Advertising review criteria

Ad Standards reviews government advertising campaigns against the following principles:

# Policy requirements Related criteria


Objective, factual and explanatory

  • Advertisements present information objectively, in tone and content, and facts are expressed clearly and accurately.
  • The department has attested to the accuracy of all facts, claims, statistical data and analysis.
  • Ad Standards requested and received supporting documentation (if applicable).


Free from political party slogans, images and identifiers

  • Advertising creative materials contain no reference to a political event, or any slogan, distinctive expression, image, logo or graphic design that is used in the communications of a political party. This could include, but is not limited to, print and electronic materials, social media accounts and hashtags, political campaign speeches, backdrops or signs for events and announcements, and advertisements.


Free from political party bias or affiliation

  • Advertising creative materials do not give the general impression or appear to promote political party interests.
  • Advertising creative materials are not self-congratulatory or self-praising in nature.


Advertising is devoid of any name, voice or image of a minister, member of Parliament or senator

  • Advertising creative materials do not contain the name, image or voice of any current Prime Minister, Minister of the Crown, Member of Parliament or Senator.


The primary colour associated with the governing party is not used in a dominant way, unless an item is commonly depicted in that colour

  • The identifying colour of the governing political party is not the predominant colour in an advertising creative.

    This colour restriction does not apply to:

    • the colour used in common depictions of an object (e.g. orange traffic cone, red poppy, blue recycling box)
    • photo or illustration of Crown assets with a fixed colour for reasons such as tradition, safety, international convention or industry standard (e.g. blue uniforms of the Royal Canadian Navy, RCMP red serge, orange search and rescue jumpsuits, etc.); or
    • advertisements for national events and celebrations (e.g. Canada Day, Canada 150, Team Canada, etc.) for which the official colours of the National Flag of Canada (red and white) feature prominently in the branding


Ensuring that initiatives that require parliamentary approval or trade agreements that require ratification are not advertised until such approval has been received

  • The department has attested that all applicable approvals are complete for any policy, program, service or initiative being advertised that requires approval from Parliament, provincial or territorial governments, or some other authority before being implemented (e.g. legislation would require royal assent).
  • Ad Standards requested and received supporting documentation (if applicable).

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