RONA, the home improvement store, has been a Canadian staple since it first opened its doors back in 1939. But now, the originally Quebec based chain has lost the ability to call itself Canadian. A complaint was filed with the advertising regulator Ad Standards over the use of the words "Truly Canadian" and "Proudly Canadian" that were often displayed in large letters on RONA storefronts.
The Accuracy and Clarity complainant alleged the statements are inaccurate because RONA is no longer a Canadian company since it was bought by retail giant Lowe's — a U.S. company.
While RONA was founded in Quebec and still maintains its headquarters in Boucherville, it has been considered a non-Canadian entity since 2016.
The council came to the decision that RONA would have to remove its signs as the "claim 'Truly Canadian' conveyed an inaccurate general impression."
RONA was not pleased with the final decision as they made very clear in a statement, "while RONA respects the Ad Standards process, it strongly disagrees with the Standards Council’s conclusion. RONA’s entire history is rooted in Canada, starting with its creation..."
It went on to outline that in all of its stores (barring one exception), employees and the executive team are based in Canada, it is incorporated in Quebec under Quebec law, and that it has deep ties to Canada and Canadian culture.
The statement ended with, "finally, RONA is an active Canadian corporate citizen, supporting over 260 local not-for-profit organizations and public schools across the country in communities where it is present."
Both RONA and Lowe's "strongly disagree" with the ruling, but will remove the signs in accordance with the decision.
RONA was founded by Rolland Dansereau and Napoleon Piotte and was originally known as "Les Marchands en Quincaillerie" (The Merchants of Hardware) — a group of independent hardware retailers who wanted to save money by bypassing retailers and dealing directly with manufacturers.
It wasn't until 1960 that it became known as RONA, using the first two letters of Dansereau and Piotte's first names.
To read the full complaint case summary, head over to Ad Standards.