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Information for Third Parties

Registered Third Parties - 2018 Municipal Elections

Becoming a Registered Third Party

What is a third party advertisement?

A third party advertisement refers to an advertisement in any broadcast, print, electronic or other medium that promotes, supports or opposes a candidate in the election, or, a "yes" or "no" answer to a question on the ballot. 

Ontario residents, corporations and trade unions that will incur expenses for such advertisements must register as a third party advertiser with the Clerk before they can begin advertising. They can begin filing their Notice of Registration on Tuesday, May 1, 2018, at 8:30 am.

Who can register as a third party advertiser?

Only the following persons and entities are eligible to file a notice of registration:

  • An individual who is normally a resident in Ontario.
  • A corporation that carries on business in Ontario.
  • A trade union that holds bargaining rights for employees in Ontario.

Who cannot register as a third party advertiser?

Persons and entities that are not eligible to file a notice of registration include:

  • A candidate whose nomination has been filed under section 33.
  • A federal political party registered under the Canada Elections Act (Canada) or any federal constituency association or registered candidate at a federal election endorsed by that party.
  • A provincial political party, constituency association, registered candidate or leadership contestant registered under the Election Finances Act.
  • The Crown in right of Canada or Ontario, a municipality or local board.

Registration Information

An individual, corporation or trade union may register as a third party by filing a Notice of Registration - Third Party (Form 7) at the City of Ottawa’s Elections Office, during regular office hours, beginning Tuesday, May 1, 2018, at 8:30 am. The Notice of Registration may not be faxed, mailed or emailed, as an original signature is required.

The individual filing the Notice of Registration will be required to present proof of identity as well as a declaration of qualification signed by the individual or by a representative of the corporation or trade union, as the case may be.

Things needed for registering:

Note: Notices of Registration are public documents and are available for inspection at the Elections Office.

Registration period

  • Notices of Registration may be filed during regular office hours at the Elections Office as of Tuesday, May 1, 2018, at 8:30 am.
  • The deadline for an individual, corporation or trade union to submit a Notice of Registration is Friday, October 19, 2018, at 4:30 pm.

Campaign Finances

An individual, corporation, or trade union cannot raise or spend any money on third party advertisements that will appear during an election in the City of Ottawa until they have registered as a third party and opened a bank account exclusively for the purposes of the election campaign.

Registered third parties are responsible for keeping records of the financial activities related to their campaign and are required to keep these records until November 15, 2022, when the next council or school board takes office.

Campaign period

The campaign period for a registered third party begins on the day their Notice of Registration is filed and ends on December 31, 2018. On this date, the registered third party's campaign is automatically closed. Registered third parties cannot accept any contributions or incur any expenses after the end of the campaign period.

If at the end of the campaign period a registered third party’s campaign expenses are greater than their campaign income, their campaign will be in deficit. The registered third party may take action to extend their campaign in order to do some additional fundraising.

If a registered third party’s campaign has a surplus, the registered third party must pay the surplus to the City Clerk when filing their financial statement.

Extending a campaign

If a registered third party has a deficit at the end of the campaign period, they can extend their campaign for an additional six months to attempt to erase the deficit.

To extend a campaign, a registered third party must:

A campaign period will continue until the earliest of the following:

  • the deficit is erased;
  • the registered third party notifies the City Clerk in writing they are no longer accepting any contributions;
  • July 2, 2019, in the case of a regular election; or
  • six months from the 45th day after voting day, in the case of a by-election.

Registered third parties that extend their campaign must submit two financial statements by the statutory deadline dates:

  • Filing of Financial Statements - Friday, March 29, 2019, at 2 pm
  • Supplementary Financial Filing - Friday, September 27, 2019, at 2 pm

Financial statements

Registered third parties are responsible for filing a complete and accurate financial statement by Friday, March 29, 2019, at 2 pm. The statement covers the period from the day the registered third party filed their Notice of Registration until December 31, 2018.

A registered third party must notify the Clerk, in writing, of any Court extension by 2 pm on Friday, March 29, 2019. Penalties will commence at 2:01 pm on Friday, March 29, 2019.

Supplementary Financial Statements

The final date for registered third parties, who extended their campaign, to file their supplementary financial statement is Friday, September 27, 2019, at 2:00 pm. The statement covers the period from the day the registered third parties filed their Notice of Registration until July 2, 2019.

A registered third party must notify the Clerk, in writing, of any Court extension by 2 pm on Friday, September 27, 2019. Penalties will commence at 2:01 pm on Friday, September 27, 2019.

Contributions

Campaign contributions are any money, goods or services that are given to a registered third party for use in their campaign, including money and goods that a third party contributes to their own campaign. Registered third parties must issue a receipt for every contribution they receive. The receipt should show who made the contribution, the date, and the value of the contribution.

The following persons and entities may make a contribution to a registered third party:

  • Any person who is a resident of Ontario.
  • A corporation that carries on business in Ontario.
  • A trade union that holds bargaining rights for employees in Ontario.
  • The registered third party and, in the case of an individual, his or her spouse.

The following persons and entities shall not make a contribution to a registered third party:

  • A federal political party registered under the Canada Elections Act (Canada) or any federal constituency association or registered candidate at a federal election endorsed by that party.
  • A provincial political party, constituency association, registered candidate or leadership contestant registered under the Election Finances Act
  • The Crown in right of Canada or Ontario, a municipality or a local board. 

Contributors may contribute a total of $1,200 to a registered third party in relation to third party advertisements that appear during an election in the City of Ottawa. The maximum total amount that a contributor can give to third parties registered in the City of Ottawa is $5,000.

Contributions greater than $25 may not be made in cash. All contributions above $25 must be made by cheque, money order, or by a method that clearly shows where the funds come from.

Registered third parties are required to inform each of their contributors of these contribution limits.

Contribution Rebate Program

Registered third parties are not eligible to participate in the Contribution Rebate Program.

Campaigning and Sign Restrictions

Third party advertisements

A third party advertisement is an advertisement in any broadcast, print, electronic or other medium that has the purpose of promoting, supporting or opposing a candidate, or a “yes” or “no” question on the ballot. This does not include advertisements by or under the direction of a candidate.

All individuals, corporations and trade unions must register before incurring any expense related to third party advertisements appearing between Tuesday, May 1, 2018, and Monday, October 22, 2018.

Mandatory information in third party advertisements

All third party advertisements must contain the following information:

  1. The name of the registered third party.
  2. The municipality where the registered third party is registered.
  3. A telephone number, mailing address or email address at which the registered third party may be contacted regarding the advertisement.

Mandatory information for broadcasters and publishers

Registered third parties must provide the following information to the broadcaster or publisher in writing:

  1. The name of the registered third party.
  2. The name, business address and telephone number of the individual who deals with the broadcaster or publisher under the direction of the registered third party.
  3. The municipality where the third party advertiser is registered.

Broadcasters and publishers are prohibited from running a third party advertisement unless the above-noted information is provided.

The broadcaster or publisher of a third party advertisement is required to retain the following information for a period of four years after the date the advertisement appears:

  • The mandatory information that is required for broadcasters and publishers (the name of the registered third party; the municipality where they are registered; and the contact information for the person who deals with the broadcaster or publisher);
  • A copy of the advertisement, or the means of reproducing it for inspection; and
  • A statement of the charge made for its appearance.

The broadcaster or publisher must also permit the public to inspect these records during normal business hours.

Election signs on private property

The first day an election sign can be placed on private property is August 23, 2018.

Temporary Signs on Private Property By-law - City of Ottawa By-law 2004-239, Sections 14 and 21, states that every candidate in an election shall ensure that his or her election sign:

  1. No person or entity shall place or cause to be placed or allow to remain placed an election sign more than sixty (60) days immediately preceding the election date.

  2. Every election sign together with its appurtenances shall be removed from the premise within forty-eight (48) hours following the election date.

  3. Dimension requirements [By-law 2004-239] do not apply to an election sign.

Election signs on public property

The first day an election sign can be placed on public property is September 22, 2018.

Signs on City Roads By-law - City of Ottawa By-law 2003-520, as amended, states:

  1. No person shall place an election sign on a highway other than on an inner boulevard, provided that the sign is not placed more than thirty (30) days immediately preceding the election date.
  2. No election sign is to be placed within fifty (50) centimetres of a sidewalk, or where there is no sidewalk, within two (2) metres of the roadway or within fifty (50) centimetres of the edge of a shoulder where such exists.

  3. The election sign and its appurtenances shall be removed within forty-eight (48) hours following the election date.

Note: It is forbidden to use election signs that constitute a safety hazard or utilize any sign type identified as a prohibited sign in any of the above-listed by-laws.

Election signs on provincial highways

Please contact the Ministry of Transportation for regulations governing election signs on provincial highways.

Election signs on National Capital Commission lands

Please contact the National Capital Commission for regulations governing election signs on its lands. 

Campaign material around a voting place

When a voting place is located within public premises, the entire property of the voting place and all the boundaries associated with it are considered part of that voting place.

When a voting place is located on private premises, such as apartment or condominium buildings, all of the common elements of those buildings are considered part of the voting place. Individual units, however, are not considered common elements and their doors, windows, balconies, etc., do not fall under the jurisdiction of the City of Ottawa.

On both public and private premises, "premises" includes the parking lot, adjoining fences, and adjacent road allowances. The City of Ottawa utilizes only a specific area for a voting place and has no jurisdiction over adjacent properties, for example, over political signs posted on street corners or passing cars advertising a candidate.

Campaigning at a voting place

The Municipal Elections Act, 1996, stipulates that no person shall attempt to influence, directly or indirectly, how the elector votes and no person shall display a candidate’s election campaign material or literature in a voting place.

Clothing or accessories that identify a candidate, such as, signs, buttons, slogans, logos, advertising, etc., are not permitted inside a voting place.

Voting screens are checked regularly for markings and campaign literature.

The Supervisor Deputy Returning Officer is the final arbiter and may take whatever action is deemed necessary to maintain compliance in the voting place.  

Third Party Information Sessions

On Thursday, April 19, 2018, the City of Ottawa’s Elections Office held a Candidate and Third Party Advertiser Information Session.

The information session covered election information for potential candidates and third party advertisers, including:

  • The Municipal Elections Act, 1996 and recent amendments;
  • Eligibility requirements;
  • Candidate nomination process;
  • Third party advertiser registration;
  • Election signs and campaign advertisements;
  • Campaign finances;
  • Additional resources and more.

The PowerPoint presentation from the April 19 session is available to the public.

On Wednesday, August 8, 2018, the City of Ottawa’s Elections Office held the second Candidate and Third Party Advertiser Information Session.

The information session covered election information for candidates and third party advertisers, including:

  • Election signs;
  • Campaign finances;
  • The Voters' List;
  • Proxy voting;
  • Scrutineers and more.

The PowerPoint presentation from the August 8 session is available to the public.