Ottawa advocacy organizations welcome greenwashing ruling

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OTTAWA | TRADITIONAL TERRITORY OF THE ALGONQUIN ANISHINAABEG – Ottawa advocacy groups welcomed the news that Ad Standards Canada, an industry advertising regulator, unanimously ruled that advertisements by Canada Action Coalition, a fossil fuel promoter, constitute greenwashing.

The ruling, which was leaked anonymously to the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), says that the Coalition’s ads have “distorted the true meaning of statements made by professionals or scientific authorities,” “promised a verified result without competent and reliable evidence” and created an “overall misleading impression.”

“This confirms what we knew all along: these ads seek to deliberately misinform Canadians—including lawmakers in our nation’s capital—about the destructive effects of fossil fuels,” said William van Geest, Program Coordinator at Ecology Ottawa. “Part of a just transition to renewable energy means stopping the promotion of climate-destroying products.”

Fifteen Ottawa organizations co-signed a letter in February calling on Ottawa City Council to ban advertising and sponsorship of fossil fuel companies in City facilities. This letter acknowledged that City policy already bans the promotion of tobacco for its adverse health effects.

“Twenty years ago, the city bravely took on big tobacco and banned ads helping to lessen tobacco use in our city—now they have a chance to take leadership again,” said Sam Hersh, coordinator of Horizon Ottawa. “The city is losing out on millions due to climate disasters, while these ads only bring in a miniscule amount of revenue—the benefits certainly outweigh the costs.” 

Pressure to prohibit fossil fuel promotion is mounting across the country. In February, Member of Parliament Charlie Angus tabled his Bill C-372 calling for a national ban on advertising fossil fuels. In 2022, CAPE issued an open letter to federal ministers signed by more than 35 organizations representing over 700,000 health professionals that similarly demanded a national ban.

“It seems ridiculous that on one hand the City of Ottawa is implementing its Climate Change Master Plan with very little public education, and on the other hand we are allowing blatant climate misinformation to confuse residents on billboards in prominent public spaces, on OC Transpo buses and in sports arenas,” said Angela Keller-Herzog, Executive Director of the CAFES local environmental network.

City staff are currently studying the possibility of banning fossil fuel promotion in City facilities and will report back in Q3 of this year.

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Media Contact:

Pratigga Chowdhury

Communications & Events Organizer

[email protected]



About Ecology Ottawa

Ecology Ottawa is the heartbeat of the environmental movement in our nation’s capital, with a network of over tens of thousands of people. Ecology Ottawa is a not-for-profit, grassroots and volunteer-driven organization that organizes in communities, engages citizens, and collaborates with partners to create a green, resilient, and inclusive city.

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