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Watching You Online: New Canadian Industry Self-Regulation for Online Behavioural Advertising

November 21, 2013

By Tamarah Luk and Catherine Lovrics

In September 2013, the Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada released the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioural Advertising (the Principles), and, a new corresponding program for both businesses and consumers. The Principles are:

  1. Education, which emphasizes the need for consumer education on online behavioural advertising (OBA);
  2. Notice & Transparency, which calls for “clear, meaningful and prominent notice” to consumers about the data collected and used during OBA;
  3. Consumer Control, which requires giving consumers the ability to choose whether and what data is collected and used for OBA;
  4. Data Security, which requires entities to maintain proper safeguards and limited retention of data collected and used for OBA;
  5. Sensitive Data, which prohibits collecting personal information for OBA from users known to be children (i.e. under the age of 13) or sites directed to children under 13. This principle also prohibits collecting and using sensitive personal information for OBA without consent, as required under Canadian privacy law; and
  6. Accountability, which indicates that Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) will be responsible for monitoring compliance with the Principles and adjudicating complaints. ASC is the Canadian equivalent to the NAD. also provides resources for Canadian businesses and consumers. Consumers can learn more about OBA, as well as “opting-out” from OBA by participating organizations and submit a complaint to ASC if they believe an entity has breached any of the Principles.  Businesses can also submit complaints to ASC, as well as register to display the advertising option icon, which acts as notice to inform consumers about OBA collection and use practices, and register to be listed on the consumer opt-out page.


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