Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Liberal-donor ad agency wins lucrative contracts

A Vancouver digital advertising agency has reaped the benefits of the BC Liberals' 2013 election win.

FCV Technologies was paid almost $2.5 million, primarily for website design, by three ministries between last summer and this spring, according to documents released via Freedom of Information. That compares with the $1.69 million for FCV reported in Public Accounts for the year-ended March 31, 2013. FCV wasn't listed in the payments to suppliers for the 2012 fiscal year.

The biggest portion of recent payments, worth $2.084 million, was from the Jobs, Tourism and Skills Development Ministry for website and app design, maintenance and development. The ministry said $1.917 million was funded by the federal government for "disseminating labour market information."

Much of that work, worth $1.517 million, was on the WorkBC website.

"'s enhanced website provides job seekers, parents, educators and employers in B.C. with more tools and information to help them explore career options, find jobs, improve skills and connect with talented employees," said a prepared statement from the ministry.

The ministry claims WorkBC is one of the government's "most-visited websites," averaging 630,000 visits a month and totaling 35 million last year. FCV was also paid $102,366.57 to redesign the Ministry of Natural Gas Development website on a project that ran Feb. 10 to March 31 and $281,370.80 from the Ministry of International Trade between Aug. 14, 2013 and April 1, 2014.

FCV announced last July that it was "re-awarded" TransLink's digital contract for the next five years to "provide website design and maintenance services across TransLink's entire digital platform." FCV was paid $870,071 by TransLink for the 2012 calendar year.

FCV was among 23 companies chosen from 33 applicants after the election to be on the Government Communications and Public Engagement preferred supplier list for contracts as-and-when-needed.

FCV donated $8,000 to the Liberals between 2009 and 2013, $2,000 of which came Feb. 28, 2011, two days after Clark won the party leadership. FCV's CEO is Johann Starke, whose name matches that of a donor of $8,018.35 to the Liberals. Elections BC reported $6,000 of that was donated on Nov. 30, 2013.

Starke was on the guest list for the June 7, 2013 cabinet-naming ceremony at Canada Place. He was also mentioned in an April 12, 2013 Vancouver Sun story referring to FCV as "engaged by the BC Liberal Party for digital and social media development."

Veteran political reporter Bob Mackin is a regular contributor to The Tyee.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus