
Victoria, British Columbia   V8V 1X4
Phone: (250) 387-5629
Toll-free: 1 (800) 663-7867 (free within B.C.)

Commission d'accès à l'information du Québec
575, rue St. Amable
Bureau 1.10
Québec, Québec   G1R 2G4
Phone: (418) 528-7741
Toll-free: 1 (888) 528-7741 (free within QC)

Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta
410, 9925 - 109 Street
Edmonton, Alberta   T5K 2J8
Phone: (780) 422-6860 

ANY QUESTIONS? Review our consumer FAQs.