Toronto MPP wants disclaimers on airbrushed, altered images in advertising

File photo of Queen's Park in Toronto. Briana Carnegie / AM640 / Global News Toronto

A Liberal MPP is putting forward legislation he says will prevent advertisers from promoting “unachievable standards of beauty.”

Yvan Baker’s private member’s bill would require a disclaimer be displayed on any commercial advertising (photos or video) that features models whose images have been digitally altered.

READ MORE: France’s ban on excessively skinny models now in effect

Baker, who represents the west Toronto riding of Etobicoke Centre, said he plans to introduce the bill on Tuesday afternoon.

“Basically, this stems from the fact that when I was young, when I was in in my teens and 20s, I witnessed first-hand someone close to me struggling with an eating disorder,” he told 640 Toronto’s Matt Gurney.

LISTEN: MPP Yvan Baker joins the Exchange with Matt Gurney

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“And recently I’ve heard just too many stories of young people who’ve actually taken drastic action to conform to … what are unrealistic and unhealthy conceptions of beauty that we see espoused in our mainstream and social media.”

Baker said the bill would require advertisers to retain unedited copies of images used, which they would produce in the event of a complaint from the public. The penalty for non-compliance would be a fine, Baker said.

Private members’ bills rarely make the journey to become law, though it was Baker who originally introduced the private bill that resulted in a ban on some door-to-door sales that came into effect this month.

Baker admitted this bill will not pass in the current legislative session, which ends before the election in June, but said part of his intent is to start a dialogue about the issue.

READ MORE: Ontario bans door-to-door sales, but there are some exceptions

“Private members’ bills are tools for advocacy, and then the hope is that the government of the day, whether it be this government or the following one, takes it up and decides to pass it in a law.”

Last fall, similar legislation on PhotoShopped models appearing in advertising came into effect in France.


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