- Leo Burnett
- John St.
- Zulu Alpha Kilo
- J. Walter Thompson
- DDB/Tribal Worldwide
- Bensimon Byrne/OneMethod
Strategy's 2016 Agency of the Year awards began the same way as in years prior, with an open call for Canadian agencies to submit their best campaigns from the past 12 months.
All eligible creative, media, digital and PR agencies entered with comprehensive case studies (five for AOY and three for MAOY, DAOY and PRAOY) for campaigns they had executed over the past year. From there, separate cross–industry and cross–country judging panels marked the work online and in isolation.
Each campaign for the agency, media and digital competitions was given two marks from one to 10 based on strategic insight and creativity, while judges scored the PR agency campaigns based on strategic insight, creativity and impact.
Judges who declared conflicts were omitted from the scoring process on the applicable cases or agencies. The top–scoring agencies in each category made up the final shortlist, based on a natural drop–off point in the scoring. The MAOY jury also chose the Media Director of the Year.
The scores were totaled and averaged with equal weighting, and the agency with the highest final score was the winner.