Chapter 2: Ethical and Legal Considerations for Practicing Public Relations in Canada

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you will be able to

  • Discuss the history of establishing ethical standards in public relations in the USA and Canada
  • Understand the importance of ethical standards in public relations
  • Understand the growth and implications of fake news in mainstream media

This  chapter discusses several key texts which construct one historical narrative of public relations ethics in Canada over the past century. In the 20th century, understandings of Canadian public relations and public relations ethics was dominated by the United States. The Canadian experience draws on documents from both Canada and the US, written from the early 1900s to the present day. Starting with Ivy Lee’s Declaration of Principles in 1905, these documents provide interesting historical traces which reflect specific understandings of both ethics and public relations.
The texts discussed in this chapter represents the collectively held knowledge and history of the discipline of public relations. Their narratives have served to define understandings of public relations ethics over the past century. The particular historical traces featured in this chapter represent one written history, constructed within specific contexts.

Key Terms

Code of Ethics
Declaration of Principles
Fake news
Professional conduct



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