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Registered Third Party Advertisers

Effective May 1, 2018, new rules have been placed on advertisements during a municipal election period. From May 1, 2018 to October 22, 2018 no paid advertisements can be made to support or oppose a candidate or a question on the ballot for the municipal election unless that person is a registered candidate or registered third party advertiser. 

Who can register as a Third Party Advertiser?

A registered third party advertiser is an individual, corporation, trade union, or other body and that advertises to support or oppose a candidate or a question on the ballot for the municipal election.  A registered third party is subject to many of the requirements as that of a candidate including filing registration papers, expense limits, financial statements, and are subject to the municipal election sign by-law and other legislation and by-laws. 

No election advertising outside of a candidate or registered third party is permitted. 

A third party may register with the Clerks Department from May 1, 2018 to October 19, 2018.  Registered third party packages will be available mid-April, 2018. There is no registration fee for third party advertising, but the Clerk must examine the registration and then certify the notice of registration if deemed compliant, or reject the registration.

The following are not permitted to register:

  • Municipal election candidates; 
  • Federal and Provincial political parties, constituency associations, registered candidates and leadership contestants;
  • Federal and Provincial government, a municipality or local board.

If third party advertisers want to advertise in more than one municipality, they will be required to register in each municipality. This includes newspaper publications that originate in one municipality but are delivered to multiple municipalities.

What is considered a paid advertisement?

The following are not considered as paid advertisements:

  • an advertisement by and under the direction of a candidate;
  • where no expenses are incurred by the person/entity in relation to the advertisement;
  • when given or transmitted by an individual to employees, by a corporation to its shareholders, directors, members or employees or by a trade union to its members or employees.

Advertising that does not cost money to post or to broadcast, such as comments made on social media, will not be considered as third party advertising.

Rules for Broadcasters and Publishers

Broadcasters and publishers are responsible for ensuring that all qualifying advertisements comply with the Municipal Elections Act.

Restricted Campaign Period

Broadcasters and publishers may only permit third party advertisements to appear between May 1, 2018 and October 22, 2018 (Election Day).

Mandatory Information

A registered third party advertiser must provide the following information to the broadcaster or publisher in writing before the third party advertisement appears:

  • Name of the registered third party
  • Name of the business address and telephone number of the individual who deals with the broadcaster or publisher under the direction of the registered third party
  • Municipality where the registered third party is registered

All third party advertisements must contain the following information:

  • Name of the registered third party
  • Municipality where the registered third party is registered
  • Telephone number, mailing address or email address at which the registered third party may be contacted regarding the advertisement

Maintaining Records

The broadcaster or publisher of a third party advertisement must maintain records for 4 years after the date the advertisement appears. These records must contain:

  • Mandatory information described in section 1 (above), as outlined under section 88.5(2) of the Act
  • A copy of the advertisement, or the means of reproducing it for inspection
  • A statement of charge made for its appearance.

The public must be permitted to inspect the records during normal business hours.

Charges and Contributions

The broadcaster or publisher may not charge a third party advertiser more of less than their normal advertising rate. If less is charged, the difference is deemed to be a contribution to the third party advertiser. Providing free advertising is considered a contribution towards the third party advertiser, unless all third party advertisers are offered the same service.

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. A Third Party Advertisers’ guide, published by the Government of Ontario, will be provided upon registration.

Additional Resources

Municipal Elections Act, 1996

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Notice to Broadcasters and Advertisers

Third Party Advertiser Registration Package

For a full listing of elections forms, documents and publications please visit the CivicWeb portal.

 


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