The Trudeau government has spent around $13.7 million on social media advertising since coming into power.
The numbers were revealed in a more than 1,500-page document tabled in the House of Commons, in response to a question by Conservative MP Blake Richards.
The government used the money on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, between November 4, 2015 (the day the Liberal cabinet was sworn in) and May 10, 2017.
Between 2006-2014, Stephen Harper’s Tories spent around $750 million on advertising — that includes online, television, radio, etc. The National Post reports that $5.8 million of that was used on Facebook ads. During the 2015 election, Trudeau and the Liberals attacked them (in an advertisement) for overspending on advertisements.
The Liberals promised to appoint an Advertising Commissioner to oversee the process, to ensure that ads would not be partisan, instead of focused on government programs.
The rising costs of social media are part of the changing landscape, according to the government.
“The Government of Canada is continually exploring new dynamic ways to reach Canadians, especially young ones, to promote safety, security, environmental responsibility, and efficiency in Canada’s transportation system,” Transport Canada, which spent $18,000 on sponsored social media posts, noted in the document.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (which spent $36,767.42) said this type of advertising is the most “cost-effective.”
The biggest spender?
Destination Canada, which spent over $4.3 million on these types of advertisements. That’s almost three times more than the next biggest spender, the Department of Immigration and Refugees ($1,494,583.01).
The two used the funds to target international travellers to Canada and for public awareness campaigns, respectively.
In comparison, Public Health and Public Safety, which both had extensive awareness campaigns as well, spent $378,664 and $215,000 respectively. Health Canada also spent $762,701 on awareness campaigns.
Other departments that spent over $500,000: Veterans Affairs, Canadian Heritage, Export Development Canada, National Defence and Statistics Canada.
The smallest spender was Marine Atlantic, which spent $100 total.