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Press release  •  1 min

Équiterre lodges complaint against Toyota ad

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Montreal, June 27, 2024 - Équiterre has filed a complaint with the Office de protection du consommateur (OPC) concerning an advertising campaign by Toyota Canada, which the organization contends may contravene the Consumer Protection Act (CPA).

The campaign in question promotes the new gasoline-powered Tacoma light-duty truck on Facebook through two video spots (#1 and #2).

"While we await our governments to finally be consistent with our electrification targets and regulate vehicle advertising, especially for large gasoline models, we must speak out. This complaint could have been filed much earlier and for numerous other car advertisements, but we hope this instance sets a precedent."

-Anne-Catherine Pilon, sustainable mobility analyst at Équiterre

Équiterre has recently unveiled a report examining potential regulatory pathways to control the advertising, sale, and use of polluting vehicles, drawing inspiration from the successful strategies used to regulate tobacco products.

A petition initiated by the organization to tighten the regulatory framework for car advertising has recently reached over 20,000 signatures.

Suspected Breaches of Consumer Legislation

According to Équiterre, Toyota's advertisement may violate Article 219 of the CPA, which prohibits false or misleading representations to consumers.

"The advertisements depict dangerous off-road and hazardous driving. These representations do not reflect the typical use of a vehicle by Quebec consumers," explains Me Julien O. Beaulieu, a lawyer specialized in greenwashing.

Équiterre argues that the advertisements may also infringe upon Article 228 of the law, which prohibits the omission of significant facts to consumers.

"The campaign omits critical information about the risks associated with reckless vehicle use and the substantial environmental impact of gas-powered vehicles. Consequently, it presents a false or misleading portrayal of reality: it neglects to inform viewers that such driving practices should be avoided, that it is often illegal to drive in these natural areas, and it fails to disclose the ecological footprint. It’s problematic," concludes Anne-Catherine Pilon.

Les bureaux d’Équiterre sont situés sur les territoires autochtones non cédés par voie de traité que nous appelons de nos jours Montréal et Québec. Nous reconnaissons que les Premiers Peuples protègent leurs territoires depuis des temps immémoriaux et utilisent leurs savoirs traditionnels pour garder les terres et les eaux. Nous sommes reconnaissant(e)s de vivre sur ce territoire et tenons à poursuivre nos efforts pour le protéger. Pour en savoir plus

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