Students get smart about marketing messages at launch of Media Literacy Week

November 01, 2013

Ottawa ... To kick off the eighth annual Media Literacy Week, high school students from across Canada spent the morning discussing marketing and consumerism with a panel of experts. The students, who are taking part in the Encounters with Canada youth forum program, explored a wide-range of marketing issues affecting youth, including food advertising, body image, marketing practices on cell phones and apps, and alcohol and tobacco promotions.

Media Literacy Week, which runs Nov. 4-8, is hosted by MediaSmarts and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF). This year’s theme -- What’s Being Sold? Helping Kids Make Sense of Marketing Messages -- encourages educators and parents to talk to children and teens about the marketing they encounter on a daily basis.

“Young people are exposed to a wide variety of marketing messages on an increasing number of media platforms” says Cathy Wing, Co-Executive Director of MediaSmarts. “It’s important they have the critical thinking skills to understand when they’re being targeted and to respond as informed consumers.”

“Teachers see first-hand how advertising influences the manner in which students perceive themselves and the world around them,” says CTF President Dianne Woloschuk. “As a national teacher organization, we believe in helping students develop a critical eye with respect to media advertising which will help them make wise and healthy decisions".

The panel included speakers from The Globe and Mail, the Canadian Marketing Association, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the University of Ottawa. Students and teachers in the Yukon also joined in through a live broadcast.

The week has the support of over 70 organizations, including Gold Sponsors Bell, YouTube, Yukon Education and the Yukon Teachers’ Association, and the Silver Sponsor TELUS. For a full list, visit: To view the collaborating organizations, see:

Resources on marketing and consumerism for parents, teachers and youth can be found on the Media Literacy Week website at


MediaSmarts is a Canadian not-for-profit centre for digital and media literacy. Its vision is that young people have the critical thinking skills to engage with media as active and informed digital citizens. @mediasmarts.

The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) is an alliance of 17 Member organizations including one Affiliate Member and one Associate Member representing 200,000 teachers across the country. The CTF is also a member of the international body of teachers Education International (EI). Follow CTF on Twitter @CTFPresident, @CanTeachersFed, @EnseigneCanada.


Maya Shoucair, Communications Officer, MediaSmarts, 613-224-7721, ext. 231, [email protected]

Francine Filion, Director of Communications, Canadian Teachers' Federation, 613-688-4314, [email protected]