The following is departmental guidance on publishing information in the Government of Canada.
The Treasury Board’s role includes ensuring that the Government of Canada is managed in a coherent and effective manner. Treasury Board ministers ensure sound management practices by issuing, mandatory administrative policy instruments (policies, directives, standards and procedures) that set out the parameters within which all ministers and deputy heads must exercise the various authorities assigned to their position.
Treasury Board policies are directed at deputy heads and are designed to achieve certain high-level management objectives. Each policy describes specific and measurable results that help departments and Treasury Board to assess whether the policy objective has been achieved.
Policies outline deputy head level responsibilities and accountabilities. Directives, standards and procedures are issued in support of a policy and are, for the most part, directed at executives and managers, whose role it is to support their deputy head in their specific areas of responsibility. Deputy heads are ultimately accountable for compliance to all Treasury Board policy instruments.
The purpose of the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada is to ensure that communications across the Government of Canada are well coordinated, effectively managed and responsive to the diverse information needs of the public. The Communications Policy includes many requirements that pertain to publishing.
The very first requirement of the policy is that Government of Canada institutions must provide the public with open access to information about policies, programs, services and initiatives. Information is provided through a variety of methods, and published information is available on request in accessible formats to accommodate persons with disabilities.
With regards to electronic communications, the Communications Policy requires heads of communications to regularly review Web content—content that is developed in consultation with communications staff and is updated on a regular basis.
It is important to note that the policy forbids departments from publishing, in any communications product or vehicle, any advertisement from a private-sector or non-government entity, or any symbol or information that could be perceived as an endorsement by the public.
The Communications Policy of the Government of Canada clearly sets out accountabilities for the various entities involved in government communications.
The head of communications of an institution is a member of senior management and reports directly to the deputy head. Heads of communications manage corporate identity, advertising, publishing, marketing, environment analysis, public opinion research, media relations, event participation, and other communication activities.
Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) operates as a common service agency for the Government of Canada. It provides institutions with various mandatory and optional information services to ensure that government communications are well-integrated and cost effective pursuant to Treasury Board policies. PWGSC also manages a permanent online collection of Government of Canada publications.
Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is the permanent repository of the Government of Canada and its institutions. LAC works with institutions to preserve the nation's published heritage. Under the Library and Archives of Canada Act, institutions are required to deposit all newly published material in all formats with Library and Archives Canada.
Mandatory requirements for publishing activities are outlined in the Communications Policy under Requirements 27, Publishing of the Communications Policy, Requirement 28, Copyright and Licensing of the Communications Policy and Requirement 29, Film, Video and Multimedia Productions of the Communications Policy.
The Procedures for Publishing are a mandatory Treasury Board policy instrument that was issued in support of the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada. The objective of these mandatory procedures is to enhance electronic communications by further shifting from print to electronic publishing while continuing to ensure that Government information is readily available and cost-effective. The procedures align with current publishing practices, reflecting efficiencies of publishing information electronically.
The Government of Canada is committed to modernizing the way it works while continuing to provide Canadians with quality services and ensuring value for money. In a context where electronic communications are becoming the norm, the Procedures for Publishing require departments to predominantly make information available on Government of Canada Web sites while limiting print publishing activities. In moving from a print publishing environment to an electronic and print-ready publishing environment, the procedures support Government priorities in promoting sound expenditure management practices and value for money.
Print communications products and alternate formats continue to be available to Canadians on request.
In order to limit warehousing cost, departments are also expected to regularly review stocks of publications and other communications products in warehouses and other facilities.
The procedures outline accountabilities for heads of communications in departments, as well as for senior managers who have publishing responsibilities.
The roles of departmental senior managers and heads of communications are outlined in Requirement 6 of the Procedures for Publishing.
Heads of communications are responsible for the publishing function in the Government of Canada; however, publishing activities are also carried out by other functional areas within departments. To ensure compliance with publishing requirements, accountabilities now rest with managers as well. They need to seek the approval of their head of communications for all communications products, promotional items and volume printing. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has developed a sample approval template for promotional items and volume printing, which departments can use to seek the necessary approvals.
Volume printing, which can also be called a "print run", refers to the printing of a large, pre-determined number of printed communications products, including publications, that generally requires warehousing.
Under Section 6.3.3 of the Procedures for Publishing, departments can only undertake volume printing in certain situations, and volume printing is always approved by the head of communications of the department.
The situations, or exceptions, where volume printing is permitted are meant to give departments the flexibility needed to communicate with target audiences in print where required, for example, by legislation or in the case of a health or safety issue.
In the case where the Minister requests volume printing, departments will develop internal processes for such approvals.
Another exception is the case where a printed version is required to meet the specific needs of the target audience. This could be, for example, printed information for seniors, veterans, immigrants, or inmates in a correctional institution.
It is important to note that just because volume printing could be authorized in one of the situations outlined in requirement 6.3.3 of the Procedures, the decision to do so rests with the head of communications. Departments should always determine if a printed communications product is the most efficient means of reaching the target audience and if on-demand printing can achieve the same results. Sound expenditure management practices and value for money should always prevail.
On-demand printing refers to the printing of a small number of communications products such as publications, 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.
The Government is enhancing electronic communications while continuing to ensure that information is readily available and cost-effective. Therefore all departments are required to limit volume printing, and to ensure that on-demand printing is carried out by default, using the most economical printing option, and in black and white unless colour printing is deemed necessary. To generate efficiencies within departments, this requirement has to be enforced in all areas at all levels.
Departments now publish all of their communications products on Government of Canada Web sites, in print-ready formats where possible. A print-ready format is a format that allows printing on any printer without the need for additional formatting (for example, HTML, PDF, etc.).
Print-ready formats allow Canadians to print information at their convenience. It also ensures Government of Canada employees can also easily print a copy for clients on demand.
Here are some examples of communications products found on the National Public Service Week coordinator's corner that have been developed in print-ready format and meet the requirements of the Treasury Board Standard on Web Accessibility.
The choice of the term "communications product" is meant to broaden the context for publishing, which in the past was always "publications". Communications products, for the purpose of the procedures, include publications as well as information products designed for a variety of mediums such as print, electronic and recordings. Accountabilities for communications products rest with heads of communications. See Appendix: Definitions in the Procedures for Publishing.
Promotional items are novelties, mementoes, merchandise, gifts and other giveaways used to promote a program, project, service or initiative. In the past, promotional items have been produced by a variety of areas within departments and have not always been part of an approved communications strategy. Unfortunately, in some cases, the production of promotional items may not have been approved by senior management, and at times promotional items may have been perceived as a waste of taxpayers’ money.
There may be valid reasons to produce giveaways such as pens or bags to promote initiatives at conferences, meetings or trade shows. However, heads of communications are also stewards of public resources and assets and need to approve these items since they are responsible and accountable for this type of spending.
Promotional items, including but not limited to novelties, mementoes, merchandise, gifts and other giveaways, are communications products when produced by or for the Government of Canada. As such they include a message about programs and services (a URL at a minimum) and are under the responsibility of the head of communications. The official symbols of the Government of Canada (Canada Wordmark, departmental signature or Government of Canada signature) are used to identify the source of the message as required under the Federal Identity Program. Therefore, if there is no message, no official symbol is used on the item.
In the case of awards and gifts, the item does not display an official symbol, but the related certificate, card, tag, plaque, etc. displays a signature and the Canada Wordmark.
A co-publication is a Government of Canada information product published by a third party, selected through a competitive process, such as a private sector publisher or a university press, or produced in collaboration with another government.
The only situation where the Procedures for Publishing do not apply to co-publications is when the third party incurred all costs, including distribution, printing and warehousing costs.
Co-publications are included in the index of publications maintained by departments and provided to Public Works and Government Services Canada and Library and Archives Canada.
Departments must ensure all permissions are obtained prior to using third-party material (texts, photographs, videos, etc.). If ownership of such material does not belong to the Crown, it is important to protect the Government from any potential legal or ethical issue.
It is important to remember that the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada forbids departments from publishing, in any communications product or vehicle, any advertisement from a private-sector or non-government entity, or any symbol, logos or information that could be perceived as an endorsement by the public.
For example, if permission to use a photograph is obtained on the condition that the photographer’s name appear prominently, the department needs to analyze the risks against the benefits of using the photograph, and ensure that the photographer is not receiving any perceived benefit such as free advertising, or that the choice of that photograph is fair to all other photographers and companies. Basically, the choice of specific third-party material must be easy to explain and defend.
The Government of Canada is communicating more and more through social media tools and services. However, because information for Canadians must be accurate and consistent, there is a need to choose a communications channel as the "official source". Government of Canada Web sites are the official source for Government information and communications products. That is why the requirement in the procedures ensures that communications products are posted first on the official Web site, and only then can they be posted on a third-party platform such as a social media service.
An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 13-digit number that is applied to publications published by the Government of Canada. Book-like products include books, pamphlets, educational kits, microforms, CD-ROMs and other print, digital and electronic publications. Publishers, booksellers, libraries and others in the book industry use ISBNs to identify, locate, track and manage publications. As well, many retailers will not stock an item that doesn’t include an ISBN.
An ISBN generally appears on the verso of the title page, following the Crown Copyright statement and the Government of Canada Catalogue Number. For example:
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, (year);
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of (legal name of department), (year);
© (legal title of department, (year)
Cat. No. En40-568/2001E
However if this is not possible or appropriate, the most important factor is that the ISBN appears accurately and legibly in the publication. For example an ISBN can appear on the face of a CD-ROM or on the back of a kit or folder.
Departments can obtain an ISBN from the Depository Services Program at Public Works and Government Services Canada.
An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is an 8-digit number that is used to identify serial publications, such as periodicals, newspapers, annuals, journals and monographic series, published by the Government of Canada. The ISSN provides an efficient and economical method of communication between publishers and suppliers. ISSNs are used in libraries to identify titles, order and check in serials, and claim missing issues.
The ISSN should appear in a prominent position on all issues of a serial publication. For serials distributed on the Web, the ISSN should appear on the first screen of the item. For printed serials, the preferred location for the ISSN is the top right-hand corner of the front cover. The number should always be preceded by the letters ISSN.
Departments can obtain an ISSN from Library and Archives Canada.
In the context of Budget 2012, the mandate of Publishing and Depository Services at Public Works and Government Services Canada will shift to the management of electronic publications only by April 2014. This change in responsibilities is aligned with the Government of Canada's greening government initiatives and supports the increased use of e-publications among Canadians.
Statistics from Government of Canada publications indicate that there is a significant increase in the number of downloads of publications. In recent years the demand for printed publications has gradually decreased. This decline is expected to continue as the trend towards electronic publishing increases. By transitioning to free web-based publications Public Works and Government Services is eliminating costs associated with producing, printing, distributing and warehousing printed publications.
Effective April 1, 2014, the Publishing and Depository Services Directorate at Public Works at Government Services Canada will no longer produce, print or warehouse printed and electronic (DVDs, CDs, videos) priced publications. In addition, the Depository Services Program will no longer be receiving print publications provided by author departments and agencies for distribution to depository libraries. However the Directorate will continue to provide electronic access to Government of Canada publications provided by departments and agencies through its Web site.
Also following Budget 2012, Publishing and Depository Services is discontinuing coordination services for Crown Copyright and Licensing. Public Works and Government Services Canada provides assistance, advice and support to the private and public sectors on intellectual property issues, specifically copyright. Once this coordination ceases, Canadians will contact departments directly for all assistance on Crown Copyright and Licensing.