Introduction—2015 to 2016 Annual report on Government of Canada advertising activities

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The Government of Canada has a duty to inform Canadians about its programs, services, policies and decisions. Advertising is one of many ways the Government ensures that individuals, families and businesses have the information they need to exercise their rights and responsibilities and to make decisions about their health, safety and security.

Advertising can take many forms. 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. It is often used as part of a broader communications strategy to direct Canadians to sources, like, where they can obtain in-depth information about government initiatives or instructions on how to access specific programs and services.

In fiscal year 2015 to 2016, the Government of Canada spent $42.2 million on advertising, a reduction of $26.5 million from the previous year and the lowest amount since 2005 to 2006, when under similar circumstances, advertising was suspended for several months because of a general election.

During general elections, most government advertising is stopped from the date the electoral writ is dropped to the date the new government is sworn-in. There are exceptions for legal or administrative notices, health advisories and other urgent matters. In 2015 to 2016, advertising was suspended between August 2 and November 4, 2015.

Only two major campaigns were launched after the 2015 election. The first was the annual Remembrance Campaign, to honour the brave men and woman who sacrificed their lives to support Canadian freedoms and values. It was followed by the Canada Welcomes Syrian Refugees Campaign to encourage Canadians to support the Government’s resettlement efforts by donating, volunteering or becoming a sponsor.

Information about these and other campaigns and the types of media used by institutions to reach Canadians can be found this report.

National Defense recruitment campaign showing men carrying a stretcher to a helicopter. Text in image reads 'Ready when you are'

Citizen and Immigration Canada showing a Syrian lady holding her infant; the image is overlapped by a Canadian flag

Parks Canada campaign showing 4 people capturing a photo of themselves with a smart phone in the park

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