2018 Candidates’ guide for Ontario municipal council and school board elections
Find out how to run as a candidate in a municipal council election, school board election or by-election.
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This guide provides information to candidates for the 2018 municipal and school board elections. The information also applies to any by-elections that may be held during the 2018-2022 council and school board term.
This guide is not meant to replace provincial legislation. It provides general information about the rules contained in the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 and other legislation and regulations, such as:
Changes to election rules in 2018
Changes to the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 were made in 2016 and 2017. Those who were familiar with the rules for the 2014 municipal council and school board elections should be aware of the following changes:
- Candidates for municipal council in municipalities with more than 4000 electors must collect 25 signatures endorsing their nominations.
- Nominations may be filed beginning May 1, 2018. Nominations may be filed until 2 p.m. on nomination day (Friday, July 27, 2018).
- Candidates must open a bank account before incurring any expenses or accepting any contributions of money (including a contribution from themselves or their spouse). A candidate who does not spend any money or accept any contributions does not have to open a campaign bank account. The campaign bank account must be used exclusively for campaign purposes, but the previous requirement that the account be opened “in the name of the campaign” has been removed.
- There is now a limit for contributions that a candidate for municipal council and their spouse can make to the candidate’s own campaign. This limit does not apply to school board trustee candidates.
- The limit for campaign contributions to 1 candidate is now $1,200, increased from $750. Corporations and trade unions are not permitted to make contributions to candidates.
- There is a separate spending limit for expenses related to parties and expressions of appreciation after the close of voting.
- Expenses related to an auditor’s report accompanying the financial statement can be incurred after the campaign period has ended on December 31. These expenses should be included in the financial statement.
- There are now rules for third party advertising. Campaigning for a “yes” or “no” answer to a question on the ballot is now considered to be third party advertising. For detailed information about third party advertising, see the Guide for third party advertisers.
- Municipal clerks are now required to review contributions that are reported by candidates and third party advertisers to see if any contributors have given more than is permitted.
- The council and school board term of office will run from December 1, 2018 to November 14, 2022. Starting in 2022, the term of office will begin on November 15.
If you have questions or would like to give feedback on this Guide, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also contact your regional Municipal Services Office.