Industry Response to Elections Canada Consultation on Political Communications in Federal Elections
This summer, Elections Canada requested that IAB Canada prepare an industry response to their ongoing consultation on Political Communications in Federal Elections. The consultation consisted of three discussion papers: the Regulation of Political Communications under the Canada Elections Act, the Impact of Social Media Platforms in Elections and the Protection of Electors’ Personal Information in the Federal Electoral Context.
During the last Federal Election, IAB Canada worked closely with Elections Canada on behalf of Canadian publishers affected by Bill C-76 . Liaising between industry stakeholders responsible for developing and maintaining registries and with Ottawa, we managed to bridge a major communications gap on the guidelines that resulted from the amended Elections Act. Our work dealt specifically with the registry requirements of Bill C-76 and the complexities surrounding issues ads. Given the absence of a centralized mechanism allowing Elections Canada to identify which issues would fall under regulation, IAB Canada moved quickly to build an effective technical solution to ease compliance in the context of a dynamic digital media marketplace. Through this project, we also managed to increase critical facetime for industry members with the Elections Canada team to provide additional clarity on the registry guidelines.
IAB Canada, in collaboration with our Elections Policy Committee, carefully drafted 3 unique responses which include specific modifications to the current requirements and processes in advance of the next Federal Election. We have requested that Elections Canada do the following:
- Allow industry to continue to work with government to help educate and modernize resources that will mitigate unintended consequences of incoherent policy changes.
- Remove the burden from publishers of monitoring issue advertising altogether.
- Develop and maintain a centralized registry for political advertisers to lessen both the financial responsibility and the risk of falling out of compliance for digital media publishers in Canada. A centralized registry would provide consistency, clarity on required fields and greater access and transparency for citizens.