Message from our President and CEO: Setting the bar for the marketing profession

Message from our President and CEO: Setting the bar for the marketing profession

January 18, 2021

The word “standards” can feel dry and uninteresting to some, but certainly not to me. At the core of every esteemed profession is a set of standards. The Iron Ring worn by Canadian-trained engineers symbolizes the obligations and ethics associated with their profession. For doctors, the Hippocratic Oath has stood as a standard bearer for centuries. These devices help convey the sophistication and integrity of the engineering and medical professions.

For marketing in Canada, ethics and standards are woven into our range of professional development programs. The jewel in our PD crown – the Chartered Marketer program – covers a broad range of topics from proposition development, financial management, campaign development and marketing technologies, and is a key plank in our commitment to support the profession.

The Canadian Marketing Code of Ethics and Standards, which was created more than 30 years ago and is updated regularly, is at the core of professional standards for marketers in Canada. It provides clear and succinct descriptions of rules and best practices, including “musts” that are compulsory aspects, and “shoulds” that relate to best practices.

The Code is backed by a series of CMA guides with practical insights and tips to help you meet your obligations under the Code, and under Canadian law. Activities and requirements covered by the Code and our guides include:

  • Use of personal information for marketing,
  • Anti-spam,
  • Depictions of products and services,
  • Making claims about price and features of products and services,
  • Influencer marketing and testimonials,
  • Disparagement of competitors,
  • Billing, fulfillment and cancellation practices,
  • Marketing to children and teens,
  • Membership plans or clubs, and loyalty plans,
  • Lotteries, draws and contests,
  • Digital marketing, telemarketing and email marketing,
  • Outdoor advertising,
  • Standards for service providers,
  • Agency search,
  • Environmental claims,
  • Accessibility,
  • Cannabis marketing,
  • Environmental responsibility, and
  • Preventing and addressing harassment.


Do you think the professional standards set by the CMA empowers marketers to succeed?  Let me know your thoughts.

Stay well,
John Wiltshire