• The Association of Canadian Advertisers to spearhead initiative in Canada, in partnership with the Association des agences de communication créative, Advertising Standards Canada, Canadian Media Directors Council, Grenier aux nouvelles, IAB Canada, the Institute of Communication Agencies, and media partner, strategy.
  • First-ever survey aims to provide a benchmark to measure progress on DEI

June 14, 2021: The world’s first-ever global survey on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the marketing and advertising industry will kick off June 21. Overseen by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) globally, the Association of Canadian Advertisers will lead the initiative in Canada.

The survey will investigate workforce composition across the industry as well as people’s perception of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including their sense of belonging and their perception of progress.

“While diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives are underway here in Canada, with initiatives such as the IDEA (Inclusivity, Diversity & Equity in Advertising) competition, this global survey will allow us to both set industry benchmarks on the state of DEI in Canada and will allow us to measure against efforts in other markets, said President & CEO of ACA, Ron Lund. “Importantly, this survey will reveal insights that will inform industry’s future plans for DEI and keep us accountable as an industry, both nationally and globally.”

The ACA is joined by several partners to drive awareness and participation in the survey, including the Association of Creative Communications Agencies (A2C), Advertising Standards Canada (ASC), Canadian Media Directors Council (CMDC), Grenier aux nouvelles, the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB Canada), the Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA), and media partner, strategy. Both globally and locally, the ambition is to generate the largest and most representative sample possible.

“It is amazing to see the world unite on this issue, it’s about time,” said Scott Knox, President & CEO, ICA. “This initiative fits perfectly with the ICA’s Inclusivity, Diversity & Equity in Advertising ((IDEA) program. Having carried out two talent censuses ourselves it will be great to compare with and learn from other markets.”

“Our industry recognizes that diversity initiatives are not only the right thing to do, but that diverse voices lead to better discussions, decisions and, ultimately, results. We stand united with our industry partners in recognizing important progress made so far, but that we also have a long way to go to achieve true equity,” said Shannon Lewis, President of the CMDC.

Globally, 22 national advertiser associations and their agency association counterparts have confirmed participation in the survey. In addition to Canada, the countries and territories set to participate include Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, France, Greece, the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE), Hong Kong, China, India, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the USA.

“This is a historic moment for our industry,” said Stephan Loerke, WFA CEO. “For all the talk of ‘we are in this together’, the pandemic has shown this to be simply untrue. Inequalities have been exacerbated by recent hardships. Anecdotal evidence suggests the industry is going backwards on diversity and inclusion. It is imperative we get a first-ever industry baseline so that we can draw a line in the sand and move forward together in improving the state of diversity, equity and inclusion in our industry.”

The questionnaire will be live between June 21 and July 2. The results will be compiled and analysed by Kantar and the key global findings will be published by Campaign’s global network of editions later in the year and presented at leading industry events in October 2021. The Canada-specific findings will be published by strategy.

The initiative’s aim is to establish a tangible baseline for the global industry, which will help inform an action plan for improvement. The WFA intends to enlist its partners to measure progress with a second survey in 18 months’ time.

Relatedly, the ACA formed a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee last year. Committee members are working on initiatives here in Canada to provide the marketing community with tangible tools to educate, cultivate and advance diversity, equity and inclusion in Canada.

The results of the survey will be used as the basis for an action plan devised and led by WFA’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and will also inform the ACA DEI Committee’s initiatives.



About ACA: ACA is the indispensable advocate and thought leader for Canadian marketers, and the champion of a transparent and accountable marketplace. A national, not-for-profit association, it speaks on behalf of more than 200 companies and divisions.

About A2C: The A2C is the voice of more than 80 agencies in Quebec of different sizes, configurations, and specialties, but all with one thing in common: a commitment to creative communications. Its members generate more than 80% of the industry’s revenues in Quebec and contribute to the success of companies here and abroad. Our passion is reflected in various initiatives that aim to guide these companies and in this way we aim to ensure vitality and excellence within the entire industry. For more information, visit a2c.quebec/en.

About ASC: Ad Standards is the self-regulatory body for Canada’s advertising industry. Through member support and cooperative industry initiatives, we build public confidence in advertising by helping ensure ads, in all media, are truthful, fair and accurate. We administer the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, which sets criteria for acceptable advertising, and provide a mechanism for adjudicating and resolving consumer complaints and competitive disputes. We also review advertising creative and offer consultative services to help ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulatory guidelines. Our collaborative relationships with Canadian regulators and global self-regulatory organizations provide a diversity of valuable insights, which inform our initiatives and goals. adstandards.ca

About Grenier aux nouvelles: For more than 25 years, Grenier aux nouvelles has been the hub of information for everything related to communications and marketing in Quebec. grenier.qc.ca

About Canadian Media Directors Council: The Canadian Media Directors’ Council (CMDC) is an association of Canadian media agencies that stand together to ensure a fair and progressive marketplace on behalf of our clients, agencies and partners. CMDC members account for approximately 96% of the total media ad spend transacted annually in Canada. In 2020, that was over $10 billion invested in the Canadian economy, Canadian jobs, and the communications infrastructure. cmdc.ca

About IAB: Established in 1997, The Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB Canada) is the national voice and thought leader of the Canadian interactive marketing and advertising industry. We are the only trade association exclusively dedicated to the development and promotion of the digital marketing and advertising sector in Canada. As a not-for-profit association, IAB Canada represents over 250 of Canada’s most well-known Advertisers, Agencies, Media Companies, Service Providers, Educational Institutions and Government Associations. Our members represent a diverse range of stakeholders in the rapidly growing Canadian digital marketing and advertising sector, and include numerous small and medium sized enterprises. iabcanada.com

About ICA: Since 1905, ICA has been the recognized, not-for-profit association for Canadian advertising, marketing, media, and public relations agencies. ICA’s mission is to Amplify, Protect and Transform the agency sector through advocacy, awards, community, consultancy, insight, networking, research and training. ICA membership and board of directors represent some of the most recognized and influential businesses in our industry, both in Canada and internationally. Learn more at theica.ca

About strategy™: strategy™ uncovers and shares the “bold vision, brand new ideas” of Canada’s national marketing community. We deliver on this tagline via our daily news platforms, strategy magazine and strategy events. strategyonline.ca