Feds demand 100% Canadian ownership

Chuck Guitte, director general of the Canadian government's Advertising and Public Opinion Research Sector, announced effective Feb. 2 the government will return to doing business only with agencies that are 100% Canadian owned and controlled.This rule was modified somewhat by the...

Chuck Guitte, director general of the Canadian government’s Advertising and Public Opinion Research Sector, announced effective Feb. 2 the government will return to doing business only with agencies that are 100% Canadian owned and controlled.

This rule was modified somewhat by the previous Conservative administration to include agencies with majority Canadian ownership.

Contracts issued prior to the announcement will not be cancelled. For example, Health Canada’s recent appointment of Hill & Knowlton to handle an environment project will not be affected.

But Academy-Ogilvy of Montreal, shortlisted on the National Defence business, will no longer be a contender for that assignment.

Michael Sullivan, vice-president of Decima Research of Toronto, was surprised at the announcement. He says the company has done some projects for the government over the past six months, adding that since it is owned by WPP Group, the new ruling will be a problem for the firm.

The recent announcement completes the Liberals’ revamping of the advertising review process.

Last January, in accordance with its Red Book pre-election promises, the government began an assessment of the way advertising contracts were awarded. In the summer it released its Guidelines on Contracting for Communications, Public Opinion Research and Advertising.

Most government contracts had expired last March and the new reviews were delayed until the new rules were in place.

The guidelines call for less political involvement with selections made on merit, not partisan politics. PS