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Federal government amends communications policy

The Government of Canada is amending its Communications Policy with what it describes as corrective measures intended to restore accountability in its advertising and public opinion research. The amendments will stipulate that written versions of public opinion research reports must be made available to the public through the Library of Parliament and Library and Archives Canada within six months of the completion of fieldwork. The amendments also add a statement to the policy that the bidding process for contracting of public opinion research and advertising must be “open, fair and transparent.” Finally, the amendments include a new definition of “advertising.” The new definition reads: “Any message, conveyed in Canada or abroad, and paid for by the government for placement in media such as newspapers, television, radio, Internet, cinema and out-of-home.” The definition excludes collateral materials such as counter displays, unpaid public service announcements and public relations activities. “Our priority is to strengthen accountability and oversight in government operations in order to address Canadians’ concerns,” said John Baird, president of the Treasury Board of Canada. “The implementation of these measures, together with the Federal Accountability Action Plan, is another step forward in ensuring transparency, fairness and value for money in the bidding process for public opinion research and advertising.”

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