Public notices in newspapers are vital to the democratic processes of communities

Canadians have a right to be properly notified of actions and activities that will affect their daily lives. Public notices in newspapers preserve and protect this legal requirement. Despite this, many municipalities continue to try to find alternatives to the newspaper.

Most recently in Saskatchewan, the urban and rural municipalities associations (SUMA and SARM) tried to remove the requirement for public notices to be published in newspapers.  A recent decision by the SK Ministry of Government Relations mandates that public notices in newspapers will continue to be published.

“SWNA has been lobbying the ministry for almost two years”, said SWNA Executive Director, Steve Nixon. “I am very pleased that the Ministry recognized the importance of keeping public notices in newspapers and, therefore, in the public record.”

recent Poynter article reinforces the importance of public notices to small papers’ survival. “Government-required public notices have been published in newspapers since colonial times, generating a steady and profitable income stream, especially at small weeklies. But the advent of websites operated by federal, state and local governments gave politicians a money-saving opening to redirect public notices to their own sites.”

More than 8 out of 10 Canadians read their local newspaper, so when a public notice is published in printed newspapers the likelihood is far greater that it will get noticed by its target audience.  And more than half of Canadians want to continue to see public notices published in newspapers.

News Media Canada has a number of resources online highlighting the importance of public notices in newspapers. Click here to download presentations and fact sheets to support your efforts with government advertising.