A breakdown of advertising and media expenditures accrued by the federal government shows that Ottawa spent $139 million of tax dollars on Covid-19 campaigns since the beginning of the pandemic.
True North compiled the total costs of media expenditures related to the Covid-19 pandemic from annual reports on Government of Canada advertising activities.
From 2019-2020, the federal government spent $4,494,710 on Covid-19 national advertising. For the 2020-2021 fiscal year that budget ballooned to $72,805,066. The latest Annual Report on Government of Canada Advertising Activities: 2021 to 2022 shows a slight decrease in spending on Covid-19 advertising, down to $62,012,941.
As of this year, Canadians were billed a total of $139,312,717 for Covid-19 related media expenditures.
The Annual Report on Government of Canada Advertising Activities: 2021 to 2022 has a section exclusively dedicated to Covid-19 which breaks down where the funding went.
A majority of the funding was for traditional advertising like television and radio, while the remaining 47% went to digital media. Funding was distributed via one private sector supplier selected by Ottawa known in documents as the “agency of record.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic remained a high priority, with advertising efforts from the previous two fiscal years continuing for a third fiscal year, to inform Canadians about government programs, services and public health measures as the situation evolved,” read the latest report.
“During this fiscal year, a total of $62.01 million was spent for COVID-19 related media placement through the (agency of record), making up 51% of total media expenditures for the fiscal year (similar to the previous fiscal year).”
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) was the number one federal institution when it came to reporting advertising expenditures. This year PHAC reported an expenditure of $61,779,631 on media. They were followed by Statistics Canada and the Department of Finance.