Advertising RFP Issued By Government of Ontario

To establish a Vendor of Record (VOR) for Advertising and Marketing Communications Services as required by Ontario Government Ministries and Agencies.


Established in September 1985, the Advertising Review Board (ARB) is a regulatory agency of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS). The ARB was created in order to demonstrate the government’s commitment to protecting the public’s trust in the awarding of advertising and communications contracts, as well as ensuring equitable and responsible practices are followed in the procurement of these services, and that value for money is delivered to government clients.

Under the authority of the Management Board of Cabinet (MBC) Procurement Directive on Advertising, Public and Media Relations, and Creative Communications Services, the ARB is designated as a mandatory central common service to support all Ontario government ministries and provincial agencies with fair and transparent processes that are geographically neutral, accessible to qualified vendors and drive value for money for the government.

The mandated activities of the ARB are to:

function as the Ontario government’s primary contact with the advertising and communications sectors

provide ministries and government agencies with assistance and advice on the acquisition of advertising and communications services

establish all mandatory, enterprise-wide Vendor of Record (VOR) arrangements for advertising, public and media relations, and creative communications services through open competitive processes, including the corporate agency of record (AOR) contract for media planning and buying services

conduct all second-stage competitions from existing corporate VOR arrangements, with an estimated contract value footnote 1[1] of $100,000 or more

audit, as necessary, the performance of all parties to any contract awarded by the ARB ensuring value for money and effectiveness of contract management

conduct, when requested by government clients, competitive and non-competitive procurements (including second stage selection) from VOR arrangements with estimated values:

between $5,000 and $999,999 for Graphic Design procurements

between $25,000 and $99,999 for all other procurement assignments

monitor and report on compliance with the Procurement Directive on Advertising, Public and Media Relations, and Creative Communications Services

Corporate VOR arrangements consist of advertising and communications suppliers that are pre-authorized to bid competitively for government projects. The open competitions to establish these contracts are both extensive and rigorous, and are conducted by the ARB in strict adherence to the principles of fairness, accessibility and transparency that conform to government procurement guidelines and policies.

Contracts valued at $5,000 and more on graphic design assignments and $25,000 and more on all other ARB assignments (advertising, public relations, etc.) are competitively awarded based on supplier capability and experience. Second stage selections from existing corporate VOR arrangements typically involve three or more candidates.

Ministries and government agencies may use their own procedures for the acquisition of services valued at less than $5,000 for graphic design assignments and less than $25,000 for advertising and public relations assignments provided the principles of access, equity and value for money are considered.

Scope of Work:

During the year, the ARB conducted 4 invitational competitions where a limited number of vendors were invited to compete for specific assignments:

Media Pilots setup to explore media contracting strategies:

Agency of Record (AOR) for Media Planning and Buying Contingent Workforce

Vendor of Record (VOR) for Creative and Media Planning and Buying Services

Vendor of Record (VOR) for Digital and Social Media Services

Multicultural Publication Circulation Audit

Second stage supplier selections

Considerable ARB activity was dedicated to supporting the second stage selection of contracted suppliers to fulfill the particular needs of government clients.

Invitational competitive second stage procurements for contracts valued at $100,000 or more were directly managed by the ARB, and processes for assignments valued at less than $100,000 were handled by individual ministries and government agencies under the ARB’s guidance and oversight.

The quality assurance questionnaires introduced by the ARB in 2017 continue to be a mandatory post-assignment requirement for both clients and vendors, allowing the ARB to:

obtain constructive feedback from each party to an assignment

monitor performance effectiveness and the quality of service delivered by contracted communications vendors to clients

Advertising & marketing communications services pools

During the year, 6 second stage procurements for contracts valued at $25,000 and more footnote 1[1] were undertaken from existing VOR arrangements on behalf of 6 government client organizations.

Public relations & communications services pool

A total of 5 second stage assignments from the mandatory-use corporate VOR were completed for 4 ministries and government agencies for projects valued at $25,000 or more.

Graphic design & creative services VOR

The needs of 1 government ministry were fulfilled through 4 second stage selections that were undertaken from the corporate graphic design and creative services VOR.

2 competitions ran in Stream One (valued between $5,000 and $24,999)

2 competitions ran in Stream Two (valued at $25,000 and higher)

Vendor of Record for creative and media planning and buying services

One second stage assignment from this media pilot VOR was completed for one ministry client

Vendor of Record for digital and social media services

One second stage assignment from this media pilot VOR was completed for one government agency client.

Due Date: September 10, 2021 at 11:00:00 (Toronto time).


Brett Moore

Senior Communications Advisor

Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

Supply Chain Ontario | Advertising and Communications Services Procurement Branch

438 University Avenue, 20th Floor

P.O. Box 119

Toronto, Ontario M5G 2K8

Telephone: (647) 824-6215


Agencies to consider include MWWPR and Hunter PR.

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