Public Works and Government Services Canada Issues Media RFP

Public Works and Government Services Canada Issues Media RFP

This RFI is aimed at the Canadian advertising industry and associations, advertising agencies, advertising technology providers and certified ad placement verification suppliers (“Industry). The purpose is to seek information on approaches to address current and evolving challenges presented by the changing advertising environment, to help the Government of Canada (GC) with the development of the next Agency of Record (AOR) and Advertising Technology Provider (ATP) mandates (i.e. contracts).


Advertising is an important way for the GC to communicate with Canadians about policies, programs, services, rights, responsibilities and protections. GC advertising is aimed at national, regional, rural and community-based audiences within Canada, of all ages and origins, including official language minority communities, and ethnic and Indigenous communities. The GC must run ads in both official languages as required by the Policy on Communications and Federal Identity (, the Directive on the Management of Communications ( and the Official Languages Act (OLA). Ads are also placed in other languages, as required. A limited number of campaigns are directed to international audiences.

The GC advertising management framework involves many organizations. Rigorous annual planning and reporting mechanisms are included, which are designed to ensure that activities align with government priorities, meet the communications needs of Canadians, comply with applicable legislations and regulations, and provide best value for money. GC advertising is coordinated centrally through the Privy Council Office and Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC); however, federal institutions are responsible for the day-to-day management of their activities, and are accountable for performance measurement and resulting on results. Over the past 10 years, total net media spending has been as high as $136 million in 2009-2010, but has dropped to $30.6M (net) since 2015-2016. Following the General Elections in October 2015, the total advertising budget (production and media) has been $40M per year (net). In 2016-2017, for the first time in history, more than 50% of the total media budget was spent on digital media (55%, $16.8M net); of this amount, 42% was spent on social media, 45% on display and RTB, and 13% on search engine marketing. Estimated spending in 2017-2018 indicates that this trend is continuing. GC advertising budgets are approved annually and are generally confirmed in the first quarter of the fiscal year (April – June). Budgets are approved by fiscal year and cannot be carried over if planning or approvals take longer than anticipated.

Scope of Work:

Media planning, buying, reporting and verification services subject to this RFI are provided through an Agency of Record (AOR) and an Advertising Technology Provider (ATP). The AOR and the ATP are the sole authorities mandated by the GC to provide centralized services to approximately 35 federal institutions (of the 105 listed in schedules I, I.1 and II of the Financial Administration Act).

The AOR and ATP mandates are currently structured as follows:

  • AOR – Provides project-based media planning and buying services upon request for both digital and traditional media. Lead Agencies are responsible for overall strategic oversight and creative production. Lead Agencies and the AOR are required to work closely together. The AOR is also required to work closely with the ATP, providing advertising technology services (see below). All communications with institutions on media planning, buying and reporting is managed through the AOR.
  • ATP – Provides project-based advertising technology services upon request for digital media. These services include ad server, Demand Side Platform (DSP) and Data Management Platform (DMP) services. The ATP mandate was established to strengthen reporting capacity, data oversight, accountability and transparency. The purpose of the DMP was and remains to aggregate, store and facilitate online access to GC digital advertising data and reports for the AOR and institutions managing digital campaigns. The ATP is required to work closely with the AOR to ensure tracking and reporting on ad delivery and performance.
  • AOR and ATP – Both also provide corporate and other related services to the GC.

Due Date:

June 26th


Communication Procurement Directorate/Direction de

l’approvisionnement en communication

360 Albert St. / 360, rue Albert

12th Floor / 12ième étage



K1A 0S5

Shift Communications is owned by a Canadian conglomerate.

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