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Role of the City Clerk in administering municipal elections

Municipal elections in Ontario, including the City of Ottawa’s, are governed by the provincial Municipal Elections Act, 1996 (the MEA) which provides rules for the administration of elections. The MEA expressly states that the City Clerk, and by extension the Elections Office, is responsible for the preparation and conduct of municipal elections. As such, staff are not in a position to interpret the legislation, provide advice to candidates or third party advertisers, nor investigate or review any campaign related matters.

Reporting campaign concerns or complaints 

In accordance with the MEA, neither the City Clerk nor any other City employee have a role in investigating concerns related to third party advertising campaigns. This statutory oversight and investigatory role lies with the Election Compliance Audit Committee (ECAC). The ECAC is a statutory body responsible for reviewing and making decisions on applications for municipal election campaign finance compliance audits, and on reports from the City Clerk regarding “apparent contraventions” of contribution limits prescribed by the MEA resulting from the regular municipal election or any by-election held during the term of office for the City Council for which the Committee was appointed. 

For more information on ECAC, visit ottawa.ca/ecac.

Reporting election sign concerns or complaints

By-law and Regulatory Services is responsible for the enforcement of the City’s Signs on City Roads By-law and Temporary Signs on Private Property By-law. Any concerns or complaints regarding election signs should be directed to 3-1-1.

Interfering with or damaging election signs is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. Individuals that witness election sign tampering can contact the Ottawa Police at 613-236-1222. Owners of election signs that are tampered with can report the incidents online at ottawapolice.ca or through the Police Reporting Unit at 613-236-1222, extension 7300.

For more information on elections signs, visit ottawa.ca/vote.

Key dates - 2022 Municipal Elections

May 2, 2022

  • First day for candidates to file their nomination forms for the office of Mayor, Councillor, or School Board Trustee. A candidate’s campaign period begins once their nomination forms have been filed, meaning they may begin accepting contributions and spending money on their campaign.
  • First day for an individual, corporation, or trade union to file a notice of registration as a third party advertiser. The campaign period for a third party advertiser begins once their registration form has been filed, meaning they may begin accepting contributions and spending money on their campaign.
  • The Who is running in my ward? search tool is available, allowing electors to find their ward and which candidates are running in their ward, until Voting Day on October 24, 2022.

August 19, 2022

  • Candidates have until 2 pm to file, change office, or withdraw their nomination forms.

August 22, 2022

  • Last day for the City Clerk to certify candidate nomination forms.

September 1, 2022

  • Copies of the Voters’ List are available to certified candidates upon written request.
  • The Am I on the voters’ list? search tool is available, allowing electors to check if they are registered to vote and see how their information is currently presented on the Voters’ List. Electors may use this tool from September 1 to September 16 at 4:30 pm to submit an application requesting that their information be updated or that their name be added or removed from the Voters’ List.
    • Electors may also submit a paper application requesting that their information be updated or that their name be added or removed from the Voters’ List.
    • Electors may still submit applications to update or add their name to the Voters’ List at their voting place.
  • The Application for special mail in ballot tool is available. Electors may use this tool from September 1 to September 16 at 4:30 pm to submit an application requesting to vote by special mail-in ballot.
    • Electors may also submit an application form by mail or email requesting a special mail-in ballot.
  • The Where do I vote? search tool is available, allowing electors to check the voting dates, times, and locations that are available.

September 9, 2022

  • First day an election sign can be placed on private property and public property.

September 16, 2022

  • The online Revision Period for the Voters’ List ends at 4:30 pm.
  • The Application Period to receive a special mail-in ballot ends at 4:30 pm.

September 25, 2022

  • Certified candidates that received a copy of the original Voters’ List will be provided with the interim list of changes to the Voters’ List by this date.
  • Final expense limit certificates to be provided to candidates and third party advertisers by this date.
  • The Elections Office will begin mailing Special Mail-in Ballot Voter Kits to the electors who have registered to receive a special mail-in ballot. Completed special mail-in ballots must be received at the Elections Office or Client Service Centres by 4:30 pm on October 24.

September 24, 25, 26, and 27, 2022

  • Special Advance Vote Day opportunities for electors to cast their ballot between 10 am and 8 pm.

October 7, 2022

  • Advance Vote Day opportunity for electors to cast their ballot between 10 am and 8 pm.

October 14, 2022

  • Advance Vote Day opportunity for electors to cast their ballot between 10 am and 8 pm.

October 21, 2022

  • An individual, corporation, or trade union has until 4:30 pm to file or withdraw their notice of registration as a third party advertiser.

October 24, 2022

  • Voting Day.
  • With the exception of institutions and retirement homes that may have reduced opening hours, voting places will open at 10 am and close at 8 pm.
  • Completed special mail-in ballots must be received at the Elections Office or Client Service Centres by 4:30 pm.

October 27, 2022

  • All election signs on private and public property must be removed (72 hours after Voting Day) by 11:59 pm.

October 28, 2022

  • The City Clerk is expected to declare the results of the 2022 Municipal Elections official.

January 3, 2023

  • Campaign period ends for candidates and third party advertisers, meaning they cannot accept any contributions or incur any expenses.
  • Candidates or third party advertisers that wish to extend their campaign, due to a deficit, must file a Notice of Extension of Campaign Period – Form 6 by 4:30 pm.

March 1, 2023

  • Last day for the City Clerk to provide candidates and third party advertisers with notice of the financial filing requirements and penalties.

March 30, 2023

  • Last day for a candidate or third party advertiser to apply to Superior Court of Justice to extend the time to file their initial financial statement.

March 31, 2023

By 2 pm:

  • Last day for candidates and third party advertisers to file an initial financial statement and auditor’s’ report, if required, for the reporting period ending January 3, 2023.
    • Note: An auditor’s report is required if the candidate is participating in the Contribution Rebate Program. An auditor’s report is also required for candidates and third party advertisers if the total contributions received, and total expenses incurred in the election campaign up to the end of the relevant reporting period are each equal to or more than $10,000.
  • Last day for a candidate or third party advertiser to notify the City Clerk, in writing, of a filing extension received from the Superior Court of Justice.

April 3, 2023

  • First day an elector can apply for a compliance audit of a candidate or third party advertiser’s initial campaign finances, even if the candidate or third party advertiser has not filed a financial statement.

May 1, 2023

By 2 pm:

  • Last day for a candidate or third party advertiser to file an initial financial statement and auditor’s report, if required, and pay the $500 late filing fee.
    • Note: An auditor’s report is required if the candidate is participating in the Contribution Rebate Program. An auditor’s report is also required for candidates and third party advertisers if the total contributions received, and total expenses incurred in the election campaign up to the end of the relevant reporting period are each equal to or more than $10,000.
  • Penalties take effect at 2:01 pm.

June 29, 2023

  • Last day for an elector to apply for a compliance audit of a candidate or third party advertiser’s initial campaign finances, even if the candidate or third party advertiser has not filed a financial statement.
    • If a candidate or third party advertiser files their initial financial statement within the 30-day grace period (which begins on March 31, 2023 at 2:01 pm and ends on May 1, 2023, at 2:00 pm), the 90-day period to apply for a compliance audit begins the day after they filed their initial financial statement. These dates will be posted on ottawa.ca/vote as required. 
    • If a candidate or third party advertiser received a filing extension from the Superior Court of Justice, the 90-day period to apply for a compliance audit begins the day after the extension expires. These dates will be posted on ottawa.ca/vote as required.

June 30, 2023

  • Campaign period ends for candidates and third party advertisers that extended their campaign, meaning they cannot accept any contributions or incur any expenses.

August 30, 2023

  • Last day for the City Clerk to provide candidates and third party advertisers with notice of the filing requirements and penalties for supplementary financial statements and auditor’s reports.

September 28, 2023

  • Last day for a candidate or third party advertiser to apply to Superior Court of Justice to extend the time to file their supplementary financial statement.

September 29, 2023

By 2 pm:

  • Last day for those who filed a Notice of Extension of Campaign Period - Form 6 to extend the campaign period to file a supplementary financial statement and auditors’ report, if required, for the reporting period ending June 30, 2023.
    • Note: An auditor’s report is required if the candidate is participating in the Contribution Rebate Program. An auditor’s report is also required for candidates and third party advertisers if the total contributions received, and total expenses incurred in the election campaign up to the end of the relevant reporting period are each equal to or more than $10,000.
  • Last day for a candidate or third party advertiser to notify the City Clerk of a filing extension received from the Superior Court of Justice.

October 2, 2023

  • First day an elector can apply for a compliance audit of a candidate or third party advertiser’s supplementary campaign finances, if required, even if the candidate or third party advertiser has not filed a financial statement.

October 30, 2023

By 2 pm:

  • Last day for a candidate or third party advertiser to file a supplementary financial statement and auditor’s report, if required, and pay $500 late filing fee.
    • Note: An auditor’s report is required if the candidate is participating in the Contribution Rebate Program. An auditor’s report is also required for candidates and third party advertisers if the total contributions received, and total expenses incurred in the election campaign up to the end of the relevant reporting period are each equal to or more than $10,000.
  • Penalties take effect at 2:01 pm.

December 28, 2023

  • Last day for an elector to apply for a compliance audit on a candidate or third party advertiser’s supplementary campaign finances, if required, even if the candidate or third party advertiser has not filed a financial statement.
    • If a candidate or third party advertiser files their initial financial statement within the 30-day grace period (which begins on September 29 at 2:01 pm and ends on October 30, 2023, at 2:00 pm), the 90-day period to apply for a compliance audit begins the day after they filed their initial financial statement. These dates will be posted on ottawa.ca/vote as required. 
    • If a candidate or third party advertiser received a filing extension from the Superior Court of Justice, the 90-day period to apply for a compliance audit begins the day after the extension expires. These dates will be posted on ottawa.ca/vote as required. 

New ward boundaries for the 2022 Municipal Elections

The City of Ottawa will have new ward boundaries for the 2022 Municipal Elections and 2022-2026 Term of Council. There will be one new ward and new names for six existing wards.

During its Wednesday, October 13, 2021 meeting, City Council considered the Ottawa Ward Boundary Review 2020 - Implementation Report regarding the implementation of the new ward boundary structure established through the Ottawa Ward Boundary Review 2020 and subsequent order from the Ontario Land Tribunal.

With the new 24-ward structure set to take effect for the 2022 Municipal Elections, Council approved renaming six existing wards to reflect geographical areas and community names. Council also established a name and number for the new ward (Ward 24 – Barrhaven East). All of the City’s current wards will keep the same ward numbers for the 2022 Municipal Elections.

The ward boundaries, names and numbers set out below will serve as the basis for administering the municipal elections on Monday, October 24, 2022, and will be effective as of Tuesday, November 15, 2022. As outlined in the Ward Boundaries and Council Composition By-law, the 2022-2026 Term of Council will be composed of the Mayor, elected by general vote, and 24 other members, elected on the basis of one Member for each of the 24 wards.

New ward boundaries for the 2022 Municipal Elections
Ward number NEW Ward name (effective November 15, 2022, and to be used for the 2022 Municipal Elections) Current ward name
Ward 1 Orléans East-Cumberland Orléans
Ward 2 Orléans West-Innes Innes
Ward 3 Barrhaven West Barrhaven
Ward 4 Kanata North Kanata North
Ward 5 West Carleton-March West Carleton-March
Ward 6 Stittsville Stittsville
Ward 7 Bay Bay
Ward 8 College College
Ward 9 Knoxdale-Merivale Knoxdale-Merivale
Ward 10 Gloucester-Southgate Gloucester-Southgate
Ward 11 Beacon Hill-Cyrville Beacon Hill-Cyrville
Ward 12 Rideau-Vanier Rideau-Vanier
Ward 13 Rideau-Rockcliffe Rideau-Rockcliffe
Ward 14 Somerset Somerset
Ward 15 Kitchissippi Kitchissippi
Ward 16 River River
Ward 17 Capital Capital
Ward 18 Alta Vista Alta Vista
Ward 19 Orléans South-Navan Cumberland
Ward 20 Osgoode Osgoode
Ward 21 Rideau-Jock Rideau-Goulbourn
Ward 22 Riverside South-Findlay Creek Gloucester-South Nepean
Ward 23 Kanata South Kanata South
Ward 24 Barrhaven East Not applicable – New ward

Who is running in my ward?

From Monday, May 2, 2022, to Monday, October 24, 2022, voters can use their address to verify their ward number, name and the candidates running in their ward, by using the Who is running in my ward? tool.

For more information on the new ward boundaries, please visit the Ottawa Ward Boundary Review 2020, page.

Changes to the Municipal Elections Act

Municipal elections in all Ontario municipalities, including the City of Ottawa, are governed by the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 (the “MEA”).

Bill 218

On Friday, November 20, 2020, Bill 218, Supporting Ontario's Recovery and Municipal Elections Act, 2020, received Royal Assent making a number of changes to the MEA. These changes include:

  • Removing the option to hold ranked ballot elections in Ontario municipalities by revoking Ontario Regulation 310/16 (Ranked Ballot Elections) in its entirety, and by repealing Subsections 41.1 and 41.2 of the MEA.
  • Moving Nomination Day in a regular election from the fourth Friday in July to the third Friday in August.
  • Amending Section 42 to allow by-laws authorizing the use of vote-counting equipment and alternative voting methods to be passed on or before May 1 in the year of the election.
  • Moving the date for establishing procedures and forms for the use of any voting and vote-counting equipment or alternative voting method to June 1 in the year of the election.

Bill 204

On Thursday, October 1, 2020, Bill 204, Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act, 2020, received Royal Assent. The Bill, in part, provides that beginning in 2024, the Province’s Chief Electoral Officer will be responsible for preparing the Preliminary Voters’ List for municipal elections as well as establishing and maintaining a permanent register of electors rather than the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC). In addition, Bill 204 makes the following revisions to several Acts:

  • The MEA is amended to move the responsibility for preparing the Preliminary Voters’ List in municipal elections from the MPAC’s to the Province’s Chief Electoral Officer, beginning in 2024.
  • The responsibilities of the City Clerk with regard to updating the Voters’ List are adjusted accordingly, as are the dates regarding the calculation of contribution and spending limits.
  • The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation Act, 1997 is amended to require the Corporation to provide information to the Chief Electoral Officer free of charge, for the purposes of establishing and maintaining a permanent register of electors.

Bill 254

On Monday, April 19, 2021, Bill 254, Protecting Ontario Elections Act, 2021 received Royal Assent, making the following changes to the MEA:

  • Clerks may put conditions in place that would allow candidates and third party advertisers to submit their nomination and registration forms electronically. Endorsements of a nomination that is filed electronically must still be collected as original signatures and a person who files a nomination that must be endorsed shall retain the copy of the document bearing the original endorsement signatures.
  • A registered third party advertiser may withdraw their registration by filing a written withdrawal with the Clerk during the time for filing a notice of registration (no later than the Friday before Voting day, at a time when the Clerk’s office is open).
  • If a registered third party advertiser files a nomination to run for office, their third party advertiser registration is deemed to be withdrawn and their advertising campaign automatically closes.

For more information on these changes, visit the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s website.

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