Posting Political Ads this Season? Read this first!

As of June 30, political advertisers – including organizations, associations and special interest groups – must register with Elections Canada, adhere to spending limits on political advertising, and meet new transparency requirements, under sweeping changes to the Canada Elections Act.

The Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada (DAAC) has developed a platform for a Political Ads Program (also available in French) to make it easy and cost-effective for advertisers to meet the transparency requirements under the Act without cluttering their ads. When people hover their mouse over ads with DAAC’s purple “Political Ads / Publicité politique” wordmark/icon, the information required under the Elections Act will appear in an overlay box.

Licences to participate in the platform will be active until June 29, 2023 or until the next federal election is called, whichever occurs first.

As indicated by Julie Ford, DAAC’s Executive Director, having a common system for political parties and third-party advertisers will raise Canadian’s awareness and understanding about the ads they are seeing.

The CMA is a founding and active member of DAAC and represented on its board. We strongly endorse the Political Ads Program, as it achieves a high level of transparency. The principle of transparency is key to strong customer relationships, and the CMA has developed a guide to help members achieve this in the context of data collection, use and storage.

Other changes to the Elections Act include:

  • A requirement that online platforms maintain a registry of digital ads that appear on the platform. The registry is required when the number of visitors per month exceeds the following thresholds:
    • For platforms mainly in English: three million unique visitors in Canada a month
    • For platforms mainly in French: one million unique visitors in Canada a month
    • For platforms mainly in a language other than English or French: 100,000 unique visitors in Canada a month
  • Restrictions on spending money on election polling.

For more information, visit Election Canada’s webpage: New Requirements for Third Parties: Corporations, Unions, Groups and Individuals.

Sara Clodman is Vice-President, Public Affairs & Thought Leadership, Canadian Marketing Association and a member of the board of the Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada