What are Québec’s advertising laws?

Learn more about Québec’s advertising laws, how they differ from other provinces’ laws, and the federal laws that apply to Québec
What are Québec’s advertising laws?

As the second most populous province in Canada, domestic and foreign companies don’t want to miss out on advertising or marketing in Québec. When these companies plan out their strategies, there’s always a special consideration for this province. A big factor behind that is Québec’s unique advertising laws.

Introduction to Quebec's advertising laws

Quebecers are protected by several advertising laws, that touch on not only ads and marketing practices, but also personal information. Here is a partial list of Québec’s advertising laws, including the applicable federal advertising statutes:

  1. Civil Code of Québec
  2. Charter of the French Language
  3. Provincial laws on personal information
    • Act respecting Access to documents held by public bodies and the Protection of personal information (CQLR c A-2.1)
    • Act respecting the protection of personal information in the private sector (CQLR c P-39.1)
    • An Act to modernize legislative provisions as regards the protection of personal information (SQ 2021, c 25)
  4. Québec Consumer Protection Act (CPA)
  5. Federal advertising laws applicable to Québec

To find out if your business is covered by these laws — which in most cases would overlap with each other — it’s better to consult with a lawyer.

1. Civil Code of Québec

Québec is the only province in Canada that follows civil law; one major legal consideration when marketing and advertising in Québec is its Civil Code. As part of the general advertising laws of Québec, the Code covers:

  • warranty obligation of sellers
  • protection of personal information of consumers

2. Charter of the French Language

The Charter upholds French as the primary medium of communication in the province. This also applies to commercial businesses when it comes to their advertised products.

Here are some of the ways the Charter affects Québec’s advertising laws:

  • packaging and instructions of products sold in Québec must be in French, which may come with a translation to other languages (e.g. English)
  • public signs and commercial ads must be in French; or may be in English but French must be predominant
  • names and logos must have a French name, subject to certain exceptions

On January 10, 2024, the Québec government published a draft regulation to amend Bill 96 (An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec). Such draft regulation would have large consequences for Québec’s advertising laws. Learn more about this draft regulation with this video:

Learn more about this draft regulation from a Lexpert-ranked best advertising and marketing lawyer in Québec.

3. Provincial laws on personal information

Aside from the Civil Code and the PIPEDA, the protection of personal information is also based on Québec’s advertising laws. One of these is the Québec Protection Act, or the Act respecting the protection of personal information in the private sector.

Similar with other privacy laws, the Act says that personal information must be:

  • used only for the purposes stated during its collection, except when consented by the person concerned
  • held, used, or communicated only to third persons when the information’s owner consents to it
  • protected by the enterprise which collected the information, such as implementing the necessary security measures

What is Law 25 in Québec?

Having granted Royal Assent on September 22, 2021, Bill 64 or Law 25 as it’s known now, came into effect last September 22, 2023. This law amended provisions of different laws to improve the protection of personal information, whether handled by public bodies or those in the private sectors.

4. Québec Consumer Protection Act

One of the important advertising laws in Québec is its Consumer Protection Act (CPA), which deals with issues such as consumer contracts, warranties, etc. As for marketing and advertising, some of the main prohibitions of the CPA include:

  • making false or misleading representations
  • falsely ascribing certain special advantages to products
  • falsely invoking a price reduction

Additional requirements for contests in Québec

On October 27, 2023, Québec made changes to its laws regarding publicity contests and sweepstakes. Previously, there were additional rules imposed by the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux. This includes the filing of application, payment of duties, post-contest reporting with the Régie. All these were abolished through Bill 17 (An Act to amend various provisions for the main purpose of reducing regulatory and administrative burden).

What is Section 248 of the Quebec Consumer Protection Act?

Québec’s Consumer Protection Act is one of the strictest when it comes to advertising to children. Under sections 248 and 249 of the Consumer Protection Act, commercial advertisements that target children under 13 years old are prohibited.

This total ban applies to those who promote goods or services, including those who are involved in the advertising process. It also applies to all types of media, whether traditional or online.


The Act’s regulations present some exceptions to this ban on commercial advertising directed at children:

Advertising in a children’s magazine

The exception applies if the magazine is:

  • intended for children
  • offered for sale
  • published at least every three months
Advertising for a children’s entertainment event

The ad cannot show:

  • the logo of another company whose products are for children
  • an illustration showing spin-offs or promotional products offered for sale
Store windows, displays, containers, packaging and labels

The ad must not:

  • Serve to advertise other products targeting children, as an attempt to get around the ban
  • encourage a child to buy the advertised product
  • encourage the child to urge another person (e.g., their parents) to buy the product or to seek information about them

5. Federal advertising laws that apply in Québec

Advertisers and marketers must consider both provincial and federal laws on advertising, both as to the form and manner of executing their plans and strategies.

For instance, although Bill 17 removed several requirements for contest organizers in Québec, they must still be aware of other federal laws when organizing contests. These include:

  • Competition Act: requires the disclosure of relevant information about the contest
  • Criminal Code: prohibits the awarding of prizes solely based on chance
  • Québec’s CPA: requires the disclosure of all the terms and conditions before obtaining a gift, a prize, or a rebate

Another example is spam messaging. When advertising through electronic messages — whether it’s a product, service, or a contest — the CASL and the PIPEDA will still apply, on top of Québec’s advertising laws.

In sum, the advertising laws of Québec must be read altogether with the other federal laws affecting marketing and advertising. When constrained with such a task, asking for the services of a lawyer may be resorted to.

To learn more about Québec’s advertising laws, reach out to any of the best advertising and marketing lawyers in Canada as ranked by Lexpert.

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