Destination Canada paid two professional athletes — neither of whom currently play for Canadian franchises — to promote tourism on their social media accounts.
The information was made available in response to an order paper question from Conservative MP Warren Steinley (Regina—Lewvan).
In his question, Steinley asked:
With regard to expenditures on social media influencers, including any contracts which would use social media influencers as part of a public relations campaign, since January 1, 2021, and broken down by department, agency, or other government entity:
(a) what are the details of all expenditures, including the (i) vendor, (ii) amount, (iii) campaign description, (iv) date of the contract, (v) name or handle of the influencer; and
(b) for each campaign that paid an influencer, was there a requirement to make public, as part of a disclaimer, the fact that the influencer was being paid by the government and, if not, why not?
Two names returned in the response include famous professional sportsmen — P.K. Subban of the NHL's New Jersey Devils, and Kyle Lowry of the NBA's Miami Heat.
Details on the social media post, which lists Subban's Instagram handle, @Subbanator, as the page in question:
This partnership complimented our “Canada is the Home of Winter” campaign both by showcasing the video on PK Subban’s page and through paid and organic amplification on our owned channels.
While Subban currently plays defence for the New Jersey Devils, he was born in Toronto and was originally drafted in 2007 by the Montreal Canadiens before signing an eight-year, $72 million contract in 2014.
Lowry is not Canadian, and now longer plays in Canada, having been traded from the Toronto Raptors in August 2021. Born in Philadelphia and currently playing point guard for the Miami Heat, Lowry was part of the Raptors when the team won their first NBA Championship in 2019.
Details on the social media post, which lists Lowry's Instagram handle, @Kyle_Lowry7, as the page in question are focused on Canadian fans expressing that they missed him:
Part of a partnership with Kyle Lowry in which Destination Canada produced a video that featured him and video messages from fans saying they missed him and the Raptors because they were playing the entire basketball season in the US. Kyle was contracted to share on his channels.
The document released by the federal government does not give the publishing fees for hiring either Subban or Lowry.
READ THE ORDER PAPER RESPONSE HERE: