Appendices: Annual Report on Government of Canada Advertising Activities 2020 to 2021
On this page
Appendix I: Glossary
This section provides definitions of terms used in this report related to Government of Canada (GC) advertising, for clarity and to ensure common understanding. The terms may have a broader meaning beyond this report and therefore, these definitions should only be applied in the context of this report.
In the context of all GC advertising activities, “advertising” is defined as (Policy on Communications and Federal Identity, Appendix: Definitions):
Any message conveyed in Canada or abroad and paid for by the Government for placement in media, including but not limited to newspapers, television, radio, cinema, billboards and other out-of-home media, mobile devices, the Internet, and any other digital medium.
- Advertising expenditures
- Total of all expenditures, including media planning, media placement and creative production.
- Agency of Record (AOR)
- Private sector supplier selected by the GC following a rigorous, open and transparent procurement process, as sole supplier responsible for media planning, negotiation, placement, verification and consolidation of GC advertising media placement.
- All advertising on the Internet, including display non-programmatic and programmatic, social media and search engine marketing.
- Advertising on the Internet through banners, including various formats made of text, images, video and audio.
- Display non-programmatic
- Display advertising purchased through direct buys where media suppliers receive insertion orders or contracts and billing takes place between the suppliers and the AOR.
- Display programmatic
- Display advertising purchased and served in real-time real time through demand-side platforms, supply-side platforms and an ad server, managed by the AOR, using programmed algorithms and where billing is managed through the ad server. This includes, but is not limited to, all media placement on YouTube.
- Media expenditures
- Net media costs paid to suppliers for advertising space and time. Fees paid to the AOR to perform the media placement, as well as media planning and creative production costs are excluded.
- Media placement
- The purchase of advertising space and time from media suppliers, such as websites, social media platforms, television networks or stations, radio stations, newspapers, magazines, etc.
- Non-partisan communications
In the context of all GC communications products and activities, “non-partisan” means (Policy on Communications and Federal Identity):
- objective, factual and explanatory
- free from political party slogans, images, identifiers, bias, designation or affiliation
- the primary colour associated with the governing party is not used in a dominant way, unless an item is commonly depicted in that colour
- advertising is devoid of any name, voice or image of a minister, member of Parliament or senator
- Advertising in various media outside of people’s homes, such as billboards, signs, advertisements on street furniture like bus shelters or benches, in-transit areas like airports or train stations, location-based advertisements like at a stadium, as well as cinema.
- Search engine marketing
- Advertising on search engine platforms on the Internet.
- Social media
- Advertising on social media platforms on the Internet, including Facebook/Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, TikTok and Pinterest.
Appendix II: Process
The Government of Canada (GC) has an obligation to inform Canadians about policies, programs, services, rights and responsibilities, as well as to alert them of dangers to health, safety or the environment. Advertising is one mean of communications used by the GC to achieve this.
Rigorous annual planning and reporting mechanisms are in place to ensure that advertising activities align to government priorities, comply with applicable laws, policies and related instruments, and meet the information needs of Canadians.
GC advertising is conducted in accordance with the Policy on Communications and Federal Identity and its supporting instruments. Many organizations are involved, including institutions, the Privy Council Office (PCO), the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) and Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC). The following describes their relationships and primary responsibilities:
This image presents the relationships between the organizations involved in the management and coordination of Government of Canada advertising activities. The four organizations are: Privy Council Office, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Public Services and Procurement Canada and Institutions. Relationships appear between Privy Council Office and Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, between Privy Council Office and institutions, and between institutions and Public Services and Procurement Canada.
Departments and other portions of the federal public administration operating under Schedules I, I.1 and II of the Financial Administration Act develop advertising plans based on priorities of the institutions and the Government.
Once approval is obtained, institutions work with PSPC for the procurement of advertising services as needed. Creative services are provided by creative agencies, and media planning and buying services are provided by the Agency of Record (AOR).
Institutions are responsible for managing all aspects of their advertising activities and for ensuring that campaigns reach their target audiences using the appropriate media with the appropriate message at the correct time. Along with this, they are responsible for ensuring that all communications adheres to the Official Languages Act, and for evaluating the effectiveness of their advertising activities.
Institutions are required to record all their advertising activities in the GC Advertising Management System (AdMIS), which is maintained by PSPC and used to produce the Annual Report on Government of Canada Advertising Activities.
Privy Council Office
PCO sets broad government communications themes that reflect government priorities, as determined by the Prime Minister, Cabinet, Cabinet committees and the Clerk of the Privy Council.
Institutions are required to submit their advertising plans to PCO, which then works with the Prime Minister’s Office to develop the GC annual advertising plan. Once the plan is approved by the Prime Minister, PCO prepares relevant documentation so that institutions receive funding from the central advertising fund; institutions can also fund their advertising activities from their own budgets.
PCO also provides government-wide oversight of GC advertising activities and coordinates GC advertising to ensure that the overall approved budget levels are respected and that evaluation results are used to help inform the development of future advertising activities.
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
TBS issues administrative policies, including the Policy on Communications and Federal Identity, which governs communications activities, including advertising. The Policy aligns GC communications practices with today’s digital environment and includes a requirement that all communications products and activities, including advertising, be non-partisan. All GC advertising campaigns with a budget over $250,000 undergo a mandatory external review to ensure that all advertising creatives meet all criteria for non-partisan communications. Results are available online.
TBS also manages the Treasury Board submission process to secure advertising funding for institutions.
Public Services and Procurement Canada
Three directorates at PSPC are involved, including the Advertising Services Directorate (ASD), the Communications Procurement Directorate (CPD) and the Public Opinion Research Directorate (PORD):
- provides technical advice and advisory and coordination services to GC institutions on the government advertising process, best practices, and relevant laws, policies and related instruments
- manages the AOR contract
- works with the CPD to develop advertising services procurement tools for use by GC institutions, which align with current industry best practices and today’s environment
- provides training to the government advertising community to ensure that their knowledge and abilities remain up-to-date
- maintains AdMIS and issues project registration numbers for advertising activities and advertising numbers (ADV) for media placement to GC institutions to record all their advertising activities and expenditures
- produces the Annual Report on Government of Canada Advertising Activities
- is the sole authority responsible for the procurement of advertising and public opinion research services, including pre- and post-campaign testing and evaluation for advertising activities
- manages the procurement process to select advertising services suppliers for GC institutions
- works with ASD to develop advertising services procurement tools for use by GC institutions
- advises institutions about the public opinion research process, research methodologies and compliance with relevant laws, policies and related instruments
- reviews research projects related to advertising pretesting and evaluation, a mandatory process for campaigns with media buys over $1 million.
Appendix III: Laws and policies
- Financial Administration Act
- Government of Canada (GC) advertising activities in this report pertain to institutions subject to the Policy on Communications and Federal Identity and its supporting instruments. These apply to departments and other portions of the federal public administration as set out in Schedules I, I.1 and II of the Financial Administration Act, unless excluded by specific acts, regulations or orders in council.
- Official Languages Act
The purpose of this Act is to:
- ensure respect for English and French as the official languages of Canada and ensure equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all federal institutions, in particular with respect to their use in parliamentary proceedings, in legislative and other instruments, in the administration of justice, in communicating with or providing services to the public and in carrying out the work of federal institutions;
- support the development of English and French linguistic minority communities and generally advance the equality of status and use of the English and French languages within Canadian society; and
- set out the powers, duties and functions of federal institutions with respect to the official languages of Canada.
- Common Services Policy
- This policy sets out common services that GC institutions must use to fulfill their requirements. Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is identified as a mandatory common service organization for the coordination of, and contracting for all advertising services requirements.
- Contracting Policy
- This policy gives PSPC the responsibility for the contracting of all advertising services requirements.
- Policy on Communications and Federal Identity
- This policy gives context and rules for how the GC enables communication with the public about policies, programs, services and initiatives, including the administration of the GC official symbols.
- Directive on the Management of Communications
- This directive provides rules for managing and coordinating communications, including procedures for advertising, public opinion research, social media and web communications.
- Appendix B: Mandatory Procedures for Advertising
- These procedures are an appendix to the Directive on the Management of Communications. They provide procedural rules for planning and coordination, contracting, production and media planning, as well as pretesting and evaluation of GC advertising activities.
- Advertising Oversight Mechanism
- The Directive on the Management of Communications requires that GC advertising comply with the oversight mechanism for non-partisan advertising. The mechanism is an external review process that supports the Government’s commitment to ensure that all communications, including advertising, are non-partisan.
- Date modified: