Guidelines on Making Communications Products and Activities Accessible

Aims to help Government of Canada employees create accessible-by-default communications products and activities
Date modified: 2023-12-20

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ADV number (numéro PUB)
A media placement authorization number issued by the Advertising Coordination and Partnerships Directorate of Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to a department as confirmation that its advertising creative and media plan comply with government legislation, policies and standards. The ADV number authorizes the Communication Procurement Directorate of PSPC to issue a work authorization to the agency of record to implement the media plan. The ADV number is also referred to as an authorization number.
advertising (publicité)
Government of Canada advertising is defined as any message conveyed in Canada or abroad and paid for by the government for placement in media, including but not limited to newspapers, television, radio, cinema, billboards and other out-of-home media, mobile devices, the Internet, and any other digital medium.
advertising activities (activités de publicité)
Activities related to producing and placing advertising, including campaign planning, creative development, pretesting, production, media planning, placement of advertising and evaluation.
Advertising Management Information System (AdMIS) (Système d'information sur la gestion de la publicité (GESPUB))
A database managed by Public Services and Procurement Canada that contains project information and expenditures on government advertising activities.
agency of record (agence de coordination)
A private sector supplier, selected through a competitive process and under contract with the Government of Canada, that negotiates, consolidates, purchases and verifies advertising media time and space for the Government of Canada.
applied title (titre d'usage)
The official name of a department that is used in communications with the public and in its corporate signature.
arms of Canada (armoiries du Canada)
Formally known as the Arms of Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Canada or the Arms of His/Her Majesty in Right of Canada, and also referred to as the Canadian coat of arms and the royal arms of Canada. The arms of Canada is an official symbol of the Government of Canada. A stylized one-colour rendering of the arms of Canada is used to identify departments whose heads report directly to Parliament, institutions that have a quasi-judicial function, ambassadors, heads of consulates or missions, and the Clerk of the Privy Council.
authorization number (numéro d'autorisation)
See ADV number.
Canada wordmark (mot-symbole « Canada »)
The global identifier of the Government of Canada, which is composed of a graphically modified typeface and the flag symbol.
communications product (produit de communication)
Any product produced by or on behalf of the Government of Canada that informs the public about policies, programs, services and initiatives, as well as dangers or risks to health, safety or the environment. Communications products can also aim to explain the rights, entitlements and obligations of individuals. Communications products can be developed for a variety of media, including print, electronic and recording.
consultations (activités de consultation)
A two-way process that seeks direct participation from the public or specific stakeholders on a range of issues to inform government decisions about policies, programs, services, and legislative and regulatory initiatives, whether in person or online.
corporate identity (image de marque)
The unified manner in which an organization, company or public sector entity identifies its presence and activities. A corporate identity can include elements such as nomenclature, symbols, colour, typography and standards for graphics. The Government of Canada's corporate identity is prescribed by the Federal Identity Program.
corporate signature (signature visuelle)
The combination of the department's approved English and French applied title and the flag symbol or the arms of Canada.
Federal Identity Program (FIP) (Programme fédéral de l'image de marque(PFIM))
The corporate identity of the Government of Canada that ensures that departments, programs, services, assets and activities are clearly identified to the public in Canada and abroad through the consistent use of departmental titles and symbols.
Federal Identity Program (FIP) ( (PFIM)) (Programme fédéral de l'image de marque)
The corporate identity of the Government of Canada that ensures that federal departments, programs, services, assets and activities are clearly identified to the public in Canada and abroad through the consistent use of departmental titles and symbols.
field of application (domaine d'application)
The range of items, intended for internal and external use, that bear the Government of Canada signature or departmental signature and the Canada wordmark, including but not limited to stationery, forms, signage, websites and other electronic communications, communications products, personnel identification and motor vehicles.
flag symbol (symbole du drapeau)
The flag symbol is a graphically modified version of the National Flag of Canada. The flag symbol is protected under the laws of Canada, and internationally under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
head of communications (chef des communications)
The senior executive who is responsible for the management of the department's corporate identity and communications products and activities.
logo (logo)
A graphic mark, emblem or symbol adopted by an individual or organization to aid or promote recognition. Logos can be purely graphic or can feature the name of the organization in a special typeface (e.g., logotype).
media buy or placement (achat ou placement dans les médias)
The purchase of advertising time or space, e.g., for television, radio, newspapers, magazines, websites, cinemas or out-of-home media.
mobile application gallery (répertoire d'applications mobiles)
The inventory of the Government of Canada's mobile applications.
non-partisan communications (communications non partisanes)

In the context of all Government of Canada communications products and activities, "non-partisan" means:

  • Objective, factual, and explanatory;
  • Free from political party slogans, images, identifiers; bias; designation; or affiliation;
  • The primary colour associated with the governing party is not used in a dominant way, unless an item is commonly depicted in that colour; and
  • Advertising is devoid of any name, voice or image of a minister, member of Parliament or senator.
official social media account (compte de médias sociaux officiel)
An account on a social media platform used for official Government of Canada purposes such as communication, service delivery, collaboration and other purposes within the scope of an department's mandate.
official symbols of the Government of Canada (symboles officiels du gouvernement du Canada)
The Canada wordmark, the flag symbol, and the arms of Canada.
on-demand printing (impression sur demande)
Printing communications products, whether using in-house printers or contracted printing firms, when requested by an individual or as the need arises. On-demand printing does not require warehousing.
partnering/collaborative arrangements (partenariats (partenaire) ou ententes de collaboration)
Joint activities or transactions that involve another government, a company, an organization, a group or an individual that has shared or associated objectives, with a written agreement to combine financial or in-kind inputs.
plain language writing (rédaction en langage clair et simple)
Writing that is easily understandable on first reading. Communicating in plain language may involve writing to a specific level of literacy or education.
public (public)
All audiences, including employees of the Government of Canada and Canadians living or travelling abroad, who require information about Government of Canada decisions, policies, programs and services.
public engagement (activités de mobilisation du public)
See consultations
public opinion research (recherche sur l'opinion publique)

The planned, one-way systematic collection, by or for the Government of Canada, of opinion-based information of any target audience using quantitative or qualitative methods and techniques such as surveys or focus groups. Public opinion research provides insight and supports decision making. The process used for gathering information usually assumes an expectation and guarantee of anonymity for respondents.

Public opinion research includes information collected from the public, including private individuals and representatives of businesses or other entities. It involves activities such as the design and testing of collection methods and instruments, data collection, data entry, data coding, and primary data analysis.

The following are not considered public opinion research for the purposes of the Policy on Communications and Federal Identity and its supporting instruments:

  • Consultations or engagement activities;
  • Program evaluation projects included in the Departmental Evaluation Plan;
  • Usability testing;
  • Behavioural or factual research;
  • Literature reviews or reviews of secondary sources;
  • Secondary data analysis;
  • Factual verification of performance of services or delivery of goods in contract situations;
  • Employee exit interviews;
  • 360-degree employee-manager reviews; and
  • Assessment of training or information sessions, either in person or online.
significant non-contracted public opinion research projects (projets de recherche sur l'opinion publique d'importance qui ne font pas l'objet d'un marché)

Research projects that:

  • Support legislation, regulations or litigation;
  • Support government or departmental priorities;
  • Address the development of new government policies, programs, services or initiatives;
  • Touch on issues that are of high public interest or sensitivity; or
  • Relate to any other important or high-risk issue.
social media platform management tool (outil de gestion de plateforme de médias sociaux)
A mandatory tool for departments to register and manage official social media accounts on various platforms through a single interface.
third-party distribution platform (plateforme de distribution par des tiers)
A digital platform that allows users to browse and download apps that are developed by third-party providers.
volume printing (impression de masse)

A predetermined number of printed communications products, including publications, that require warehousing. Departments undertake volume printing only in the following situations:

  1. A printed version is specifically required under legislation, regulations or parliamentary procedures;
  2. The product informs the public about key information related to health, safety or security issues;
  3. A printed version is required to meet the specific needs of the target audience;
  4. The size or format of the product does not allow for printing using commonly available printers;
  5. An existing contract for printing, warehousing or distribution services, put in place prior to the Procedures for Publishing taking effect, cannot be cancelled, or the cost of cancelling the contract exceeds the benefits; or
  6. The minister or the person designated in Schedule VI (Part III, Column II) of the Financial Administration Act requests the printing.
web presence (présence Web)
The user-centric, mobile-optimized website that organizes Government of Canada content by themes. The Government of Canada web presence is commonly known as
work authorization (autorisation de travail)
A contractual document, issued by the Communication Procurement Directorate of Public Services and Procurement Canada that instructs the agency of record to purchase advertising media space, time or both from media suppliers.
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