Frequently asked questions
- 1. Government of Canada advertising - general
- 2. Annual Report on Government of Canada advertising activities
- 2.1 What is Public Services and Procurement Canada's (PSPC) role in the production of the Annual Report on Government of Canada advertising activities?
- 2.2 What is the process to produce the Annual Report on Government of Canada advertising activities?
- 2.3 What is the release date for the Annual Report on Government of Canada advertising activities?
- 2.4 Can I find information about advertising expenditures in the Annual Report on Government of Canada advertising activities?
- 3. Procurement of planning and creative services
- 4. Media selection
- 5. Procurement of media space
1. Government of Canada advertising - general
1.1 What is advertising?
The Communications Policy of the Government of Canada defines advertising as, "Any message conveyed in Canada or abroad and paid for by the government for placement in media such as newspapers, television, radio, Internet, cinema and out-of-home."
1.2 What is the purpose of advertising within the Government of Canada?
Through advertising, Canadians learn first-hand about the government's policies and priorities, as well as the programs and services available to individuals, families and businesses. It provides information directly to the public on issues of importance to them and helps them make informed choices about their health, safety, security, finances and general well-being. The government also uses advertising to alert Canadians about environmental, public health and safety issues and to notify people about their legal rights.
1.3 How do you measure the effectiveness of government advertising campaigns?
Major campaigns are pre-tested prior to being launched and post-campaign evaluations are also carried out. This is usually done by telephone survey to assess awareness of the campaign and its messages. In addition, each campaign has its own series of specific, measurable objectives based on the call to action. These could include such things as calls to 1-800-O-Canada, increased take-up of the specific service being advertised, attendance at a specific event, etc. The departments involved conduct these evaluations.
2. Annual Report on Government of Canada advertising activities
2.1 What is Public Services and Procurement Canada's role in the production of the Annual Report on Government of Canada advertising activities?
Under the Directive on the Management of Communications, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is required to produce an annual report on government advertising activities. As a common service organization for the Government of Canada, PSPC issues all advertising services contracts and provides advertising-related advisory and training services to departments. PSPC also manages the Agency of Record that develops media plans and purchases media space and time for departments, as well as maintains an information system that they use to report on their advertising activities. This information forms the basis of the annual report. The first annual report was produced in 2002-03.
2.2 What is the process to produce the Annual Report on Government of Canada advertising activities?
Production of the annual report starts after departments have completed their campaigns and expenditure information has been collected and validated with advertising agencies and media suppliers across Canada. Once all the costs have been accounted for PSPC obtains a signed statement of completeness from each of the 100-plus departments that are required to report their advertising activities. Final text and charts are translated into both official languages before publication. The process typically takes 12 to 16 months.
2.3 What is the release date for the Annual Report on Government of Canada advertising activities?
Beginning in 2017, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) will release the Annual Report on Government of Canada advertising activities on the last business day in January. The report is published on the PSPC website once all the information from departments, advertising agencies and media suppliers has been collected and validated. The publication dates for previous reports are as follows:
|Fiscal year||Publication date|
|2002 to 2003||December 12, 2003|
|2003 to 2004||May 12, 2005|
|2004 to 2005||April 7, 2006|
|2005 to 2006||March 29, 2007|
|2006 to 2007||July 28, 2008|
|2007 to 2008||July 24, 2009|
|2008 to 2009||June 10, 2010|
|2009 to 2010||December 11, 2011|
|2010 to 2011||August 31, 2012|
|2011 to 2012||March 8, 2013|
|2012 to 2013||February 7, 2014|
|2013 to 2014||April 2, 2015|
|2014 to 2015||February 10, 2016|
|2015 to 2016||February 1, 2017|
2.4 Can I find information about advertising expenditures in the Annual Report on Government of Canada advertising activities?
The Advertising Annual Reports includes summary expenditure information by department, a breakdown by media type and detailed expenditures for large campaigns (over $500,000).
PSPC does not disclose detailed information about the amounts paid to individual media outlets through its Agency of Record as this is considered confidential and could interfere with contractual negotiations of the Government of Canada and prejudice the competitive position of a third party.
3. Procurement of planning and creative services
3.1 What are the procurement tools to buy advertising services?
Government departments can use standing offers, supply arrangements and Requests for proposals to acquire advertising agency services. PSPC awards all advertising contracts on behalf of departments. These contracts are awarded through competitive solicitation processes to suppliers who meet the government's requirements.
A standing offer is not a contract but an offer from a supplier to provide goods and/or services to clients at prearranged prices or on a prearranged pricing basis. A separate contract is entered into each time a call-up is made against a standing offer.
Calls ups against the standing offers are distributed proportionally to suppliers based on the ranking they received during evaluations.
A supply arrangement is a non-binding agreement between PSPC and a supplier who is pre-qualified to provide goods or services to the Government of Canada. PSPC, on behalf of government departments, can solicit proposals from the pool of pre-qualified supply arrangement holders.
Supply arrangements are generally used for individual advertising campaigns determined to have a value greater than $350,000, excluding the media placement component, which is carried out by the Agency of Record under a separate contract.
Requests for proposals
PSPC may publish Requests for proposals for advertising services on buyandsell.gc.ca (the Government of Canada's procurement website for government buyers and industry suppliers). These opportunities are open for bidding by any interested supplier.
These requirements are typically of a more complex nature, having multiple themes and/or components, usually spanning more than one year regardless of dollar value.
3.2 Can you award advertising contracts to foreign companies?
Canadian content rules apply to the government's procurement of advertising services. The Canadian Content Policy encourages industrial development in Canada by limiting, in specific circumstances, competition for government procurement opportunities to suppliers of Canadian goods and services.
4. Media selection
4.1 What is the process to choose media in which government departments advertise?
Government departments decide on which media to use for their advertising. With a contract in place, departments work with their lead agency to provide strategic advice and to produce campaign creative concepts based on the objectives of their campaign. Departments work with the Agency of Record (AOR) to develop media plans.
Once a media plan is approved, it is submitted to the Government of Canada's Agency of Record for implementation.
The selection of media is based on a number of factors, including campaign objectives, target audiences and markets, type, time and reach of the campaign, budgets and costs of various media options (which is usually based on a range of information on each media, including format, publication or broadcast frequency, circulation, etc.).
5. Procurement of media space
5.1 What is the role of the Agency of Record?
The Government of Canada's Agency of Record (AOR) develops media plans and purchases the media approved by departments and their advertising agencies. The AOR also negotiates the price, verifies the placement of media time and space and settles the invoices with media suppliers. Furthermore, the AOR provides corporate services such as templates and tools that departments can use to develop their media plans and reports.
5.2 Where can I find information about the costs for media placement?
Information on how much was spent in various media (television, radio, print, etc.) is available in the Advertising Annual Reports on Government of Canada advertising activities. PSPC does not disclose detailed information about the specific amounts paid to individual media outlets through its AOR. This information is considered confidential and could interfere with contractual negotiations of the Government of Canada and prejudice the competitive position of a third party.
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