Canada’s biggest free event ads campaign could be hit with fines as Ontario says it is ready to hit back
Toronto — The province’s Liberal government is looking to put the finishing touches on its biggest free-event advertising campaign yet.
In a letter to the Federal Government, Premier Kathleen Wynne’s office said the province plans to issue $30 million in annual fines to companies that fail to make their advertisements free of commercial interruption.
“This is an unprecedented and unprecedented way to make the public aware of our government’s commitments to ensure the integrity of the election process,” the letter said.
The Liberal government has already fined the government of Alberta $4.7 million and the Ontario Liberal Party $5 million over the same advertising program.
Wynne has defended the $30-million fine as “a reasonable response to a serious problem,” adding that the Liberal government will continue to work with the public to ensure “no government money is spent inappropriately.”
Wendy McGuinty’s government has faced criticism from Ontario’s NDP government, who said it is wasting taxpayers’ money by not banning corporate and union advertising.
McGuinty, a former Toronto mayor, has promised to ban ads that target specific communities.
The Ontario Liberals plan to issue an annual “notice of intent” to fine companies up to $10 million over commercial interruptions.
The new guidelines will be sent to the federal government as soon as possible.
As part of the program, the Liberals will also ask the public for feedback on the program.