Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the Political Ads Program?
The Political Ads self-regulatory program was created to aid political advertisers in operationalizing their political ad transparency online. The purple icon used in the program is a symbol that can be easily recognizable to online users, allowing them to find out more information about who delivered the political ad to them.
The DAAC’s expertise and focus is with regulatory compliance that provides information but is not disruptive to an advertiser’s message. The DAAC licenses the purple icon and text that is placed on political advertisements online which, if hovered over or clicked/tapped, will show you more information about who placed the ad in accordance with the transparency requirements in the Canada Elections Act.
Elections Canada has confirmed to the DAAC that the notice provided by the Political Ads Program meets the requirement in the Act for identification information that must be included “in or on the message”.
Why do I see a purple icon on ads?
The purple icon shown on political advertisements is placed there by the organization serving the ad to you. The DAAC asks political advertisers who are registered with our program to use that icon as a notice, which you can hover your mouse over or click or tap on to find out more about who served you the ad.
Organizations serving political advertising must be providing you with information about who authorized the ad. Instead of writing it in small text on the ad itself, they can use the Political Ads icon-based program to make this information more reader-friendly to you.
Who should join the Political Ads Program?
Organizations registered with Elections Canada as political parties, third parties, a person acting on behalf of a party, or registered associations that use partisan and election advertising online are encouraged to register and use the Political Ads self-regulatory program. This will ensure that they are adhering to the latest regulatory standards set by the Canada Elections Act, using the Political Ads icon as a sign of trust and transparency.
What does my organization get when they join the Political Ads Program?
We offer a turn-key operation.
After an organization has signed the licensing agreement to join the Political Ads Program, they will receive a welcome kit with an introductory letter about how to login to their account, and what the process is like to start creating their notices. There are icon files, implementation guidelines and a custom-built notice tool included in the price of the program. Technical support is also available at any time.
How would my organization write in the required information into the notice?
As a Political Ads participant, you would receive a login to a custom-made notice platform. Inside the platform you will have the ability to customize your ad notices in English and French. The benefit of using a platform for the notices is that you only need to update the notice in one place to affect all the ads using those tags. The tags you receive from the platform can be sent to your advertising agency, the publishers you’re working with, or to third-party advertising companies running campaigns on your behalf.
Forward Logic is the exclusive technology partner with the DAAC to help participants add the icon and notices to their political ads.
Are the funds I use to join the program considered advertising dollars under the Canada Elections Act?
The cost of participating in the DAAC’s Political Ads Program may be required to be included in the reporting of partisan advertising expenses and election advertising expenses subject to spending limits, depending upon when the advertising appears.
That’s why we’ve made the program as affordable as we can.
The fee a political advertiser pays includes the ability to use a custom-made in-ad transparency tool at no extra cost for the next 4 years, which allows the organization to use the platform during by-election campaigns as well.
For most political advertisers it will be a total of $750.00 (plus HST). For political parties it’s higher (total of $7,500.00 plus HST for 4 years of licensing) as it covers all candidates in their party’s roster.
By law, what notices do I need to show as a political advertiser?
The DAAC’s Political Ads Program helps companies comply with pertinent sections of the Canada Elections Act. Specifically, sections 349.5, 352, 429.3 and 449.2. These sections were part of Bill C-76, known as the Elections Modernization Act, which received Royal Assent on December 13, 2018.
Registered third parties must show (s. 349.5 and 352):
Civic or internet address (URL),
An indication that it has authorized the ad’s transmission.
Registered parties, or a person acting on its behalf, or a registered association that causes partisan advertising to be conducted must provide (s. 429.3 and 449.2):
Notice that the ad was authorized by one of the party’s registered agents or one of the association’s electoral district agents.
In what way is the Political Ads Program helping my organization comply with the law?
As a political advertiser, you have a responsibility to show users a notice about who is placing the ads you’re running.
You can do this by writing the notice into the ad copy itself, or you can use the Political Ads Program as an unobtrusive, interactive, notice. Upon mouse hover (or click/tap) of the purple icon that is shown on the ad, an information box displays inside the ad unit with the notice that is required in accordance with the Canada Elections Act.
Can I run the Political Ads Program notice on issue-based ads?
The notice can be used for organizations who are placing issue-based ads. The notice provides transparency to users, informing them of the ad’s origin.
What is issue-based advertising?
According to Elections Canada, issue advertising is the transmission of a message to the public during an election period that takes a position on an issue with which a candidate or registered party is associated without identifying the candidate or party in any way. Like other election advertising, issue ads must include a tagline (what the DAAC calls a “notice”).
There are three essential elements in issue advertising:
Timing: The ad transmission must be during the election period. Any issue ads transmitted outside that period are not regulated.
Content: The content of the ad must be for or against an issue with which at least one candidate or registered party is associated. Such issues could be social, domestic or foreign policy, economics, or national security issues. Individuals or groups can learn more about issues associated with registered parties and candidates based on the registered party or candidate's political platform, debates they participate in, social media campaigns, etc.
Context: Determining whether a particular message promotes or opposes an issue with which a candidate or registered party is associated is largely done based on the facts. An issue ad transmitted during the election could at some point become associated with a candidate or registered party. It is, therefore, important to be mindful that any political ad for or against an issue transmitted on a platform during elections may be regulated.
More information can be found on the Elections Canada website.
The DAAC also recommends reviewing Facebook’s framing of issue-based ads on their platform:
Who is the DAAC?
The Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada (DAAC) is a consortium of the leading national advertising and marketing associations whose members share commitment to delivering a robust and credible program for responsible online interest-based advertising (YourAdChoices.ca) and political advertising (PoliticalAds.ca).