Changes to the Municipal Elections Act

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs reviews the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 after each Ontario municipal election to determine if it meets the needs of Ontario communities. As a result of these reviews, changes to the Municipal Elections Act were made which will be in place in time for the next municipal election.

Some of these changes include:

Broadcasters and publishers must follow new advertising rules during the 2018 municipal election period, from May 1 to October 22, 2018.

The City of Hamilton municipal election will take place on Monday, October 22, 2018 to elect a Mayor, City Councillors, and Trustees for the following four school boards:

  • Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board,
  • Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board,
  • Conseil scolaire Viamonde, and
  • Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir.

Recent changes to the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 (the Act) set out new rules for election campaign advertising. This notice provides information for broadcasters and publishers to understand their obligations under the Act. 

Candidate advertisement

A candidate advertisement is a message in any medium (e.g. broadcast, print or electronic) that a candidate purchases or directs to promote or support their election.

  • Advertisements must identify the candidate and contact information.
  • A list of candidates running in the election will be regularly updated and available on www.hamilton.ca/Elections.

Third party advertisement

A third party advertisement is a message in any medium (e.g. broadcast, print, or electronic) that promotes, supports, or opposes a candidate in the election or a "yes" or "no" answer to a question on the ballot. 

  • Between May 1 and October 22, 2018, individuals, corporations, and trade unions who wish to conduct third party advertising in the City of Hamilton must be registered with the City Clerk.
  • Advertisements must identify the name of the registered third party advertiser, the municipality where they are registered, and contact information.
  • A list of registered third party advertisers will be regularly updated and available on www.hamilton.ca/Elections.

Obligations for broadcasters and publishers

Broadcasters and publishers must comply with the following obligations under the Act:

Broadcasters or publishers as registered third party advertisers

Broadcasters or publishers who wish to conduct third party advertising must register as a third party advertiser and follow the Act's requirements.

Collecting mandatory advertisement information

For a candidate advertisement:
The candidate must provide broadcasters and publishers with the following information in writing before the advertisement can appear:

  • Name of the candidate
  • Name, business address and telephone number of the individual who deals with the broadcaster or publisher under the candidate's direction (Note: individual may be the candidate themselves)

For a third party advertisement:
The third party advertiser must provide broadcasters and publishers with the following information in writing before the advertisement can appear:

  • Name of the registered third party advertiser
  • Municipality where the third party advertiser is registered
  • Name, business address, and telephone number of the individual who deals with the broadcaster or publisher under the direction of a registered third party advertiser (Note: may be the name of an individual, a corporation, or a trade union)

Maintaining records

Broadcasters and publishers must maintain records of the advertisement for 4 years after the date it appears and the public must be allowed to inspect these records during normal business hours. Records must contain:

  • The mandatory information collected in writing, as described above.
  • A copy of the advertisement or the means of reproducing it for inspection.
  • A statement of the amount charged for its appearance.

Ongoing obligations

Broadcasters and publishers should be mindful of other requirements under the Act, including rules if they contribute to campaigns.

Additional resources

City of Hamilton
www.hamilton.ca/Elections
E-mail: vote 2018@hamilton.ca
Phone: 905-546-4408

Government of Ontario
Ministry of Municipal Affairs
www.ontario.ca/municipalelections
E-mail: mea.info@ontario.ca
Phone: 416-585-6226