The Government of Canada has announced that it is putting an end to the use of partisan Government advertising. Effective May 12, 2016, Advertising Standards Canada (ACS), a national not-for-profit organization committed to ensuring the integrity of Canadian advertising, will conduct independent reviews of federal government ads against the definition of “non-partisan communications” outlined in the Government’s new communications policy [http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?section=text&id=30683] which was issued on May 11, 2016.

For the purposes of the new Policy, “non-partisan” means that the advertising must:

  • be objective, factual and explanatory;
  • be free from political party slogans, images, identifiers; bias; designation; or affiliation;
  • not use the primary colour associated with the governing party in a dominant way, (unless an item is commonly depicted in that colour); and
  • be devoid of any name, voice or image of a minister, member of Parliament or senator.

Granting ACS oversight over the Government’s advertising is expected to help ensure compliance with the new Policy. ACS currently pre-clears children’s, food and non-alcoholic beverages, alcoholic beverages, consumer drugs, and cosmetics advertising in Canada.