CannabPolicy (2014) on Compliance with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules is Related Grants
As a small not-for-profit organization promoting evidence-based research and education concerning the endocannabinoid system and therapeutic applications of endocannabinoid and cannabinoid agents, the CCIC must ensure all initiatives are compliant with the CASL. This policy has been developed to establish internal procedures and monitoring for compliance with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules and Canada’s Anti-spam Legislation (CASL).
This policy outlines the compliance program with Canada’s Anti-spam Legislation. This policy ensures the CCIC is taking appropriate steps to comply with the CASL.
Electronic communications from the Consortium shall be in compliance with the CASL through the following internal procedures:
- Including CASL required information in electronic communications
- Reviewing consent process of current contacts
- Ensuring consent is received from prospective contacts
- Establishing straightforward mechanisms to unsubscribe
- Including the requirement to comply with the CASL as part of future third party agreements to ensure they comply with the rules
- Identifying a point person for compliance within the Consortium
Required Inclusions on Electronic Communications
In compliance with the CASL all electronic communications distributed by the CCIC must include:
CCIC address and contact information
Consent to Receive Electronic Communications
Existing Members and Supporters
The application to join the CCIC includes the following mandatory question to ensure consent to belong to our mailing list and receive electronic communications:
Do you agree to belong to the CCIC mailing list. Belonging to the CCIC mailing list will enable you to receive Newsletters, Newsflashes, CCIC promotional materials and other updates. You will be able to withdraw your consent at any time.* _ Yes _ No
Additionally the CCIC will prompt all existing members and supporters to renew their affiliation with the Consortium to ensure we have current contact information. This process will take place prior to the 2015 annual general meeting of the CCIC.
Prior to July 1, 2014 the CCIC emailed all existing non-member/supporter contacts to secure explicit consent to remain included in future electronic communications. See Appendix A. Persons consenting remained in the CCIC contact list, all non-responders and unsubscribes were eliminated from the CCIC contact list.
Emails confirming consent will be retained within the email@example.com account.
Emails requesting to unsubscribe will be retained within the firstname.lastname@example.org account.
To ensure any future additional contacts consent to receiving electronic communications from the CCIC the following question will be inserted. For example, this will be included in the CCIC event registration process or during conference networking initiatives.
Do you consent to belong to the CCIC mailing list. Belonging to the CCIC mailing list will enable you to receive Newsletters, Newsflashes, CCIC promotional materials and other updates. You will be able to withdraw your consent at any time.* _ Yes _ No
Unsubscribing and Complaints
You can withdraw your consent to receive electronic communications at any time by clicking the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of any communication you receive from us, or by contacting email@example.com to request in writing that you be removed from our subscribed email list. Complaints can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org which will be provided to the Executive Director and addressed to ensure the Consortium is continuing to comply with the CASL. Records of complaints will be kept in the CCIC staff share folder.
Procedures for Dealing with Third Parties
The Consortium will include the provision that any third party as defined by having a signed Memoranda of Understanding, Contracts, subcontracts, or Outsourcing must comply with the CASL. The signed document will include:
Any electronic communications done on behalf of the CCIC will be done in compliance with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules.
Compliance with the CASL will be ensured by the Executive Director.
Policy (2012) on Receiving Financial Support from the Pharmaceutical Industry and Medically-Related Products Industry
The CCIC is nurturing a mutually beneficial relationship between the corporate sector and itself. Pharmaceutical companies are being asked to offer support for CCIC programs and because of possible perceptions of conflict of interest between the CCIC and pharmaceutical companies, this Policy on Receiving Financial Support from the Pharmaceutical Industry and Medically-Related Products Industry (hereinafter called the Pharmaceutical Policy) has been developed to assist the CCIC in dealing with the issues.
The CCIC considers the same policy to apply to the relationship between it and pharmaceutical companies, manufacturers and/or distributors of therapeutic devices and of non-prescription health care products, such as vitamins and dietary supplements.
Pharmaceutical companies support voluntary health agencies for several reasons: to enhance patient and professional education programs and research under the auspices of an organization that serves the needs of individuals concerned with given illnesses; and to provide a means of increasing corporate visibility outside of the normal marketing or advertising channels. In most cases, companies will support a voluntary health agency’s programs if their own corporate Research & Development strategy is focused on development of agents for treating the disease(s) that are of concern to the agency. In other cases, support will be provided simply in the spirit of good citizenship.
Support may be in the form of unrestricted grants and/or information about a company’s product and/or monetary support for educational programs, conferences, publications, fund raising events and research projects.
Benefits to the CCIC
Allowing the health care related industry (including pharmaceutical companies that produce cannabinoid drugs and those who do not, manufacturers and/or distributors of therapeutic devices and of non-prescription health care products, such as vitamins and dietary supplements) to support the CCIC can aid in fulfilling the mission of the organization. Such funds can be essential in the support of programs and research that the CCIC wants to conduct but cannot support out of current funding. The CCIC will accept funds only if provided without restrictions, with control over program and research content and/or development maintained as the responsibility of the CCIC.
Risks to the CCIC
The main risks to the CCIC of accepting support from such companies are that the CCIC may be perceived as endorsing a company’s product(s) and/or be perceived by clients and/or physicians as a ‘salesman’ for the product(s). However, procedures can be put in place to allow for the acceptance of support for educational programs, research and fund raising events without such perceptions arising.
A specific concern relating to support from companies manufacturing and/or distributing therapies that modify the course of the disease or treat specific symptoms relates to the introduction of these drugs as new treatments: By soliciting and accepting support from the companies, it may create the perception that funds provided to us for education programs and research are contributing to the price of the drug or projected availability.
After review, the positive aspects of accepting program and research funds from pharmaceutical companies outweigh the negative aspects, and will allow the CCIC to undertake programs that are compatible with its Mission and meet its ethical and social responsibilities as long as the guidelines outlined in this Policy are followed.
The following seven overall guidelines summarize how the CCIC should act when receiving financial support of any kind from pharmaceutical companies, manufacturers and/or distributors of therapeutic devices and of non-prescription health care products. The supplementary guidelines provide more detailed guidance for specific program areas and are an integral part of this Pharmaceutical Policy.
- A written agreement between the supporting company and the CCIC must be developed recognizing the autonomy and independence of the CCIC and its activities separate from any influence of the supporting company. This agreement must stipulate that the supported program serves a scientific, educational or client-benefit purpose and is not for the purpose of promoting/prioritizing any product.
- This written agreement should include a statement that funds from a pharmaceutical company must be made payable to the CCIC. Acceptance of unrestricted funds by the CCIC should in no way be considered as an endorsement of any drugs or products manufactured or distributed by the contributing company. (See also Appendix B re additional guidelines and the use of the CCIC corporate logo/mark.)
- The CCIC initiated research projects, sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, must have formal approval by the CCIC, be ethically defensible, socially responsible and scientifically valid. Participation of the CCIC in pharmaceutical company initiated research projects must also have formal approval of the CCIC.
- The pharmaceutical company must not influence the presentation of information by the CCIC about its product or otherwise use the presentation as an advertising vehicle for its own use. The CCIC will rely on documented scientific evidence and the advice of knowledgeable medical practitioners in presenting such information. The CCIC will acknowledge support of sponsoring companies as stated in number six below.
- The CCIC staff and advisors are solely responsible for the identification of needs, determination of objectives, selection of content and speakers (where such are used), educational methods and materials. Whenever possible, speakers should use generic names of products rather than trade names during educational programs.
- Acknowledgement of financial support by sponsoring companies must be made for all supported programs and research. However, references must not be made to specific products but only to the corporate name.
- The CCIC volunteers and staff must not accept gifts and/or honoraria for personal use from the pharmaceutical industry.
Financial support is solicited or offered in support of the CCIC educational programs which are developed for health care professionals. When such support is received the following must be adhered to:
- Any monetary support should be provided in the form of an unrestricted educational grant. This means that while the company may make suggestions, it cannot determine program content, budget, selection of speakers or support material. It is acceptable for the funding source to restrict donated funds to certain elements of a program, e.g. speaker costs, travel, refreshments or materials.
- Speakers must be informed in advance of the requirement for a balanced presentation about the range of therapies. Speakers must present all current and new information, provide accurate and unbiased information and have the ability to answer questions about all therapies clearly and objectively.
- A company sales representative may not present educational material.
- Wherever possible, sponsorship should be obtained from more than one company to avoid the perception of undue influence or favoritism.
- The explicit disclosure of the nature and extent of the support for the program and/or speakers should be made public at the meeting. Speakers should also disclose to the audience any working financial relationships they may have with sponsoring companies.
Educational materials such as booklets, brochures, leaflets, newsletters, posters, videos, etc., may be written and produced with the assistance of an unrestricted educational grant from a pharmaceutical or medically related company. As with educational programs, this means that while the company may make suggestions, it cannot determine content, budget, selection of writers or illustrators. It is acceptable for the funding source to restrict donated funds to particular material(s).
The company should be acknowledged in the produced material(s). (See Appendix A for examples of acceptable credit lines and disclaimers.)
Sponsorship of the CCIC Events and Other Fund Raising Activities
It is in the best interests of the CCIC to apply standard corporate sponsorship policies and guidelines to pharmaceutical and medically-linked companies. For example, developing sponsorship categories with corresponding dollar values and key benefits (logo and corporate recognition, etc.). Written agreements must be developed specifically defining sponsor benefits, including rights, public relations/personal appearances, and future options.
A request that does not fall within the CCIC’s sponsorship categories or guidelines would require careful consideration by the Board of Directors.
PLEASE NOTE, ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF SPONSORSHIP SUPPORT CAN BE MADE ONLY TO THE CORPORATE NAME NOT TO THE SPECIFIC PRODUCT.
It is the responsibility of all levels of the CCIC to maintain confidentiality. Member lists are not to be provided or shared with any external sources. Participant evaluations of educational programs must be anonymous. Participants attending programs may choose to sign a company mailing list, but if this action takes place at a CCIC sponsored program, it must be made clear in advance that this is a personal decision and not associated with the CCIC.
Pharmaceutical Company Displays and Materials
It is illegal in Canada for pharmaceutical companies to advertise prescription drugs directly to consumers. Therefore, pharmaceutical companies cannot set up a display booth to promote the company’s prescription drugs at any CCIC organized/attended program or event. The company can act as a sponsor and be offered the opportunity to be recognized in meeting programs, on signs and through oral acknowledgement. Only the name of the company can be used, not the product.
- It is acceptable to have available at a workshop or educational session, company brochures or other hand-outs providing the information is restricted to describing the company’s information or product support telephone lines and web sites. Such materials can be made available to individuals who wish to have them (for example, placed on a table in the room), but should not be distributed to each participant. It is not acceptable for the company to attempt to sell their drug product at a workshop or educational session.
- The direct participation of company information and product support telephone line staff at a workshop or educational session is discouraged. If they are invited to attend, they should not present information, but only answer direct questions.
Therapeutic devices and non-prescription health care products can be promoted to the general public since these devices do not claim to treat or cure a disease or condition. Therefore, display booths of such products as wheelchairs, walkers and other equipment can be set up at CCIC programs or events and can be acknowledged in meeting programs, on signs and through oral acknowledgement.
Processes Within The CCIC
As stated in the Corporate Solicitation Policy (see below) the solicitation of businesses, corporations and foundations is the responsibility of the head office.
The CCIC Board will review the CCIC proposed contacts with companies falling within the Pharmaceutical Policy and will review the outcomes of those contacts on a yearly basis. In addition, the committee will have the responsibility for reviewing questions, as they may arise, of appropriate agreements or ethical issues and providing guidance. Staff support for the committee will be the executive director.
Corporate Solicitation Policy
“The solicitation of businesses, corporations and foundations is the responsibility of the head office. Head office will use whatever methods are appropriate to solicit support and/or sponsorships, including direct mail, telephone, and person-to-person contact.
Credit Lines and Disclaimers
The following are examples of acceptable credit lines:
For CCIC Originated and Printed Material:
“Publication of this (booklet) (pamphlet) was made possible by an unrestricted educational grant from the XYZ company. (Company logo can be used).”
For CCIC Produced Audio-Visual Material:
“Produced by the CCIC, supported by an unrestricted educational grant from the XYZ company. (Company logo may be used).”
If the CCIC is involved in the preparation of material about cannabinoids for a company, the CCIC’s assistance can be publicly acknowledged. However, the content should not include product identification: ‘Prepared with technical assistance from the CCIC.’
In addition to the credit line, a disclaimer is also required on publications and other materials. The following are examples of acceptable disclaimers:
“Acceptance of this unrestricted educational grant by the CCIC does not constitute endorsement by the CCIC of any product(s) of XYZ Company. The CCIC does not approve, endorse or recommend any specific product or therapy but provides information to assist individuals in making their own decisions.”
“The CCIC is an independent, voluntary health agency and does not approve, endorse or recommend any specific product or therapy but provides information to assist individuals in making their own decisions.”
Guidelines Regarding the Potential Linking of the CCIC Corporate Mark (Logo) and Commercial Products
To overcome any perception of endorsement, any action to link the CCIC corporate mark (logo) with a particular product or company must first be reviewed and approved by the Board of Directors and must meet the following recommended guidelines:
- The CCIC and the company shall ensure that all advertising is balanced, accurate and fair.
- The company must say that the CCIC has not endorsed its product if the CCIC has not.
- The company cannot claim that the product is superior to or preferable to competitors’ products unless the statement is true and the CCIC agrees it is true.
- Advertisements must clearly and conspicuously disclose if the company has paid for the use of the CCIC’s name or corporate mark (logo).
- Advertisements must be true, accurate and informative to the public as to how buying the company’s product will affect charitable contributions.
- Advertising partnerships between a company and the CCIC should avoid exclusive product sponsorships.