A Montreal lawyer has filed a request for a class action suit against the McDonald's restaurant chain, claiming the company's advertising illegally targets children.

Joey Zukran claims the fast food chain’s Happy Meal toys break Quebec law by marketing to children under 13 years old.

Zukran says the rules are clear in Quebec: advertising that incites children to want to buy a product or get someone else to buy it for them is against the province’s consumer laws.

"It's very clear that there's a violation," said Zukran.

That would include, according to Zukran, display cases at a child's eye level and any advertising on screens or posters inside the restaurant. 

"It's prohibited by law because it incites young children to want to purchase the item just because it comes with a toy," said Zukran.

McDonald's declined to comment.

Zukran is not the only one who believes McDonald's is breaking the rules: the Weight Coalition, a lobby group working to prevent obesity, recently filed a similar complaint with Quebec's consumer protection watchdog, Office de la protection du consommateur.

The Weight Coalition claims that McDonald's is notoriously aggressive when it comes to marketing to children and that it has an impact on their health.

“The toys are creating an effective relationship with the meal, so that’s part of the problem. Also, because it’s a promotion of a collection in a limited time, it also encourages kids to ask their parents to come back and buy another meal,” said the group’s director, Corinne Voyer.

In 2012, a judge in San Francisco threw out a proposed class action suit to ban Happy Meal toys in California.

Zukran said he is well aware of that case, adding that our laws are different – and among the strictest in the world.

It typically takes about one year for a judge to determine if a class action case may proceed or not.