‘Truly Canadian’? American-owned RONA removes signs after ad complaint

Home improvement chain says its ‘entire history is rooted in Canada’ despite ownership by Lowe’s.

Founded 80 years ago by two Quebec entrepreneurs, home improvement chain RONA has long considered itself a Canadian icon.

The retailer went so far as to paste the words “Truly Canadian” and “Proudly Canadian” in large letters on many of its storefronts.

But RONA — which was acquired by American retail giant Lowe’s in 2016 — has reluctantly removed those signs after Canada’s Ad Standards council found they “conveyed an inaccurate general impression” given the company’s new ownership.

According to a copy of the decision published on the council’s website, RONA fought the ruling by tracing “the Canadian roots of RONA, its many Canadian connections, and the number of high-level employees in RONA’s Canadian operations, who are Canadian.”

But the council’s decision said that “did not alter the fact that RONA is not owned and controlled by a ‘Truly Canadian’ entity.”

American-owned retail giant Lowe’s bought RONA in 2016 for $3.2 billion. As a result, the Ad Standards council decided RONA can’t advertise itself as ‘Truly Canadian.’ (Alan Diaz/Associated Press)