Ottawa is set to announce new restrictions on federal government advertising aimed at eliminating perceptions that public money can be used to promote the political party in power.
Treasury Board President Scott Brison is scheduled to announce the reforms Thursday morning in Ottawa.
The announcement is expected to include a mix of immediate policy changes as well as a request that Parliament conduct a more detailed review with the goal of updating federal legislation.
According to a government source, one of the changes will include a ban on government advertising related to measures that have not yet been approved by Parliament.
The change is a not-so-subtle jab at the previous Conservative government, which faced criticism from the opposition and Advertising Standards Canada in 2013 for running ads about a Canada Job Grant program that had not yet been approved by Parliament nor agreed to by the provinces.
Annual federal spending on advertising has fluctuated from $83.3-million in 2010-11 to a recent low of $68.7-million in 2014-15.
The Conservative were heavily criticized for their approach to government advertising, particularly campaigns that promoted what it called Canada's Economic Action Plan. The term was initially used to describe the government's stimulus response to the 2008-09 financial crisis, but the slogan and its blue and green imagery expanded to include all of the government's budget measures.
The Liberal Party platform promised to ban partisan government ads. It also promised to name an advertising commissioner who would help the Auditor-General oversee government advertising to ensure any federal ads are non-partisan and form a legitimate public service announcement.
In a December interview with The Globe and Mail, Mr. Brison said he would be proposing strict rules to prevent partisan advertising.
"We will be belt and suspenders on this," he said at the time. "We recognize it's really important that we avoid even the impression of partisanship."