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Deciding to run

Key Dates - 2018 Municipal & School Board Elections

Nomination and Campaign Period Begins May 1, 2018
Nomination Day (Last Day to be Nominated) July 27, 2018
Final Day For Withdrawal of Candidacy July 27, 2018
Voting Day October 22, 2018
School Board Term Begins December 1, 2018
Campaign Period Ends December 31, 2018
Financial Filing Deadline March 29, 2019
School Board Terms Ends November 14, 2022

Detailed information can be found in the 2018 Candidates’ Guide for Ontario Municipal and School Board Elections available at www.ontario.ca/municipalelections.

Nomination

Interested candidates must file nomination papers. Nomination papers may be filed in the office of the municipal clerk from May 1, 2018 until 2 p.m. on nomination day, Friday, July 27, 2018. Visit your municipality's website to find the location of your municipal clerk's office.

Nomination process

Withdrawal of candidacy

If a candidate decides to withdraw from the election, they must notify the clerk in writing no later than 2 p.m. on nomination day (Friday, July 27, 2018).

A candidate who withdraws is still required to submit a completed financial disclosure covering all financial transactions made up to the date the nomination was withdrawn. A candidate who withdraws is entitled to have their nomination fee refunded if they file their financial statement by the filing deadline.

Election finances

All candidates are responsible for acting in accordance with the financial provisions set out in the Municipal Elections Act, 1996. Candidates should become familiar with these provisions.

Here are some frequently asked questions with regards to election finances:

When can I accept contributions and spend funds?

The campaign period defines when a candidate can accept contributions or spend dollars in support of the campaign. The campaign period begins on the day when the candidate files a nomination for office, and ends on December 31, 2018. Contributions cannot be made to or accepted by a candidate nor an expense incurred outside of the candidate's campaign period. Candidates cannot accept campaign contributions or incur expenses before they are nominated. At the end of the campaign period, all candidates are required to file a financial statement with the municipal clerk and should ensure that an accounting system that meets the requirements of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 is used.

What are the limits that apply to campaign contributions?

The limit on contributions donated in money, goods or services from any individual is $1,200 to any one candidate, regardless of the number of offices the candidate was nominated for during the election period. The limit applies whether the contribution consists of one large donation or is the total of a number of smaller contributions of money, goods or services from the same contributor. The maximum total amount a contributor may contribute to candidates in the same jurisdiction is $5,000. Each municipal council and each school board is a separate jurisdiction. Only a contribution that is $25 or less can be made in cash. Contributions greater than $25 (including tickets to a fundraising event) must be made by cheque, money order or other method that clearly shows where the funds came from.

Can I contribute to my own campaign?

A candidate may contribute to their own campaign. There is no limit on contributions from a candidate or their spouse to the candidate's campaign, but they are considered to be a contribution and must be reported as such and a receipt must be issued. Contributions to a candidate's (or spouse's) own campaign do not count toward the $5,000 limit.

If a campaign ends in a surplus, a candidate may withdraw from the campaign surplus the value of the candidate's (and spouse's) contribution(s).

Financial reports must be filed by 2 p.m. on March 29, 2019.

What rules apply to fundraising events?

Fundraising functions are events or activities held by a candidate or under the candidate's direction for the primary purpose of raising money for the candidate's campaign. Such activities include dinners, dances, barbeques, etc., for which there is an admission charge, as well as auctions, button sales, etc., for which there may not be an admission charge. A campaign event at which incidental fundraising takes place does not qualify as a fundraising function.

Fundraising functions for a candidate can only be held during that candidate's campaign period.

The gross income (both admission revenue and other revenue) and expenses from each function must be recorded and reported on the candidate's financial statement. The price of admission to a fundraising function is a campaign contribution and a receipt must be issued for the full amount.

What are the limits that apply to campaign spending?

There are limits on the amount a candidate may spend on expenses during the candidate's campaign period. Campaign expense limits are based on a formula that corresponds to the number of electors in the jurisdiction or ward in which the candidate is seeking office. There are different expense limits for heads of municipal council and for members of municipal councils and school boards.

The clerk must provide each candidate with an estimated spending limit upon filing of nomination papers. The estimate will be calculated based on the number of electors in the previous election. The clerk must provide each candidate with a final spending limit on or before September 25.

The final campaign spending limit will be calculated based on the number of electors on the voters' list for the current election. If the final limit is lower than the estimate, the higher amount becomes the candidate's official spending limit.

Formula to calculate the candidate's limit:

For candidates in school board elections: $5,000 plus $0.85 per eligible elector.

There is a separate spending limit for expenses related to parties and other expressions of appreciation after the close of voting. This limit is calculated at 10% of a candidate's general spending limit.

Penalties

An individual who is convicted of an offence under the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, including contravention of the contribution rules, may be subject to the following penalties:

Candidates who are convicted of exceeding the spending limit may also be fined the amount by which they exceeded the limit.