In an election the goal of any candidate is to win, and today that means following
the law as written in Ontario's Municipal Elections Act. The Municipal Elections
Act is the framework that governs everyone that participates in an election so that
the outcome produced is fair and just for all those involved.
In this election some changes to Ontario's Municipal Elections Act include new rules
pertaining to third party advertising which has also had an impact on candidates
rules. Now all campaign signs and any other form of election advertising must be
identified as to which campaign is responsible for the advertising.
In this Municipality of Central Elgin 2018 Election there is also a Registered Third
Party that will do third party advertising, so in order to distinguish campaign
advertising ownership, these new rules must be followed. It is also up to the municipal
clerk, the person responsible for running the election, to marshal all activities for
a fair and just election, and that includes identification on all campaign signs and
any other form of election advertising so that everything conforms to Ontario's Municipal
As a responsible Central Elgin citizen I have observed several instances of election signs
and print advertising that seem to violate Ontario's Municipal Elections Act under campaign
rules, and it is my opinion that if action is not taken, then a fair and just election may
not be possible.
Your municipality may have rules about when you can put up campaign signs and how
signs may be displayed on public property.
All of your campaign signs and other advertising must identify that you are responsible
for the sign. This is so that people seeing the sign or advertisement can tell that
it is from your campaign, rather than from a third party advertiser.
You are responsible for ensuring that your campaign signs are removed after voting
day. Your municipality may require a sign deposit or have penalties for failing
to remove your signs. Contact your local clerk for more information.
You are entitled to have your nomination fee refunded if you file your campaign
financial statement by the filing deadline. The clerk cannot make removing your
signs an additional condition for receiving your refund.
Third Party Advertising
Beginning in 2018, there are rules for third party advertising in Ontario's municipal
council and school board elections.
A third party advertisement is an ad that supports, promotes or opposes a candidate
or a “yes” or “no” answer to a question on the ballot.
Third party in this context means a person or entity who is not a candidate. Third
party advertising is separate from any candidate's campaign and must be done independently
from a candidate.
Third party advertisers who wish to spend money on advertisements during the election
must register with the municipal clerk and must file a financial statement.
Eligible third party advertisers
The following are eligible to register as a third party advertiser:
- any person who is a resident of Ontario
- a corporation carrying on business in Ontario
- a trade union that holds bargaining rights for employees in Ontario
Groups or businesses that are not corporations cannot register as third party advertisers.
Candidates cannot register as third party advertisers.
Only registered third party advertisers may spend money on advertisements supporting,
promoting or opposing candidates or answers to a question on the ballot during the
What is not considered to be third party advertising?
Activities that do not involve spending money, such as speaking with friends or
strangers, or posting an opinion on social media are not considered to be third
Advertising about an issue rather than a candidate or a “yes” or “no” answer to
a question on the ballot is not considered to be third party advertising.
For more information about third party advertising rules, including spending limits
and enforcement, see the Guide for third party advertisers.
Responsibilities of Registered Third Parties
Third party advertisers are required to follow many of the same financial and reporting
rules as candidates.
Unlike candidates, third party advertisers cannot appoint scrutineers to observe
the voting, or to be present when votes are counted.
Identification on Advertising
A third party advertiser must provide the following information on all of its advertisements,
signs and other materials:
- the legal name of the registered third party (if the third party is a corporation
or trade union, the name of the corporation or trade union must appear, not the
name of the representative who filed the registration)
- the municipality where the third party is registered
- a telephone number, mailing address or email address where the third party can be
A registered individual cannot act on behalf of a group or organization that is
not eligible to register as a third party advertiser. For example, if Chris Smith
is the president of a business improvement association (BIA), the signs and materials
must identify Chris Smith as the person responsible for the advertising, not the
If ads are going to be broadcast or published (e.g. on a radio station or in a newspaper),
the ad must contain the information required above, and the third party advertiser
must also provide the broadcaster or publisher with the following:
- the name of the registered third party
- the name, business address and telephone number of the individual who deals with
the broadcaster or publisher under the direction of the registered third party
- the municipality where the third party is registered
Any additional content of signs is not regulated under the act.