Selecting media for Government of Canada advertising

Departments work closely with the Agency of Record (AOR) to select media based on a number of factors such as: campaign objectives, target audience and markets, timelines and budgets. To assist with this process, the AOR for the Government of Canada (GC) maintains cost guides with information about selected media with whom the AOR has pre-negotiated rates. Other sources are also used to plan campaigns including: Bureau of Measurement (BBM), Print Measurement Bureau (PMB), Alliance for Audited Media (AAM), NADbank, ComScore, Canadian Advertising Rates and Data (CARD), etc.

The cost guides are developed by medium and provide information to respond to national, provincial and regional requirements, including target markets, language, format, frequency, lead time, pre-negotiated advertising rates and media contact information. Not all media in Canada are listed in the cost guides and being listed is not a guarantee that a particular media outlet will be selected for GC advertising.

Some media suppliers, such as the ones listed below, are automatically eligible to be considered for inclusion in the cost guides:  

  • Radio and television broadcasters licensed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
  • Daily general interest newspapers with audited circulation by a recognized independent organization such as NADBank, the Print Measurement Bureau, the Audit Bureau of Circulations or the Canadian Circulations Audit Board
  • On-line media with appropriate editorial content
  • Specialty print publications, such as magazines and directories that are mainly devoted to a specific topic or sector (for example agriculture, arts, culture, entertainment, sports, finance, business, career, etc.)

Other general interest newspapers, including those targeting the general public, ethnic or Aboriginal audiences, must complete an application form to be eligible for inclusion in the cost guides.

Information on the eligibility criteria and the mandatory documents you will need to provide is outlined below.

Media cost guide application requirements

In order to be included in the media cost guides you must meet all of the following requirements.

Incomplete applications will be returned to the publishers with an explanatory note indicating which information is missing. Publishers must then provide the missing information or the application will not be considered further. In this case, a new application may be submitted at a later date for evaluation.

Please remember that the AOR is responsible for updating the cost guides and for evaluating newspapers in accordance with the eligibility criteria established by the GC. Evaluation results are communicated to the publisher in writing by the AOR.

Eligibility criteria

  • Be published and printed in Canada
  • Be a general-interest newspaper geared to the general public or to one or more ethnic or Aboriginal target audiences, and distributed at the national, regional, provincial or municipal level. A general-interest newspaper is defined based on the following requirements:
    • The newspaper must have a news-oriented front page containing news related to the market that it serves
    • The newspaper must have a clearly defined editorial page
    • The newspaper must contain substantial news related to the market that it serves, including news of general interest regarding current happenings and passing events of various natures, such as political, social, religious, cultural, commercial, financial, legal, etc.
    • The newspaper must be distributed throughout the territory that it serves
  • Be published on a regular, pre-determined basis for a period of at least 12 consecutive months
  • Be published in a format consistent with industry practices. In accordance with these practices, the following requirements must be met:
    • Page layout must be handled electronically
    • The newspaper must be published in tabloid or broadsheet format
    • The newspaper must be printed on newsprint stock
    • The newspaper must contain a minimum of 8 pages and these must be numbered
    • The date and title of the newspaper must be visible on each page
  • Contain no more than 70% advertising throughout the newspaper and on the cover page
  • Ensure that editorial content be of a nature and intent not to:
    • Incite racial hatred
    • Incite discrimination of any kind
    • Incite the subversion of Canada's democratic system of government

Mandatory documents

  • Evaluation Questionnaire duly completed and signed by the Publisher
  • Circulation Sworn Statement duly completed and signed by a commissioner for oaths, a notary, a lawyer or another authorized person

Note: The Commissioner for Oaths is an individual legally empowered to administer oath. The appointment may be limited to one province or territory or may include multiple provinces and territories of Canada, or another country. Other people have the authority to administer oaths by virtue of their positions or occupations, such as lawyers and notaries. The Commissioner for Oaths must require the person making the oath to sign the document in their presence, as the commissioner must be able to attest to both the oath and the person's signature. The Commissioner for Oaths is not required to verify the accuracy of a statement sworn under oath. The person making the oath is responsible for the content of the document.

  • Current advertising rate card, indicating if rates are net or gross

Note: The Government of Canada only pays net advertising rates.

  • Complete copies of the last three consecutive issues of the newspaper

Additional requirements

  • Additional copies of the newspaper upon request
  • Provide a written notice of any increase in advertising rates at least 90 days prior to these changes taking effect
  • Provide a written notice of other changes affecting the newspaper's application (for example new format, new date of publication)
  • Provide a new Circulation Sworn Statement for changes affecting a statement provided earlier

Note: The Government of Canada reserves the right to verify, at any time and without notice, whether newspapers listed in its media planning cost guides remain compliant with the eligibility criteria and consistent with the information submitted on their applications. Newspapers found to be non-compliant or inconsistent will be notified and their file will be re-evaluated.

To obtain an application form, including the mandatory documents, or for more information, please send an email to

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