Frequently Asked Questions
Enrolling in CMCA
1How do I apply for a CMCA audit?
Applying to CMCA is very easy. Download the application form from the Resources section. Complete the form and contact the CMCA office in order to determine what your program fee will be, or download the rate card from the Resources section. The program fee is payable with your application and annually thereafter. Submit your completed application and payment to the CMCA office. Upon approval of your application, CMCA staff will contact you to get you started on your initial report.
2What is my annual cost for participating in CMCA?
Upon enrollment and annually thereafter, every CMCA participant is required to pay the program fee as well as an auditor fee. The program fee reflects your commitment to filing circulation reports and adhering to CMCA rules and regulations. The auditor fee is a service fee payable to the CMCA auditor for services rendered and is due at the start of an audit. (Certain publications are eligible to designate an independent auditor other than the CMCA auditor.) Rate cards for both program fees and auditor fees are available in our Resources section.
Promoting Your CMCA Audit
1I recently applied to Canadian Media Circulation Audit. May I now display the CMCA logo on my masthead?
Displaying the CMCA logo says a lot about your publication. The CMCA logo is a stamp of approval that indicates you are a participant in good standing, but more importantly, it tells advertisers and agencies that your circulation systems and practices have been independently verified. For this reason, every CMCA applicant must successfully undergo an initial audit before they may display the logo. But this does not mean that you must wait six months or longer to publish your CMCA status. As a new applicant, you have the option to submit a three-month applied status report. Once this report has been audited and processed, you will be able to inform your advertisers that you have "CMCA Applied" status (denoted as CMCA*). Applied status lets your advertisers know that you have applied to CMCA and that they can expect your initial audit results soon.
2I've received my Canadian Media Circulation Audit report. Where can I get the logo to use on my masthead?
The CMCA logo can be downloaded from the Resources section. Both black-and-white and full-colour versions are available.
3What am I allowed to do with the logo when promoting my CMCA status?
You may display the CMCA logo on your masthead, house ads, advertising rate cards, website, media kit, and other promotional materials that you show to your prospective advertisers, confirming that your circulation has been independently audited. Refer to the Publicity Rules in the CMCA Manual for more information.
4There are two editions of my paper, but only one is enrolled in CMCA. They both go to the same recipients in the same areas. May I use the logo in both editions?
Because only one of the editions has had its circulation audited by CMCA, you may only display the CMCA logo in that edition. If you would like to have your other edition audited, complete an application and send it to the CMCA office. Additional editions are eligible for a 50-percent discount off of the CMCA program fee.
5Which circulation figures may I use for advertisements or promotional materials?
Your CMCA Publisher's Statement or Audit Report contains a lot of information about your circulation system. The top section shows your averages for the reporting period -- Total Paid Circulation, Total Controlled Circulation, Total Circulation and Total Distribution. You may publish these circulation figures in your promotional materials, including your house ads, rate cards, brochures and online advertising. Note: Always use the figures from your most current CMCA statement or report. Refer to the Publicity Rules in the CMCA Manual for more information.
6May I use my CMCA Audit Report to determine the readership for my paper?
CMCA figures must only be used to show what your circulation is; they do not denote readership. Your materials must clearly differentiate between figures that have been verified by CMCA (i.e. your circulation averages) and any other claims such as readership. To ensure clarity, you should cite the source of your readership claims. Refer to the Publicity Rules in the CMCA Manual for more information.
7I have just submitted my circulation report and need to provide advertisers and agencies with circulation figures. May I use the figures on the report that I just submitted?
No. You may not publicize the figures from a circulation report until you have received the CMCA Publisher's Statement from the CMCA office. However, you may use figures from your previous CMCA Publisher's Statement or Audit Report. You can access statements online by logging into the Data Centre of the CMCA website.
Record-Keeping and Preparing CMCA Reports
1I’d like to get started on my next report. Where can I obtain the forms?
Forms can be downloaded from the Resources section of the CMCA website. These forms are updated regularly, so download a new set every time you have a report due. The forms are available in Microsoft Excel format and Portable Document Format (PDF). The auto-calculating Form X, which calculates all the averages and totals for you, is also available on the CMCA website.
2Where should we submit our six-month reports?
3When is my report due?
Interim reports are due one month after the end of the reporting period. Annual reports are due one month after the end of the reporting period. Auditors and chartered accountants will then have one month to audit the Interim and Annual reports together and to submit their findings to the CMCA office.
4What should be included in our report submission? What forms do we need to submit?
The following forms are mandatory: Form X – Publisher’s Circulation Report Form X.3 – Distribution Breakdown (Form X supplement) Form Y – Press Run Certificate (if you print your own publication) Form Z – Single Issue Circulation Report Form G – Publisher’s Delivery to Carriers, Dealers, Distributors, Street Boxes and Apartment (controlled circulation) In addition, submit supporting documents (printer's invoices, postal receipts, etc.) for the month of your analyzed issue as well as the last month in the reporting period. The purpose of supporting documents is to show the source of the circulation claims you have made in your forms. If you have subscribers, supply the subscriber list for the most recent issue. For more information, download the report preparation checklist as well as mandatory and optional forms from the Resources section.
5What information must I provide in Section 3: Distribution Areas of Form X?
List the towns, communities, cities, and rural routes that receive 25 or more copies and the number of copies distributed to each place for the particular issue that has been selected.
6How do I select the issue to be analyzed? Do we use the same issue in Section 3: Distribution Areas and Section 4: Geographic Breakdown of Form X?
Select an issue from within the first five months of your reporting period that follows your typical distribution pattern. Supply information for this issue in sections 3 and 4 of Form X (Distribution Areas and Geographic Breakdown, respectively). Note: The total number of copies in Section 4 must be equal to the Total Circulation for that issue.
7We occasionally print and distribute extra copies of our publication, resulting in a higher than usual total circulation. Do we include these issues in Form X?
A publisher may occasionally elect to increase or decrease the distribution of an issue due to seasonal changes, event-related promotions, subscription drives or other promotional reasons. If this deliberate increase or decrease is at least 10% for publications with a total circulation under 10,000 or 5% for publications with a total circulation of 10,000 or over, this issue may be omitted from Form X and reported separately on Form Z.1 - Single-Issue Circulation Issue Circulation For Extraordinary Distribution (rather than Form Z). A maximum of 10 such issues may be excluded per 12-month period. To determine whether an issue meets this threshold, compare the total circulation of this issue with that of the previous issue that followed your regular distribution pattern.
8We ship our free paper to our dealers in remote communities. As distance is a problem, we cannot accurately report the returns. Do we still need to report returns on Form G?
You can set up a simple system of tracking returns by asking your dealer/distributor/carrier to count the number of returns per issue and have these figures faxed to you. This way you actually save on transportation charges as you don’t need to have the copies returned to you and you don’t need to visit the location in order to record returns.
9We are a controlled-circulation paper and we distribute by carriers and dealers, but we don’t receive any returns. Do we have to complete Form G even if we don’t have returns?
The intent of this policy is to capture as accurately as possible the circulation pattern and practices of the publication. In many cases, the publisher has reported zero returns because a system has not been put in place to count them. Whether you have any returns or not, all members with controlled circulation delivered using these methods must implement a system to track returns. Both the system that you put in place and the numbers that you claim will be verified by the auditor.
10We circulate our papers for free; however, we only distribute by mail. Is Form G still mandatory for our paper?
No. Because distribution by mail does not involve having a driver pick up returns, it is not required that Form G be completed.
11We have a form that is very similar to Form G that we use for recording returns. Do I still have to complete Form G?
Provided that the forms you use have the same information as on Form G, these forms are acceptable. If your form does not have the declaration on it, please add it to your forms or attach a copy of Form G with the declaration signed by both the driver and the circulation manager. It is important that the declaration is signed by both parties in order to verify that all returns have been counted.
12We are a paid-circulation paper. Do we need to fill out Form G?
No. Because Form G is only mandatory for all publications with controlled circulation and distribute by carriers, dealers and distributors.
On-site Audits and Spot Audits
1If my paper has been chosen to be spot audited, does that mean I am in trouble?
No. Spot audits are selected at random, with the expectation that each member will be subject to a spot audit at least once. One of the goals of the spot audit is to provide on-site guidance aimed at helping the member comply with CMCA policies and practices.
2How will I know if my publication has been selected for an on-site spot audit?
Your publication will be notified in writing, 30 days in advance of the actual audit period. You have the option of choosing the date and time within the audit period that is convenient for you and your staff.
3How do I prepare for an on-site audit? What can I do on an ongoing basis to ensure the process goes smoothly?
Prepare for your audit by maintaining an organized filing system. Organize your files such that when a request is made for this information, you can immediately find it. Keep your press run certificates and all your circulation documents in one place. Have a central location in which to file dealer invoices, carrier payment records, printer invoices, statements of mailing from the post office and record of counter sales. If your publication keeps records tied in with your computer accounting, have them ready as well. If you have any questions about what is required for the audit, contact the CMCA Auditor.
4What happens after the on-site audit?
Once the audit is completed, the auditor will discuss any discrepancies that have been found during the process. These findings will be included in the auditor’s report. A copy of the auditor’s findings will be forwarded to you together with the CMCA report. The spot audit is a very positive experience for the majority of publications. The process is beneficial to publishers and circulation managers as either reinforcement of good record-keeping practices or a source of guidance to bring your circulation records and practices into compliance with the CMCA rules and policies.