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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 municipal election.
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 party advertising.
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.