FAQs on Public Relations and Advertising Materials

  1. What kinds of materials are considered "public relations materials?"
  2. What do I need to know about advertising?
  3. What is false, misleading or deceptive information?
  4. Does FSCO need to review or approve proposed advertising and promotional materials to ensure their compliance with new advertising requirements?
  5. How can I ensure that my promotional materials and/or advertising program will not result in a consumer making a complaint to FSCO?
  6. I operate a franchise office.  Can I advertise in the name of my franchise?
  7. I lead a team of mortgage agents.  Can I advertise under my team name?
  8. Do I need to use my broker/agent licence number in my advertising?
  9. After January 1, 2009, I will still have a large supply of advertising materials such as brochures and business cards that do not have the brokerage licence number on them. Can I continue to use these materials?
  10. What is considered "clearly and prominently disclosed" for public relations material?
  11. Can I use job titles like "mortgage consultant" or "specialist" in my advertising?
  12. It is not always possible to obtain the domain name you want on the Internet. Does my website and email address have to be in the name in which I am licensed?
  13. I operate as an administrator, what do I need to know about advertising?

1. What kinds of materials are considered "public relations materials?"

Public relations materials are materials that a mortgage brokerage, broker or agent makes available to the public in connection with its business activities.  Public relations materials include advertisements, public web pages and other materials that are published, circulated or broadcast by any means.

2. What do I need to know about advertising?

A brokerage must carry on business using only its authorized name. A broker or agent must deal or trade in mortgages using only the name in which they are licensed. 

Effective January 1, 2009, advertising by a brokerage must disclose the authorized name and licence number of the brokerage.  If the advertising material includes the name of a broker or agent, the licensed name of the broker or agent must be used.

False, misleading or deceptive information is prohibited.

3. What is false, misleading or deceptive information?

False, misleading or deceptive information is any information that it misrepresents or is so incomplete that it misrepresents the product.

4. Does FSCO need to review or approve proposed advertising and promotional materials to ensure their compliance with new advertising requirements?

No approvals from FSCO are required. 

5. How can I ensure that my promotional materials and/or advertising program will not result in a consumer making a complaint to FSCO?

One approach is to carefully evaluate the intent of your material or advertising activity and to consider whether any aspect of it could appear, to a reasonably informed individual, to be false or so incomplete to be misleading.

6. I operate a franchise office.  Can I advertise in the name of my franchise?

You may advertise in your franchise name if that is the authorized name of your brokerage. Your public relations materials must also clearly and prominently indicate that your office is independently owned and operated.

7. I lead a team of mortgage agents.  Can I advertise under my team name?

No. Advertising must be in the name of a licensed brokerage. To advertise under a team name would require that the team be licensed as a brokerage.

8. Do I need to use my broker/agent licence number in my advertising?

No. In advertising, brokers and agents must disclose their licensed name and the authorized name and licence number of the brokerage.  However, the legislation does not prevent you from using your licence number if you wish.

9. After January 1, 2009, I will still have a large supply of advertising materials such as brochures and business cards that do not have the brokerage licence number on them. Can I continue to use these materials?

As of January 1, 2009, you must comply with the requirements regarding public relations material.  The advertising requirements come into effect on January 1, 2009, a full six months after the effective date of the licensing requirements (July 1, 2008), so as to allow transition time for the industry.

10. What is considered "clearly and prominently disclosed" for public relations material?

All public relations materials must appear in such a way that a reasonable person would be able to easily identify the licensed brokerage and licensed broker or agent, and allows for the verification that the individual or entity is licensed.

11. Can I use job titles like "mortgage consultant" or "specialist" in my advertising?

As of January 1, 2009, you must include at least one reference to any of the titles below, and according to the licence you hold.

 

  • mortgage broker
  • broker
  • courtier en hypotheques
  • courtier
  • mortgage agent
  • agent
  • agent en hypotheques

The Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders and Administrators Act, 2006 (MBLAA) does not prohibit the use of other or secondary titles.

12. It is not always possible to obtain the domain name you want on the Internet. Does my website and email address have to be in the name in which I am licensed?

There is no requirement for the domain name and email address to be in the name in which you are licensed. However, an agent’s or broker’s website must clearly disclose the authorized name and licence number of the brokerage.

 

Emails must clearly disclose the authorized name and licence number of the brokerage and, if appropriate, the names of the licensee sending the email.

13. I operate as an administrator, what do I need to know about advertising?

You must clearly and prominently disclose your authorized name and licence number in all of the public relations materials.

 
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