Shadowy Vaccine Engagement Team responsible for City of Toronto vaccine propaganda ads at taxpayer expense

The controversial and swiftly pulled advertisements featured subliminal messaging that directly contradicted public health advice.

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The City of Toronto published fully produced vaccine propaganda videos that preyed on and instilled unfounded fear in parents, urging them to seek out novel mRNA injections for their babies, toddlers, and young school-aged children.

Public backlash was so great that the videos were swiftly pulled from the world wide web.

Thanks to your generous support at, we now have a response to our access to information request (ATIP) detailing the government communications around who was responsible for this gross public health messaging and how much this psychological propaganda really cost Toronto taxpayers.

The string of videos were listed on the City of Toronto’s YouTube page late last year and depicted isolated babies, toddlers, and children with the underlying message that if they are unvaccinated, they must be kept away from society and confined to indoor spaces.

In an e-mail from Magdalena Stec, she relays that:

“The video’s intent, in consultation with community ambassadors involved in the City’s vaccination campaign, was to communicate with hard-to-reach communities that COVID-19 vaccines are available for children - that the vaccines are safe and effective and protect children, their families and the community. We acknowledge the execution of the message in the video missed the mark. We will work to ensure any future communications on this topic are clear and unambiguous.”

The creator responsible for this project was Renata Kuzma, former Strategic Public and Employee Communications, who created the document for Daniel Bondi, Manager of Community Development, Community and Social Services and Project Manager for the city’s COVID-19 vaccine equity and vaccine engagement team (VET).

The timing for the children-focused video(s) was intentionally launched with back-to-school timing, in a strategic attempt to “use captivating video to powerfully and emotionally deliver the message,” which was widely interpreted as, get vaccinated or be confined and isolated.

This work was done in collaboration with the City of Toronto’s ArtWorksTO program, a program that provides opportunities for youth media artists who are Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour and/or 2SLGBTQ+ to gain professional experience, skills, and network in the media arts industry.

Serville Poblette of Slow Drip Studio, an alumnus of the program, produced the series.

Oddly, most of the social media accounts tied to Slow Drip Studios, a self-described boutique Toronto-based creative agency, that has a very basic homepage, have been deleted – Twitter account no longer exists, Facebook is deleted, LinkedIn too, and only a mediocre Instagram account remains with an inactive Youtube channel.

Listed spokespersons were Daniel Bondi and Dr. Akwatu Khenti, special advisor to the City of Toronto’s targeted COVID equity action plan and the chair of the Black Scientists’ Task Force on Vaccine Equity.

Kuzma confirms that all five videos were a VET-led video series to promote children’s vaccination through the month of back to school. Concept and script were pre-approved by the VET team, as well as final files, social copy and rollout. The decision to delete the video was suggested by John Smith (the community development manager at the City of Toronto) and Dr. Akwatu, as per the ATIP.

When the city started getting media requests and social media attention, the social media team flagged the high engagement and noted that it’s mostly negative, but wondered if Toronto Public Health (TPH) stands by the message.

Gabriela Roberts from VET tried to stand by the video. She stated that “unvaccinated children are at the highest risk of severe illness and hospitalization as a result of a COVID infection (Risk of COVID-19 in Children), children often pass illness and other ailments to other children through play. And as outdoor play facilities are not typically cleaned regularly, it is an environment children can be exposed to COVID-19."

Renata Kuzma claimed that the VET team has said to delete the video. She then loops in Meghan Kilty, director of communications at TPH who previously told me that they don’t respond to media requests from Rebel News, asking if she would agree on behalf of TPH.

Beth Waldman then chimes in saying, “Not sure this is the path we want to go down. Most of the negative sentiment is coming from anti-vaxxers. If TPH stands behind the message, we should leave [it] up. Otherwise us taking it down will become the story.”

Response from Megan Kilty, who confirms here that “this [messaging] doesn’t align with TPH messaging. The video gives the impression that we would recommend keeping children indoors — when going outside and socializing are two recommended activities. Appreciate where the creators were coming from and the intention — it just misses the mark in execution.”

While the bureaucrats scramble to scrub the videos, Kuzma gives a breakdown of the ad rollout and launch in response to the interdepartmental questions thrown at them following the media attention from Andrew Lawton at True North and Brad Ross’ response to Joe Warmington from the Toronto Sun that was published online that basically threw the VET’s team under the bus.

It reads:

This apparently “began as an ask from Daniel Bondi in July following extension of the VET program and remaining funds in his budget ($56K).”

The “Intention was to build out a few more videos with this money, starting with Children/Youth in September to align with back to school, opening eligibility of this age group and vaccine availability. Further videos are a senior's focus video for October, a hero-style ambassador video, and lastly a highlight video of the last two years to align with the December year-end report.

A brainstorming session was held in July with Serve (from Slow Drip Studio) and the VET team (which names Daniel Bondi, Nana Kubi, Rolfe Santos, and Gabriela Roberts, and Savannah Torres-Salbach) to discuss the ask and chat through ideas of how to make this happen. The result was this concept deck, including script and ideas, which was then approved by the VET team.

The estimate was provided (attached pdf) and was approved by Daniel. $20K for the youth series.

The VET team then began to recruit ambassadors to participate in these videos, as per the previous ones, and film shooting began.

Serve (the producer) shared the video cuts with me, I shared with the VET team mentioned above and with Rosalynd, and went through feedback rounds.

Final cuts were then shared for final looks and were approved by the VET team.

I put together the rollout attached, shared with the VET team and they approved it. I then shared with Rosalynd who flagged potential scheduling conflict with the Queen's news, at which point I connected with the social team to shift some of the dates around.

The VET expressed excitement for this series. Daniel requested all videos be posted on the web as soon as the first one was published on social.”

Approximately half an hour later, Francine Antonio Forte details the actions taken thus far when the team is alerted that screen recordings are being shared of all of the videos:

“All five however, were posted on YouTube, which is where that person grabbed it from. All five videos have since been made private on YouTube. All five videos have also been unpublished from the website. Our removal post now has 712 replies (overwhelmingly negative) and 109 quote tweets.”

Mainstream media even tried to get someone from Toronto Public Health to do an interview about all of this:

Haydn Watters, a producer/reporter from CBC’s Here and Now afternoon radio show, requested an interview with “Vinita" (that’s Toronto’s associate medical officer of health, Dr. Vinita Dubey) or Kim (I believe that may be Kim Keitner, the Health Marketing Specialist from Toronto Public Health). They wanted to “talk about the advertisements, why they were pulled and what the city’s message when it comes to kids and vaccines and how they plan to get more kids vaccinated.”

When they offered up the City of Toronto’s nearly $200,000 salary earner and chief communications officer Brad Ross instead, the interview was cancelled.

Now, did the five videos actually cost $20,000, or was there more?

Serve, the producer, says the cost was actually closer to “5K to 6K per video for the youth series.”

The invoice from the production studio details a $20,000 dollar cost not including tax, which was part of that larger allotted budget of $56, 000.

These youth-specific videos appear to be part of a larger general project budget detailing “COVID vaccine engagement videos” which are meant to “describe 1 black-bodied [sic]  docu-style video with the price tag of $7, 625, to support vaccine engagement with a focus on Black, African and Caribbean community. Then 4 docu-style videos at $8,750 a pop to support vaccine engagement with a targeted focus on communities who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and communities that have low vaccination rates.”

The total budget was estimated at $48,000 to a maximum of almost $100, 000. As there may be an additional five to seven videos, the total cost was estimated at $129,000 to a maximum of $187, 000.

People of Toronto – there is nearly $200,000 of your hard-earned tax dollars going to targeted propaganda to increase profits for Big Pharma. Not to mention the vast salaries of the bloated bureaucracy responsible for developing this targeted ad campaign and those required to collaborate and act swiftly to pull it down to save face.

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