Advertising budgets and expenditures—2015 to 2016 Annual report on Government of Canada advertising activities

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Activities and expenditures associated with campaign strategic planning, the production of creative materials, media planning and the purchase of media space and time are documented in this report.

How it works

The process for the allocation and management of advertising expenditures was established in 2004. It is designed to ensure that advertising campaigns align to government priorities, comply with government policies, procedures and legislation, and address the information needs of Canadians.

Institutions have the choice to pay for their advertising initiatives from their internal budgets or to obtain funding from the central advertising fund. Generally, the bulk of government advertising campaigns are funded from the latter.

To access the central advertising fund, institutions work with the Privy Council Office to develop advertising proposals that are based on government priorities. The result is an annual advertising plan which is presented to Cabinet for approval. The plan is then submitted to Treasury Board for funding approval and to Parliament for final approval of appropriations to specific institutions.

Funds allocated from the central advertising fund are reported on the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat website at Government advertising.

Table 1: Central advertising fund allocations for 2015 to 2016 (in millions of dollars)
Institutions Campaigns Allocations
Department of Finance Canada Economic Action Plan 11
Canadian Heritage Canada 150 7.2
Canada Revenue Agency Encouraging the Uptake of Tax Measures 6
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Royal Canadian Mounted Police Recruitment 6
Public Works and Government Services Canada Whole-of-Government Web Buy 5
Employment and Social Development Canada Enhanced Universal Child Care Benefit 4.5
Employment and Social Development Canada Better Jobs (Skills Initiatives) 3.5
Public Health Agency of Canada Vaccination Awareness 3.5
Veterans Affairs Canada Remembrance Vignette 3.5
Citizenship and Immigration Canada Services to Newcomers (A Fast and Flexible Immigration System) 3
National Defence Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment 2
Health Canada Preventing the Illicit Use of Marijuana 1
Grand total 56.2

Source: Allocations from the Central Advertising Fund

Summary of expenditures

Advertising expenditures fluctuate from year to year depending on government priorities. In 2015 to 2016, expenditures dropped by $26.5 million or 38.6% compared to the previous year, largely because of the mandatory suspension of advertising during the federal election that lasted 94 days. Expenditures fell from $68.7 million in 2014 to 2015 to $42.2 million in 2015 to 2016.

The following chart provides a ten-year perspective of advertising spending by the Government of Canada.

Chart 1: Advertising expenditures: A ten year perspective

Chart 1: Advertising expenditures—a ten year perspective - Text version below the image.

Image description of chart 1

This line chart shows the amount of total expenditures for the Government of Canada in millions of dollars over a ten year period with explanations of fluctuations that occurred year over year.

Table 2: Advertising expenditures 2015 to 2016 (in millions of dollars)
Expenditures by type of advertisingFootnote 1 Total
Advertising campaigns 39.2
Public Notices purchased through the Government of Canada’s Agency of record 0.2
Public Notices purchased directly by departments 2.7
Grand total 42.2

A word about public notices

A public notice is a form of advertising. Public notices are typically used for routine business matters, such as regulatory or administrative announcements. Public notices are the only advertising for which institutions have the option to purchase the media space or time directly from media outlets, that is, without involving the Government’s Agency of record (AOR).

Here are some examples of public notices from 2015 to 2016.

An example of a public notice from the Department of Justice. Canada’s External Panel was seeking input from the public on the new physician-assisted dying law
An example of an important notice from the Canadian Grain Commission about the changes to wheat classes and variety designations
An example of a tender Notice Sale from the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada of forage crops from several fields located at the Atlantic Cool Climate Crop Research Centre

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