Mr. Chair, members of the committee, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Marc Saint-Pierre. I am the director general of government information services at Public Services and Procurement Canada. I am accompanied by Caroline Mitchell, director of advertising coordination and partnerships at PSPC.
It is our pleasure to be here with you today to explain our department's roles and priorities as defined in Treasury Board's new policy on communications and federal identity, published in May 2016, and which relate to your important work.
Our department is responsible for three components of advertising. These components are managed by three separate administrative units.
The first component concerns the communications sector, which reports to the deputy minister and is responsible for coordinating advertising purchases within our department. However, as you know, PSPC is a very small advertiser, accounting for less than 1% of government spending.
The second component is the responsibility of the PSPC acquisitions branch, which is the contracting authority for the advertising services used by institutions. Thus, the department is responsible for the integrity of the government contracting process for advertising and public opinion research.
Finally, through the integrated services branch (ISB), which is my branch, our department provides advice to institutions on advertising laws, policies and procedures. This is the third and final component for which our department is responsible, providing advisory and consulting services and training.
The advertising coordination directorate, under Ms. Mitchell, is also responsible for the dissemination of advertising materials and best practices. These resources are available to hundreds of advertising and marketing specialists in the Canadian government.
We advise and guide institutions on the efficient implementation and management of advertising activities that comply with the government's laws, policies and procedures including the non-partisan review of advertising materials.
This directorate also has regular discussions with associations and stakeholders in the industry about current practices and new trends. It also produces the Government of Canada annual report on advertising activities.
Finally, ISB manages the agency of coordination better known as...
“agency of record”, or AOR.
It is a private company under contract to our department following a public tendering process awarded in June 2015. The AOR is the only unit authorized to buy the vast majority of advertising space and air time at the lowest possible cost for the roughly one hundred government institutions subject to the policy on communications and federal identity.
I will now share with you a concrete example of PSPC's role in non-partisan advertising. Last year, in 2016, the Department of Finance managed a campaign for the budget and fiscal economic update initiative for Canadians. This campaign was an over $500,000 case, so we went through a two-step process.
The first review is on initial draft creative material and consists of the following. Finance Canada will submit the advertising review form, which can be found on the web, along with the creative material to PSPC for an initial non-partisan review. PSPC will complete that form and forward it to Advertising Standards Canada for initial review of the creative material of the Department of Finance. ASC returns its determination that the draft creative materials of Finance Canada meet all non-partisan criteria to PSPC. We inform Finance of this decision by sending them the form, and the form is also sent to Treasury Board.
The second part of this review is on the final creative materials. Once again, Finance will submit to us, PSPC, the form with all the final creative materials for final non-partisan review. We will complete our part of the review submission form and forward all creative materials to ASC for final review, both in French and in English. ASC will return to PSPC its determination that the final creative materials of Finance meet all non-partisan criteria. We will send that form to Finance, and we will send a copy to Treasury Board. After that, those forms are posted on the website.
I have the Finance example that you can see there. You have a four-page document explaining all the ASC agreements on this.
As of June 1, 2017, 15 campaigns were reviewed and approved as part of this new process. To name a few: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's electronic travel authorization campaign and settlement services campaign; Canada Revenue Agency's services campaign and tax compliance campaign; and finally, National Defence's recruitment ambitions campaign, phase one, and its priority occupations campaign. Finally, another example will be Employment and Social Development Canada's campaign on helping young Canadians succeed.
The next annual report is to be released in January 2018. We will provide information on the business volume of all of Government of Canada advertising campaigns contracted between April 1, 2016, and March 31, 2017, including all campaigns that went through this new review.
Advertising activities in the Government of Canada are governed by an administrative framework and various rules to ensure sound management of advertising campaigns. First, the departments and agencies must develop the advertising projects that reflect the government's priorities, and they must be submitted to the Privy Council Office, which is responsible for coordinating all advertising in the Government of Canada. The projects are then presented to cabinet, which decides which ones will be implemented. The cabinet also determines the maximum amount of funding for each one and confirms the source of funding. As was said previously, advertising funds can come from existing departmental resources or from the central advertising fund.
One of the basic principles of government advertising is that the institutions are ultimately responsible for their advertising campaigns, including, and it must be noted, decisions on the types of media used. Institutions' media choices are based on a number of factors, including: campaign objectives; target audience and market; type, time, and scope of the campaign; budget; and the cost of various media options.
You may recall that in our 2015-16 annual report, total advertising expenditures were $42.2 million. Of that amount, 51% was spent on television, 34% on digital advertising, and 15% on print, radio and out of home. At a glance, 49 institutions launched more than 70 advertising campaigns between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016. Of these, 11 institutions had media expenditures of more than $500,000, accounting for 86.7% of all advertising expenditures.
I would like to conclude with four points.
First, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) plays an important role in the management of advertising within the Government of Canada. It provides advice about relevant government legislation, policies and procedures to federal institutions as they undertake advertising.
Second, with the updating of the policy on communications and federal identity, PSPC has updated its procedures to assist federal institutions in obtaining non-partisan reviews.
Third, PSPC helps federal institutions submit advertising materials for campaigns over $500,000, in both production costs and media placements costs, to the Advertising Standards Canada for the two part non-partisan review process. As I said, there is the initial stage where draft creative is reviewed, and the final phase where final materials are reviewed prior to placement or airing.
Overall, at this point, the process is working smoothly.
On behalf of PSPC, I thank you for your attention. We would be happy to answer your questions to the best of our knowledge.
Thank you very much.