Government of Canada advertising process

From: Public Services and Procurement Canada

Learn about the process that we use to develop advertising campaigns.

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Step 1: Developing an advertising plan

The process begins with the development of a Government of Canada advertising plan.

Our institutions work with the Privy Council Office to develop the plan. It supports the priorities identified in the speech from the throne and budget.

The advertising plan includes:

Step 2: Approvals

To move forward, we must approve both the advertising plan and funding.

Approves the advertising plan.
Treasury Board
Approves funding.

Step 3: Contracting advertising services

Following approvals, Government of Canada institutions work with Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to secure contracts for advertising services. The process includes preparing a statement of work, selecting service providers and finalizing contracts.

Statement of work

The institution first defines the project and what advertising services it needs using a statement of work.

The statement of work includes:

  • background information
  • services required
  • work and contract constraints

Selecting advertising service providers

We award advertising service contracts, 1 of 3 ways:

  • calling up a standing offer
  • holding a mini-competition between pre-approved agencies on a supply arrangement
  • submitting a request for proposal through

Suppliers must meet the requirements outlined in the statement of work.

Finalizing a contract

Following the selection process, PSPC issues the advertising contract.

Step 4: Developing a campaign

The institution works with its lead advertising agency to develop a campaign.

The role of the lead agency is to:

The role of the institution is to:

Step 5: Pre-testing

Institutions must pre-test campaigns with their target audience for media buys over $1 million.

Based on the testing results, institutions work with their lead agency to revise any materials as required.

Step 6: Non-partisan review

All Government of Canada advertising campaigns with budgets over $250,000 must be reviewed to ensure that creative materials are non-partisan. Advertising Standards Canada (ASC), the independent organization that administers the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, conducts the reviews on behalf of the Government of Canada.

As defined by Treasury Board policy, non-partisan advertising is:

Campaigns with smaller budgets may also be voluntarily submitted for review.

Compliance review and approval

Institutions provide final creative and media plans to PSPC who reviews for compliance with applicable legislation, policies, and standards.

Step 7: Placing the ad

PSPC issues an advertising authorization number after a successful compliance review.

The authorization allows our agency of record to purchase the media.

Learn how the process differs when buying advertising under $25,000.

Step 8: Evaluating the campaign

Government of Canada institutions track their campaign results using a variety of metrics. For campaigns with a media component of $1 million or more, institutions must conduct a standardized post-campaign evaluation.

The evaluation tracks the target audience's:

More information

Contact Government of Canada advertising.

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