Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada recognizes the value of ethnocultural media to effectively communicate with Canadians and ethnocultural publications, as well as ethnocultural radio and television, are some of the means used by government departments to reach out to new Canadians whose reading abilities in English or French may be limited.
Since 2003, following major expenditure reductions in government advertising, extraordinary efforts have been made to develop more efficient and effective advertising campaigns on government programs and services.
Despite this overall decline in government advertising, advertising in ethnic and official languages media has increased. In 2003-2004, spending in ethno-cultural media (print, television and radio) represented 3.4% of advertising expenditures. In 2005-2006, it was 4.8% and the trend continues. As of December 2006, government expenditures in ethnic media totaled $1,575,420, or 5.6% of expenditures, and more activity is planned. More specifically, as of December 2006, ethnic print represented 9.8% of all government print placements.
The responsibility for media planning rests with government departments responsible for implementing the advertising campaigns. Departments make decisions based on campaign objectives, audiences and resources available.
Through consultations and review of information produced by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Statistics Canada, and data such as circulation information and language of the papers, departments determine the optimal media mix within the budget allocated. With developments in ethnocultural electronic media, government can now access new communication channels to provide timely information to targeted ethnic communities in their mother tongue. With the right mix of print, radio, television, Internet and outreach activities, government is continuously improving toward its objective to effectively reach Canadians while ensuring transparency, accountability and value for money.
Government departments like Service Canada and Citizenship and Immigration also offer information at their points of service, or through service providers.
Advertising is but one vehicle used by government to inform Canadians. Service Canada is piloting a multi-language service, MLS, initiative aimed at aboriginal Canadians and at newcomers, people living in Canada for less than five years, who speak neither English nor French and who face significant language barriers when it comes to accessing government programs and services. The purpose of MLS is to help ensure these segments of the population receive the right information about government benefits and services available to them, in their native tongue. A related goal of the initiative is to make it easier for newcomers to adapt to life in Canada by integrating more quickly into Canadian community life and the labour market.
Pilots of the national MLS Initiative are being conducted using a range of service delivery approaches including outreach, in-person and three-way telephone interpretation services to deliver multi-language service. Basic information materials on Service Canada and the frequently-accessed programs and benefits it offers, for example: Canada pension plan, CPP; guaranteed income supplement, GIS; old age security, OAS; employment insurance, EI; social insurance number, SIN; and universal child care benefits, UCCB, have been developed. Based on an assessment of the priority needs of Service Canada’s clientele across the country, these materials will be translated into 12 foreign languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, Punjabi, Urdu, Arabic, Spanish, Russian, Korean, Tagalog, Persian, Gujarati, Tamil, and nine aboriginal languages by the end of March 2007.