Third Party Advertisers

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Third Party Advertisers

Third party advertising rules came into effect on April 1, 2018 as a result of amendments to the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, S.O. 1996, Chapter 32. Sched. 

A third party advertisement is a paid message placed in any medium (broadcast, print or electronic) by an individual (other than the nominated candidate), corporation, or trade union that supports or opposes a candidate for council, mayor or a school board.  There were previously no rules regulating third party advertising in municipal elections.

Effective May 1, 2018 an interested third party advertiser is required to register with the Town Clerk if they want to advertise. Until the Town Clerk certifies the registration, the third party advertiser may not pay for any advertising/promotion on behalf of a candidate.

Rules

The Municipal Elections Act now includes rules for third party advertising. 

Individuals, corporations and trade unions in Ontario can register as third party advertisers and can also make contributions to third party advertisers. Third party advertising must be done independently of candidates. Candidates cannot register as a third party advertiser and cannot provide direction to a third party advertiser. 

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 governments, municipalities, or local boards

Key Dates

Key Date Reason
April 1, 2018 new rules come into effect
May 1, 2018 first day of third party advertisers to register
October 19, 2018 last day for third party advertisers to register
December 31, 2018 campaign period ends and last day to accept contributions
March 29, 2019 (2pm) last day to file financials statements and auditor's reports

*In certain circumstances the filing date or campaign period may be extended.

What is NOT a Third Party Advertisement

Activities that do not involve spending money, such as discussions or expressing an opinion about a candidate (or an answer to a question on the ballot) are not considered to be third party advertising. Examples include:

  • speaking to friends and neighbours
  • posting on social media, such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram
  • sending an email to a group or mailing list

Internal communications from an employer to their employees, a corporation to its shareholders, directors, members or employees or by a trade union to its members or employees are not considered to be third party advertising.

Registration

Third party advertisers are required to register with the Town Clerk prior to incurring any expenses for advertisements or receiving any contributions. Individuals wishing to register must schedule an appointment with the Town Clerk calling 905-476-4301.  Registration packages will be available for pick up from the Clerk’s Office , 26557 Civic Centre Road, Keswick beginning May 1, 2018. 

Alternatively, you may print the registration application here:

Third party advertisers can register up until October 19, 2018.  There is no fee to register.  However, there is a $250 non-refundable filing fee if a third party advertiser places outdoor signs within the municipal boundaries.  If a third party advertiser wants to advertise in more than one municipality they must register in each municipality in which they plan to advertise. The prescribed registration forms will be released in April 2018.

Contributions

Unlike previous elections, contributions by corporations and trade unions to candidates are now banned. Corporations and trade unions can contribute to registered third party advertisers. Contributions can only be made during the campaign period (which begins the day the third party registers and ends on December 31, 2018). Money, goods and services are considered contributions.

The maximum contribution from a single contributor is $1,200 to a registered third party advertiser and a total of $5,000 to two or more registered third party advertisers in a municipality. These limits do not apply to contributions by a registered third party advertiser to itself and, if the registered third party is an individual, by his or her spouse.

Who is permitted to contribute to a third party advertiser?

  • an individual who is normally an Ontario resident
  • a corporation that does 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

Expenses

Third party advertisers will be subject to two spending limits:

  • a general spending limit
  • a separate limit for expenses related to parties and expressions of appreciation after the close of voting

The Town will provide a preliminary Certificate of Maximum Third Party Expense Limit to third party advertisers at registration. A final Certificate of Maximum Third Party Expense Limit will be provided to the registered third party advertisers by September 25, 2018. The final spending limit is based on the higher of:

  • the number of electors as of Nomination Day in the 2014 election or September 15 of the previous election for all future elections going forward
  • the number of electors as of September 15 in the 2018 election

Filing Requirements for Third Party Advertisers

All registered third parties must file a financial statement using a prescribed form. Third party advertisers whose contributions and total expenses are equal to or less than $10,000 are not required to file an auditor’s report with the financial statement. A registered third party whose contributions or total expenses exceed $10,000 are required to file an auditor’s report with the financial statement.

Advertisements

Third party advertisements must contain the following:

  • name of the registered third party
  • the municipality where the third party is registered
  • a telephone number, mailing address or email address at which the third party may be contacted regarding the advertisement

Media Outlets

A broadcaster or publisher must ensure that the following information is provided to them, from the third party advertiser, for any advertisement running between May 1 and October 22, 2018:

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

The broadcaster or publisher must retain this information including a statement of the charge for the advertisement and a copy of the advertisement or means of reproducing it. This record must be retained for four years after the date the advertisement appeared and the public must be able to view these records during normal business hours.

Removal of Third Party Advertisements

If an advertisement is determined to be in contravention of the rules for third party advertising or a person has caused or permitted the contravention of the rules or of any Town by-law, the Town may either remove the advertisement or ask the sponsor to remove the advertisement.

 

 

 

Attached Documents: 

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PDF icon Third Party Registration645.38 KB