Advertising and sponsorship policies
Advertising and sponsorship guidelines for print and online publications, products and services for the Canadian Medical Association and its subsidiary companies (last revised: July 2014)
These guidelines are intended to provide guidance on the acceptance of advertising and sponsorships for print and online publications, products and services owned and published by CMA or its subsidiaries, including cma.ca, online newsletters, and print and electronic publications, including the Canadian Medical Association Journal and Santé Inc.
These policies were developed in accordance with the Guidelines for CMA's Activities and Relationships with Other Parties, resulting from a consultative process that included members of the business, ethics and legal units of the
CMA and its subsidiaries.
We recognize that the general principles outlined in the
Guidelines for CMA's Activities and Relationships with Other Parties take precedence where there is any doubt about the application of these policies. "We", when used in this document, refers to the collectivity of corporate and organizational units entrusted with implementation of the guidelines.
"Advertising" and "advertisement" refer to the provision of space to promote products or services in exchange for payment or other consideration. Examples of online advertising include banners, buttons and any other type of promotional consideration, fixed or animated, with or without hyperlinks.
"Advertorials" refers to advertising where the client has sole editorial input.
"Editorial content" means content that is not advertising.
"Professional publications" refers to publications whose primary focus is to provide non-clinical information on professional issues to physicians.
"Scholarly publications" refers to publications that are peer-reviewed, physician-focused and provide primarily scientific and research-based content targeting a physician audience.
"Sponsorship" refers to unrestricted educational grants or other contributions for print and online publications, products and services that assist with the production or promotion of publications, products or services. In return, the support of the sponsor is publicly recognized for a specified period of time.
Integrity and credibility
We actively solicit advertising and sponsorships in recognition of the benefits such advertising and sponsorships might bring in the attainment of its purposes and those of the CMA.
The integrity and credibility of the CMA and its members shall be the overriding consideration in all advertising and sponsorship activities. It is in the best interests of the CMA, its subsidiaries, advertisers and sponsors to ensure that the products remain a trusted, credible source of information for physicians and others.
We recognize that advertising and sponsorship opportunities must be pursued only as they do not impede the following core principles:
- editorial independence
- institutional integrity (e.g. brand reputation)
- consistency with the CMA's mission, vision and values
The advertising and sponsorship guidelines are applied to ensure adherence to these core principles, to determine the eligibility of products and services for advertising and to ensure that any sponsorship relationship is transparent and apparent.
Editorial decisions are not influenced by advertising or sponsorship and are made without consideration of the advertising or sponsorship scheduled to appear. Sponsors and advertisers will not determine specific editorial content or in any way influence editorial decision-making, nor will they have the opportunity to review any material prior to publication. Advertisements and sponsorships will not be sold on condition that specific editorial content will be subsequently produced. Further, advertisements and sponsorships will not be accepted where the fact of the advertisement or sponsorship would raise a reasonable inference of influence on editorial content or decision-making, or of the
CMA or its subsidiaries’ endorsement of the sponsor or its products or services.
In those cases where the
CMA or one of its subsidiaries endorses a particular product or service as a preferred supplier, such endorsement will be made transparent.
Although readers, sponsors and advertisers may be provided with general information about the editorial content of an upcoming publication (e.g., theme issues, clinical practice guidelines, continuing series, supplements, conference proceedings), specific details about the content are confidential until publication.
Administrative procedures are in place to ensure adherence to the core principles. For example, content developers and editorial staff are separate and distinct from staff who deal with advertisers. No person will be asked to perform duties that compromise editorial independence.
Comments and complaints
Individuals may register comments or complaints about advertising or sponsorships through a variety of mechanisms. Every effort is made to provide contact information for registering a complaint. Where that is not possible, individuals may contact the Member Centre, 888-855-2555.
Changes to the guidelines
The guidelines will be reviewed regularly. However, we reserve the right to make changes at any time. Such changes will be in accordance with the principles outlined in the Guidelines for CMA's Activities and Relationships with Other Parties. The revised document will be posted on cma.ca.
The appearance of advertising or sponsorship in accordance with these policies is neither a guarantee nor an endorsement of claims made for a product or service, nor an endorsement of a manufacturer, distributor or promoter of a product or service.
Neither the CMA nor its subsidiary companies shall be liable for any damages, claims, liabilities, costs or obligations arising from the use or misuse of the advertising material or sponsorship information that appear, whether such obligations arise in contract, negligence, equity or statute law. No guarantee or warranty is made as to the quality, accuracy, completeness, timeliness, appropriateness or suitability of the advertising material or sponsorship information provided. No advertising material is intended to substitute for the advice of a physician, and readers are advised always to consult their doctor for specific information on personal health matters.
- Advertisements must comply with the core principles. Advertising space will not be sold on condition that specific editorial content will be subsequently produced.
- Advertisements for products, services and public service messages that compete with those offered by the
CMA or its subsidiaries, including financial services, are not eligible. Exceptions may be made; any such decisions will be determined in accordance with the stated review process.
- Advertisements of tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, weapons, gambling or pornography, or of products that violate CMA policy, are not eligible..
- Advertising must be factually accurate, must not be misleading and must be in good taste.
- Advertising must adhere to human rights legislation and not discriminate on any prohibited grounds.
- A distinction is maintained between advertising and editorial content. All advertising, including advertorials, must be clearly identifiable as advertising and must not be confused with editorial content in format or appearance; it may not be associated with CMA logos, trademarks or other markings.
- The fact that an advertisement has appeared in a publication, product or service shall not be referred to in collateral advertising.
- All new advertisements will be reviewed prior to publication or electronic posting.
- We reserve the right of final approval and the right to refuse any advertisement. Staff from the business, ethics, legal and advocacy and public affairs departments may be consulted to discuss and resolve particular issues and exceptions that might arise under these guidelines ― in particular, the core principles of editorial independence, institutional integrity and consistency with CMA's mission, vision and values. The CMA Legal team will co-ordinate periodic reviews of these guidelines to ensure currency. Ultimate decision-making authority rests with the Vice President, Professional Services and Leadership of CMA.
- All advertising should meet the appropriate standards for advertising of that product or service under all applicable Canadian laws. For example:
- All prescription drug advertising directed at health professionals must be reviewed by the
Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board (PAAB). PAAB maintains a Code of Advertising Acceptance and clears advertising prior to publication to ensure claims meet Code standards. Proof of review is required. For more information visit
- Advertising for food and beverages, non-prescription drugs and natural health products must comply with all applicable legislation and guidelines. Advertising may be pre-cleared for compliance by
Advertising Standards Canada (ASC). For more information visit
- Advertising for instruments and devices or any part, component or accessory, intended for preventive, diagnostic or therapeutic purposes must comply with the provisions of the Medical Devices Regulations, under the Food and Drugs Act. This includes contraceptive devices but does not include drugs. Proof of the legal right to advertise these products in Canada may be required.
- All advertising must be in compliance with the World Health Organization's International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (for more information visit
www.who.int/en). The code covers breast-milk substitutes and any products represented as partial or total substitutes, as well as related paraphernalia such as feeding bottles. The code prohibits advertising or promotion of these products in any material directed toward the general public and requires that information provided by manufacturers and distributors to health professionals be restricted to scientific and factual matters.
- Placement of advertising will be governed by the core principles.
- Placement of editorial content adjacent to advertising on the same products or topics is avoided whenever possible in scholarly publications. When a scholarly publication uses designated pages for repeat features (e.g. the lead editorial or to highlight articles of interest in the journal) any placement of an advertisement adjacent to related editorial content should be seen as coincidental. Exceptions may be necessary when a publication dedicates significant editorial space to a particular theme or clinical issue, but such exceptions will not impede the core principles.
- Advertisements for products and services are eligible to be placed adjacent to editorial content on the same topic in consumer and professional publications, provided there is no reasonable inference of a commercial connection or relationship between the product or service being advertised, the manufacturer of the products or services and the editorial content of the
CMA or its subsidiaries’ endorsement of the advertiser or its products or services.
- Articles in scholarly publications should not be broken by full-page advertisements (whether one or more pages). Fractional advertisements (2/3 page or smaller) are limited to one per editorial page.
Placement of advertising on cma.ca
External advertising is currently not being accepted for the cma.ca website. This document will be updated if the policy changes.
Linking from an advertisement
- Users must have the option to click or not click on an advertisement. The advertisement must not obscure the screen page such that the user has to click on the advertisement to proceed further.
- Links to advertisements may only be embedded in the text of editorial content where it is apparent that the link is to an advertisement.
- Users must not be sent to any other website unless they choose to do so by clicking on an advertisement link. The destination page will appear in a new window or tab.
- If an advertisement is to link to a page off the cma.ca website, the page will be reviewed prior to acceptance of the advertising. The advertiser may not change the linked page during the term of the contract without prior review and approval.
- Any website to which an advertisement is linked must comply with the laws and regulations of Canada.
- We reserve the right to not link or to remove links to other websites.
- We do not assume any responsibility for material on the linked site.
- CMA trademarks (e.g., CMAJ.ca,
CMAJ, CMA, cma.ca) may not appear on any other websites or linked pages without prior written approval.
Sponsorship of Print and Online Publications, Products and Services
- Sponsorships must comply with the core principles.
- Sponsorships are available to organizations or companies at a corporate level and for specific products or services, provided there is no reasonable inference of a commercial connection or relationship between the sponsor or the products and services and the content.
- Single (or exclusive) sponsorships will be accepted at the corporate level. Scholarly publications will only accept sponsorships in the form of unrestricted educational grants. Single sponsorships for specific products and services are permissible in non-scholarly publications only. Exceptions may be made; any such decisions will be determined in accordance with the stated review process.
- Preferred suppliers may be single sponsors of features that are closely related to products or services they manufacture or promote. However, the relationship between the CMA or its subsidiary and the sponsor will be transparent to the reader, and in accepting such sponsorship we will at all times be guided by the core principles of editorial independence, institutional integrity and consistency with CMA's mission, vision and values.
- A regular feature page or section may qualify for long-term sponsorship by a single sponsor provided the specific content of the feature is variable and confidential prior to publication and editorial independence is maintained.
- Banner advertising from other advertisers may appear in the template of pages or sections that have been sponsored.
- Sponsorships from organizations whose products or services compete with those offered by the CMA or CMA subsidiaries, including financial services, are not eligible. Exceptions may be made; any such decisions will be determined in accordance with the stated review process.
- Sponsorships from organizations that manufacture or promote products or services such as tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, weapons, gambling or pornography, or other products that violate CMA policy, are not eligible.
- Sponsorships are not currently eligible for any areas of cma.ca. This document will be updated if the policy changes.
- We reserve the right of final approval of all sponsorship and the right to refuse or terminate any sponsorship.
- We determine the final wording and placement of sponsor acknowledgments.
- Sponsorship of specific content (e.g., series, supplements, special features or electronic tables of contents) will be acknowledged as an unrestricted educational grant. Sample wording:
"This table of contents/this series/etc. is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from [Organization X]" or "Produced by CMA through an unrestricted educational grant from [Company Y]."
- Acknowledgment of sponsorship may make reference to products or services.
"Produced through an unrestricted educational grant from [Organization X], makers of [Product Y]."
- The acknowledgment of sponsorship may be accompanied by a corporate logo that is linked to advertisements for products or services of the sponsor (pdf pages only), provided the sponsor's logo is not more prominent than the size of the CMA logo. We will determine the prominence of logos.
- Sponsors may refer to the fact of sponsorship but no characterization of the sponsorship relationship shall be taken or used as evidence of CMA's or a subsidiary’s endorsement of the sponsor or of any of the sponsor's products or services. We will work with the sponsor to develop appropriate wording.
Linking from a sponsor's acknowledgment
- Sponsorship may include a link to the sponsor's corporate website or to the sponsor's product or service.
- Users must not be sent to any website other than the originating website unless they choose to do so by clicking on a sponsorship link. The destination page will appear in a new window that will be smaller than the originating background page.
- If a sponsorship acknowledgement is to link to a page off the originating website, we will review the page prior to posting the acknowledgment. The sponsor may not change the linked page without prior review and approval.
- Any website to which an acknowledgement is linked must comply with the laws and regulations of Canada.
- We reserve the right to not link or to remove links to other websites.
- The CMA [nor any of its subsidiaries] does not assume any responsibility for material on a linked site.
- CMA trademarks (e.g. eCMAJ,
CMAJ, CMA, cma.ca and Santé Inc.) may not appear on any other websites, including the sponsoring organization's website, or promotional material without prior written approval.
Polywrap outserts and consumer magazine inserts will be approved at the discretion of the publisher, being cognizant of the CMA Code of Ethics and other CMA policies such as the Guidelines for CMA's Activities and Relations with Other Parties. Inserts supporting pharmaceuticals must be approved by PAAB. The specifications for polywrap inserts are available on request. Because there are limitations on the number of items that can be sent in a polywrap, in scholarly publications priority is given to educational material from the CMA and societies that sponsor journals published by the
CMA and its subsidiaries.
When CMA is the publisher of a journal as agent or service provider, advertising and sponsorship guidelines for the publication are consistent with these guidelines and determined on a case-by-case basis.