Canon pretty much tells you the cart is empty and continues printing even if its supposed to be empty with newer carts - the old models went "oh there's ink" and just printed - since the old models had nothing more than ink tanks - the newer ones have a chip that dosen't seem to have much of an effect.
Its also pretty easy to refill, and we tend to have carts last for the entire lifetime of the printer with third party ink. The most that happens when a canon MFD's ink is empty is you need to print faxes manually.
If you need to print black when colour is empty, many printers have a 'print black ink only' option that would help
AVOID dell and lexmark - they are impossible to refill apparently