Reaching the Consumer in Canada

Overview by

Marketing Opportunities

Growing Sectors
Telecommunications, IT, "fair trade" products (coffee, clothing, shoes), "organic" products, pharmaceutical products, natural healthcare products, tourism, leisure.
Consumer Behavior
Today, the Canadian consumer is more and more aware of the problems of the environment and overconsumption. He looks more closely at the quality of a product, its origin, its composition and its price. However, he remains excessively subjected to advertising and is inclined to buy trendy products.
Consumer Profile and Purchasing Power
The Canadians' standard of living is one of the highest in the world.
At the present time, purchasing behavior is changing especially among young adult Canadians. Their objective, for most of them, is to finish their studies, buy a property and have children. Middle-aged adults and baby-boomers (the 1946-1966 generation) treat themselves to many leisure activities. Canadians care about their food and do not hesitate to buy natural, organic healthfoods. Everything concerning comfort and well-being is very important.
Consumer Recourse to Credit
Common. Used to buy goods and services on credit and/or to finance purchases already made. The most common form of credit is the cash loan granted for retail purchases paid for in instalments, usually large items (furnishings or cars), but also petrol and other consumer non-durables.
Consumers Associations
The Consumer Association of Canada
OPC , Consumer Protection Office
Alberta Consumers' Association

Media in Which to Advertise

Television advertising basically concerns the 35 to 49 age group. Compared to only using television, the combination of television, printed matter and Internet maximises people's intention to buy by more than 47%.

Main Televisions
CTV TV Network
SRC, Radio and television
TVA, Leading French-speaking TV network in America
Printed advertising still has a very strong impact on Canadians, in spite of some dropping off in favor of on-line advertising.
In Canada, we call this type of advertising "Courrier Poubelle"or"Junk mail". Special advertising weeklies from food stores and of pharmaceutical products are what people like and retain most. When children go back to school, families watch out for mail advertising school items and clothes.
In Transportation Venues
Advertising on public transport, in railway stations and in bus shelters has been everywhere for many years.

Market Leaders:
CBS Outdoor
It is listened to above all by motorists and in offices and stores.

Main Radios
Groupe Corrus - Corrus Entertaiment
All Canadian radio stations
New Technologies (E-Marketing, SMS, etc.)
Nearly 22 million Canadians use Internet monthly. Internet has become a means of communication, of networking, of research and of shopping, irreplaceable now for consumers and companies alike. On-line advertising has a stronger impact than television on Canadians' intention to buy. Advertisers follow consumers and devote a growing part of their advertising budgets to interactive media. On-line advertising concerns the 18 to 34 age group.

Market Leaders:
Atlas Telecom Mobil
Sirius Canada - Satellite Radio
XM Radio - Satellite Radio
Main Advertising Agencies
Cossette Group Blitz Direct
Alpha Vision

Main Principles of Advertising Regulations

Advertising is authorized, but sales are controlled by the State in nearly all provinces: : SAQ (Société des Alcools du Québec: Quebec Alcohol Society) in Quebec, LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) in Ontario, LCL (Liquor Control & Licensing) in British Columbia. Only Alberta has been free of the State for about ten years.
Health Canada has established very strict laws on advertising tobacco products. The latest law has been in force since 2003. Among other things, this law prohibits all sport and cultural sponsorship by tobacco companies.
Regulations on advertising medicines and drugs are governed by Health Canada. Only health products authorized for sale in Canada by Health Canada may be advertised. There are precise requirements for advertising aimed at consumers of prescription-only medicines.
Other Rules
Article 74.06 of the Competition Act is a federal law governing the conduct of Canadian companies. It contains civil and criminal provisions which aim to prevent anti-competitive behavior on the market.


The Canadian Code of Advertising Standards governs the professional practice of advertising. It is administered by Advertising Standards Canada, an organization set up by the advertising industry, in order to arouse and maintain public confidence in advertising.

Use of Foreign Languages in Advertisement
Article 66 of the law on official languages stipulates that English and French are the 2 official languages in Canada. The use of either language is possible. In Quebec, the Office Québécois de la langue française ( Quebec Office for the French language) enforces the dominance of the French language in any display or advertising, resorting if necessary to displaying both languages.

For further information, consult also the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages website.

Organizations Regulating Advertising
Health Canada and its regulatory requirements as regards advertising.
Advertising Standards Canada and its Code Interpretation Guidelines.

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