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Election Resources

City of Hamilton Policies and Procedures

Use of City Resources during an Election Period Policy

The purpose of the Use of City Resources During An Election Period Policy (PDF, 116 KB) is to meet the City of Hamilton’s responsibilities under the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, the Election Finances Act and the Canada Elections Act, by outlining the requirements and restrictions relating to the use of city resources and city financial or in kind contributions to election campaigns for candidates, third parties, City of Hamilton employees, and members of the community. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The Municipal Elections Act, 1996 (MEA) was amended in 2016 to add section 88.18, which requires municipalities and local boards to establish rules and procedures with respect to the use of municipal or board resources during the election campaign period.

Use of City Resources During an Election Policy, which was first reviewed at the April 18, 2018 General Issues Committee (GIC) and the subsequently approved at Council on April 25, 2018. The policy was updated in 2021 in advance of the Municipal Election and was approved by Council on December 15, 2021.

The Policy was updated as follows:

  • To clarify the application of the policy to Federal and Provincial elections and to include reference to the Canada Elections Act and the Elections Finance Act;
  • To ensure alignment with current City of Hamilton policies and by-laws that provide some governance surrounding election campaign periods, including; the Council Code of Conduct By-Law, the Election Sign By-Law, the Commercial Advertising and Sponsorship Policy, the Policy and Guidelines for Eligible Expenses for Elected Officials: Budget for the Office of the Mayor, Legislative Budget and Councillor Ward Office Budget, and the Code of Conduct for Employees Policy;
  • To update and enhance definitions, inclusive of federal and provincial legislation;
  • To include language to add the use of City-owned assets such as photography, video, images, and distribution lists;
  • To include reference to advertising and communication, including links to the City’s Sign By-Law and advertising policies;
  • To clarify roles and responsibilities, including the responsibilities of City staff and leaders; and;
  •  To include an investigation and reporting process.

The spirit and intent of the policy did not change with the updates made in 2021.

During a regular municipal election, the policy takes effect at the start of the nomination period, on May 1, 2022 and ends on Voting Day, October 24, 2022. Candidates must adhere to the policy from the time that their nominations are confirmed until voting day. For third party advertisers, they must adhere to this policy from the time they are registered until voting day.

For a municipal by-election, the policy is in effect from the first day that nominations can be submitted, or registrations can be received, and ends on voting day. In a Federal or Provincial election, this policy is in effect once the writ has been dropped.

Council Office Staff may not engage in campaign related activities during hours that they are compensated by the City.

6.1.2 of the policy states that Members of Council must abide by the City of Hamilton’s Council Code of Conduct, including the provisions of section 7; and

(c) No Member shall use the services of any City employee for any election campaign or campaign-related activities during hours in which those City employees receive any compensation from the City.

This is not permitted under the policy. Any Councilor that is also a candidate in the Municipal Election must ensure that they are separating their campaigning activities from their role as Councillor.

Section 6.1.3 of the policy states that:

6.1.2 Members of Council must abide by the City of Hamilton’s Council Code of Conduct, including the provisions of section 7;
(a) No Member shall use facilities, equipment, supplies, services or other resources of the City for any election campaign or campaign-related activities, except on the same basis (including paying a fee if any) as such resources are normally made available to members of the public.

(b) No Member shall use their newsletter or website linked through the City’s website, for any election campaign or campaign-related activities. Further, under section 6.1.3 of the Use of City Resources During an Election Policy, Members of Council, candidates, and third parties are not permitted to use equipment, assets, supplies, services, staff or other resources of the City for any campaign or campaign related activities.

Yes. The policy applies to candidates, which includes: “a Person whose nomination to run in a Municipal, Provincial or Federal election, including school board elections, has been certified or confirmed by the necessary Election official as required by the governing legislation”.

Candidates may have photos with recognizable City landmarks and buildings in the background.

What is prohibited is the use of images produced and owned by the City cannot be used in a campaign. For example, photos on the City’s website or photos on City brochures.

The City’s Clerk’s Office does not permit the photographing or video taping of Elections Officials and Elections-Related Processes (ie: in an election poll). The City Clerk is responsible for the administration of the election and must ensure neutrality, privacy and confidentiality. It is important that elections staff and officials are unbiased and neutral parties and do not participate in photos are that being used for campaign purposes.

In accordance with section 6.1.3 (c) of the policy, campaign events may be held at a City property or building provided that the property or building was rented or booked in accordance with City policies and procedures.

If it is found that a Candidate has used a City space without following the procedure for booking where a fee is required, the Candidate will be required to make payment. The City cannot provide financial or in-kind contributions and must collect fees where use of space requires payment.

No. City logos are the property of the Corporation of the City of Hamilton and are not permitted to be used in campaign material.

Yes, however staff must ensure that they are not performing any work in support of a candidate or third party (e.g. campaign activities) during hours in which a person is receiving any compensation from the City, except during scheduled time off (e.g. scheduled vacation time).

If there is a concern that a Candidate or Third-Party is in violation of the Use of City Resources During an Election Policy, they can contact the City Clerk or the Elections
Team at [email protected] or 905-546-4408.

If a complaint is filed with the City Clerk, the Clerk will investigate the complaint to determine if the situation identified is in violation of the policy. If a violation is identified,
the City Clerk will follow up directly with the Candidate only.

The City Clerk will consult with the Integrity Commissioner regarding allegations made against Members of Council.

If a violation of the policy by a Candidate or a Third-Party is identified, the City Clerk will conduct an investigation to determine if there is a violation of the policy. If a violation is found, the Clerk will reach out to the Candidate to discuss the violation and to provide information, including a copy of the Policy, and will follow up with a written notice. Following the election, the City Clerk is obligated to report all verified breaches of the policy.

The City Clerk will consult with the Integrity Commissioner regarding allegations made against Members of Council.

No. A violation of the Use of City Resources Policy will not impact a Candidate’s Nomination or preclude them from being elected to office.

Members of Council are able to perform their roles and responsibilities as a sitting member of Council and are permitted to engage with constituents on ward or City related
matters. Any member of Council who is engaged in official City business is not permitted to carry out campaign activities during the time that they are engaged in City business.