President’s Perspective

From Issue: 
Vol LI, No. 2, May 2007

Occasionally, the Canada Safety Council hears about an advertisement that safety conscious Canadians find disturbing.  The ads grab attention by depicting risky activity or dangerous acts or in some case the omission of safe acts like not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle.

These advertisements are important vehicles to assist in selling responsible safety messages to the public.  Yet, from time to time we find just the opposite occurring.

Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) in its 2006 Ad Complaints Report shows that the category of Automotive adverting for the first time placed second highest in terms of consumer complaints.  For the first time in recent years ASC has issued an advisory on the subject of automotive advertising in Canada.  In 2006 they received 104 complaints 44 of which were upheld.

In the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards clause 10 (Safety) spells out the requirement as follows:  “Advertisements must not without reason, justifiable on educational or social grounds, display a disregard for safety or depict situations that might encourage unsafe or dangerous practices or acts.”

What can you do if you see an advertisement that seems to promote unsafe behavior?  First, contact the advertiser with the details of your concern.  Names and addresses of companies and their CEOs are available on web sites and in business directories.

If you are not satisfied with the advertiser’s response, do as over 100 consumers last year did, complain to Advertising Standards Canada, the self-regulating body for the industry. 

If you have specific safety concerns about an advertising campaign, provide the Canada Safety Council with a complete description and how you see it in violation of clause 10.  We may be able to support your request that the advertising be changed or withdrawn.

Until next time,

Safety, It’s an Attitude

Jack Smith