The City of Ottawa welcomes and encourages sponsorships and advertising undertaken to assist in the provision of City services and projects. The Corporate Sponsorship and Advertising Policy provides guidelines and flexibility to maximize revenue opportunities while safeguarding the City’s corporate values, image, assets, and interests.
The policy applies to all City employees and all relationships between the City and businesses, organizations and individuals that contribute either financially or in-kind to City programs, services or facilities in return for recognition, public acknowledgement or other promotional considerations.
The City of Ottawa welcomes and encourages sponsorships and advertising undertaken to assist in the provision of City services and projects. All sponsorships and advertising shall be consistent with the City of Ottawa’s vision, mission and values and will not compromise or contradict any by-law or policy of the City, or reflect negatively on the City’s public image. All sponsorship and advertising agreements shall be established in a manner that ensures access and fairness, and results in the optimal balance of benefits to the City and the community.
The primary objective of the policy’s parameters and guidelines is to safeguard the City’s corporate values, image, assets, and interests while increasing the opportunities for revenue generation.
This policy applies to all relationships between the City of Ottawa and businesses, organizations and individuals that contribute either financially or in-kind to City programs, services or facilities in return for recognition, public acknowledgement or other promotional considerations. The policy applies to the following:
- Program and special event sponsorship
- Naming/renaming of City property, buildings, and structures
- Pouring rights
- Paid advertising on City property, at City events, and in City publications
- Preferred supplier status
This policy applies to all City employees. Exceptions to parts of this policy are extended to the Office of Protocol and the Public Health Branch. These are described in Appendices A and B.
This policy does not apply to the City’s Elected Officials.
Principles and conditions
All sponsorship and advertising agreements must comply with federal and provincial statutes, municipal by-laws, and the standards set out by the Canadian Advertising Standards Council.
The following conditions apply when establishing sponsorship and advertising relationships:
- The City will maintain control over the planning and delivery of sponsorship activities.
- Agreements shall not in any way invoke future consideration, influence, or be perceived to influence the day-to-day business of the City.
- The relationship must not cause a City employee to receive any product, service or assets for personal gain or use.
- Advertising devices must not impact the quality and integrity of the City’s properties, buildings, streetscape, and provide no added risks to safety.
- The advertisement of a product or service does not act as the City’s endorsement of any one product or service over another.
- All political advertising will indicate that it is paid by a party or candidate, so as to avoid any impression that the City is supporting any particular party or candidate.
- The sponsorship and advertising opportunity should be appropriate to the target audience
Restrictions for sponsorship and advertising
The City will not solicit or accept sponsorship or advertising from companies whose reputation could prove detrimental to the City’s public image and/or whose main business is derived from:
- The sale of tobacco
- The support of, or involvement in the production, distribution, and sale of weapons and other life-threatening products
The City will not allow advertising, either directly or through third party arrangements that:
- Convey a negative religious message that might be deemed prejudicial to religious groups
- Promote alcohol and other addictive substances, at venues geared primarily to children
- Present demeaning or derogatory portrayals of individuals or groups or contain anything, which, in light of generally prevailing community standards, is likely to cause deep or widespread offence
The City may, at its discretion, bring any proposals to Council for their approval even if they do not meet the guidelines of this policy. Council may also consider any proposal or direct staff to pursue any opportunities for sponsorship and advertising that do not strictly adhere to this policy.
Administrative requirements and authorities
Solicitation and allocation of sponsorship and advertising opportunities
Sponsorships activities should continue, as always, to be the result of direct solicitation by the City or elected officials to sponsors.
As a general rule, the following sponsorship and advertising opportunities should be competed:
- Opportunities that will offer a significant corporate profile
- Agreements of a lengthy duration (3 years and beyond)
- Agreements that allow for exclusive benefits and recognition
Non-competitive arrangements may be considered for the following opportunities when:
- An unlimited number of sponsors are being sought
- It is a unique, innovative or experimental sponsorship opportunity
- Only one suitable sponsor can be identified
- The value of the sponsorship or advertising opportunity is less than $50,000
- The value of an In-kind media sponsorship is less than $100,000
- The need is justified in a business case, approved by the relevant Deputy City Manager or the Chief Corporate Services Officer and, the Supply Management Division.
Unsolicited sponsorship and advertising proposals received by the City will be reviewed and evaluated by the relevant program director as per the provisions of the policy. Advertising proposals that include billboard advertising shall require approval by City Council and prior consultation with the Ward Councillor of the Ward in which the advertising is proposed to be located.
The City reserves the right to reject any unsolicited sponsorships that have been offered to the City and to refuse to enter into agreements for any sponsorships that originally may have been openly solicited by the City.
The selection of a preferred supplier will be consistent with the City’s procurement policy. There will be no requirement to obtain quotes or undertake a proposal and staff can initiate opportunities without the requirement to test the market further.
All sponsorship and advertising agreements shall be evaluated on an annual basis to determine continued benefit. The term of all agreements shall not exceed three years unless authorized by the appropriate Deputy City Manager or the Chief Corporate Services Officer.
The City reserves the right to terminate an existing sponsorship or advertising agreement should conditions arise that make it no longer in the best interests of the City.
Delegation of authority
City staff is authorized to enter into sponsorship and advertising agreements that do not exceed the following pre-authorized limits. Agreements that exceed these pre-authorized limits will require City Council approval.
Supervisors and program managers
Supervisors and Program Managers are responsible for approving all agreements for amounts up to $10,000 provided they satisfy all provisions of this policy.
Managers are responsible for approving all agreements for amounts up to $50,000 provided they satisfy all provisions of this policy.
Directors are responsible for approving all agreements for amounts up to $100,000 provided they satisfy all provisions of this policy.
Deputy City Managers and the Chief Corporate Services Officer
The Deputy City Managers, and the Chief Corporate Services Officer are responsible for approving all agreements for amounts over $100,000 within their respective Departments. The Deputy City Managers, and/or the Chief Corporate Services Officer will determine when it is appropriate to seek the authority of Council prior to a sponsorship being signed.
City Council approval is required for any contract that does not satisfy the provisions of this policy and for opportunities involving the naming/renaming of City property, buildings and structures. City Council approval is required for all proposals that include billboard advertising.
Departments are responsible for soliciting, negotiating and administering their own agreements. Staff approving sponsorship and advertising proposals must ensure that all relevant by-laws and policies are adhered to, appropriate consultation and approval authorities are respected, and where applicable that insurance, indemnification, ethical scans, and permits have been obtained. Departments are responsible for ensuring that third party advertising relationships abide by the restrictions noted in this policy.
Departments are responsible for maintaining a log of all sponsorship and advertising contributions and for issuing a written acknowledgement of the agreement to each sponsor or advertiser. All sponsorship contributions in excess of $25,000 in total value shall be confirmed in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or other legal agreement.
Failure to comply with this policy may result in disciplinary action.
A mutually agreed to arrangement between the City of Ottawa and an external company, organization, enterprise, association or individual evidenced in writing whereby the external party (sponsor) contributes money, goods or services to a City of Ottawa facility, program, project, or special event in return for recognition, acknowledgement, or other promotional considerations or benefits. This does not include donations and gifts, or advice to the City where no business relationship or association is contemplated or is required and where no reciprocal consideration is being sought.
Forms of sponsorship
- Cash – A sponsorship received in the form of money.
- In-kind – Goods or services of value to the City are received rather than cash.
Advertising is the sale to an external company, organization, enterprise, association or individual of advertising space on City printed materials or property, at City events, or in conjunction with a City program. Unlike sponsorship, advertising involves the simple purchase by an advertiser of advertising space sold at rates determined by the City. The purchaser of this space is not entitled to any additional benefits other than those accruing from access to the space purchased.
A naming right is a type of sponsorship in which an external company, organization, enterprise, association or individual purchases the exclusive right to name an asset or venue (e.g., a library building, sports facility or part of a facility - an ice pad within a multi-pad facility, etc.) for a fixed or indefinite period of time. Usually naming rights are considered in a commercial context, which is that the naming right is sold or exchanged for significant cash and/ or other considerations under a long-term arrangement. This arrangement is usually documented in a written agreement signed by the interested parties and has a specified end date to the contractual obligations.
A pouring right is a type of sponsorship in which a corporation, an organization or an individual purchases the exclusive right to supply beverages at a City facility in exchange for significant cash and/ or other considerations over a long-term agreement.
Preferred supplier agreements
Preferred Supplier Agreements are multi-year contracts between the City and outside firms in which the firms agree to provide value-added support to the City in exchange for preferred status. Value-added support is typically provided by discounted pricing as well as cash, and/or goods and services. This process allows for a consistent approach to all current and potential supply line arrangements, which in the long run, will see the City lower its operating costs while at the same time generating additional revenue.
A search of a potential sponsor’s main company and subsidiaries, if any, that is performed to determine if the sponsor/advertiser meets the requirements defined by the Corporate Sponsorship and Advertising Policy or is otherwise affected by the “Restrictions on Sponsorships” section of the Policy.
Delegation of Authority By-law No. 2001-12, January 8, 2001
Code of Conduct, April 26, 2002
Purchasing By-Law No. 2001-72, April 11, 2001
Equity and Diversity Policy, July 19, 2004
Ontario Human Rights Code
Visual Identity Usage Policy, June 25, 2003
Permanent Signs on Private Property By-Law 2005-439, September 28, 2005
Corporate Sponsorship and Advertising Procedures
Key word search
Preferred Supplier Status
Partnership Manager, Corporate Advertising, Sponsorship & Donation
Recreation, Culture and Facility Services
Tel: 613-580-2424, ext. 24761
Appendix A - Office Of Protocol
The information contained in this Appendix reflects the necessary exceptions to the general Policy and applies only to the Office of Protocol.
Solicitation and Allocation of Sponsorship and Advertising Opportunities
In addition to the criteria noted in the general policy, The Office of Protocol may enter into non-competitive agreements for all in-kind media sponsorships.
Notwithstanding the reporting requirements identified in the general policy, acknowledgement of sponsorships for events organized by the Office of Protocol will be documented in a Letter of Confirmation in lieu of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Appendix B – Ottawa Public Health Branch
The differences in policy restrictions and guidelines contained in this Appendix are based on additional international, national and provincial standards, and apply to the Public Health branch only.
Restrictions for sponsorship and advertising
In addition to the restrictions noted in the general policy, the Public Health branch will not enter into agreements with organizations whose main business is derived from:
- The sale of alcohol, tobacco products, gambling or pornography.
- The support of, or involvement in, the production, distribution, promotion or sale of bottle feeding materials including, but not limited to breast milk substitutes (formula) and baby bottles.
Exceptions to restrictions
Certain sponsorships may be undertaken with local organizations, like bars and tobacco retailers when the health benefits to the citizens of Ottawa clearly outweigh the risks of abuse (i.e. a local bar sponsors an event for sexual health as it is the most appropriate venue to reach the target demographic).
Ethical scans will be conducted on all sponsorships arrangements of more than $10, 000.