Report ad tool

Snap It, Report it. New YWCA Tool Helps You Report Problematic Ads

by Lori Boland

It’s time to challenge the media that shapes our lives.

Media is a powerful tool; it informs how we see each other, ourselves and the world around us. More than just entertainment, media permeates our relationships, communities and policies. Sexualization and hypermasculinization in media impacts all levels of society and present major hurdles on the path towards gender equality. Realistic representations of men and women reflect diversity and individuality and are rooted in tenets of equality like respect, equal access to resources and safety from violence. Although sexist ads surround us, there is something we can do about it. YWCA Metro Vancouver is taking action towards eradicating unrealistic and harmful imagery in Canadian media.

You can report an ad here. 

Did you know that you can take individual action against sexualization in advertising?

The Canadian Code of Advertising Standards (Ad Standards) is responsible for upholding the integrity of all advertising in Canada. They are responsible for making sure ads include fair, equal and realistic portrayals of gender, sexuality and diversity. Despite the great work that Ad Standards is doing, most Canadians are unaware that they have the power to report ads that do not align with these regulations. The YWCA Media Complaints Toolkit leverages the work of Ad Standards Canada by giving people an additional avenue to take action. It will raise awareness and educate people about issues surrounding sexualization, hypermasculinization, gender equality and violence. The toolkit will allow individuals to lodge complaints against sexism and violence in Canadian media.

Example of an Identified Case by Advertising Standards

What Kind of Ads can I Submit?

If you see an ad in Canadian media that sexualizes or objectifies a person, promotes rigid gender stereotypes or glorifies violence, you can make a complaint to Ad Standards. These can be ads in public spaces like bus shelters or billboards, on television or radio, the internet or in the cinema. Adding your voice in this way will effect change for all Canadian citizens.

Major jurisdictions around the globe, including the UK, Australia, France, have implemented bold policy moves aimed at completely eliminating sexualized and degrading images from public spaces. We are inspired to see the shift in public opinion on this issue and are grateful to have the support of the Government of Canada for projects like this.

Join us in taking a stand against sexualized and hypermasculinized media.

Report it at

To learn more about the Culture Shift Project contact Lori Boland at | 604 895 5819

We would like to thank Ad Standards Canada for their ongoing work to make the media environment in Canada a safer and more equitable place for all Canadians, and for their support of the YWCA Metro Vancouver’s Media Complaints Toolkit.

The YWCA Culture Shift Project, a three-year initiative, is supported by the Government of Canada through a Status of Women Canada grant.