A $300,000 ad campaign from the Canada Pension Plan has landed some prime-time slots on Canadian television, but has critics decrying it as a waste of taxpayer money.
The two-month campaign is designed to promote the work of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, using slogans like “investing today for your tomorrow” as a cover of Great Big Sea’s “Ordinary Day” plays in the background. The spots have appeared during breaks in the NFL playoffs and during the IIHF World Junior Hockey Tournament.
Canadians are required by law to contribute to the CPP, which has critics questioning the need to advertise something they are forced to participate in.
“I think it’s a waste of money,” Aaron Wudrick, the federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, told CTV News’ Kevin Gallagher. “Canadians pay their CPP premiums because they want a return when they retire. They're not paying for ads to run during football games.”
In the new year, the federal government increased the amount for CPP docked off paycheques to 5.1 per cent as part of a one-per-cent increase to be phased in over the next five years.
The investment board insists that it is arm's length organization from the government and that the ad campaign has nothing to do with the increasing CPP deduction or the upcoming federal election.
Instead, they say it’s needed to change the public perception of the organization, as internal polls suggest 41 per cent of Canadians believe there won’t be any money left for them when they retire.
"Our public awareness effort simply aims to set the record straight,” Michel Leduc, the CPPIB senior managing director, wrote in a statement.
Still, some advertising experts believe the campaign could backfire.
“It has lovely production values, but it doesn't reassure me that CPPIB is investing wisely,” said Jonathan Rose, a government advertising expert at Queen’s University.