The last day that candidates could file nominations for office was August 19, 2022 at 2 p.m.
The nomination filing fee is $200 for the office of the mayor and $100 for all other offices. The filing fee is payable by cash, debit, VISA, MasterCard, certified cheque or money order made payable to the City of Guelph.
A candidate is only entitled to a refund if they file their financial statement and auditor’s report on or before 2 p.m. on the filing deadline established by the Municipal Elections Act. This would mean that before a candidate receives a refund, they must file their financial statements and auditor’s report to the city clerk.
If you are running for council, you must submit endorsement signatures from 25 people who are eligible to vote in Guelph. Candidates for school board trustee do not have to submit endorsement signatures.
Anyone providing an endorsement signature must be eligible to vote in Guelph on the day that they signed the endorsement. In addition to their endorsement, they will also be required to sign a declaration that they are eligible to vote.
A person who is eligible to vote may provide endorsements to as many candidates as they choose and may endorse candidates for any office on council. A person who is running for a councillor office may submit signatures from voters who do not live in that ward.
If you submit 25 endorsement signatures and find out later that a person (or persons) was not eligible to vote on the day that they signed the endorsement, you will not lose your nomination. The person who supplied false information (by declaring that they were eligible to endorse your nomination when they were not eligible) could be subject to prosecution.
Are candidates or their agents allowed to access multi-residential properties, such as apartment buildings, condominiums or co-operatives in order to campaign?
The Residential Tenancies Act, the Condominium Act, and the Co-operative Corporations Act permit candidates to have reasonable access to apartment buildings, condominiums, and non-profit housing co-ops if access is necessary for the purpose of canvassing or distributing election material.
The Municipal Elections Act guarantees candidates’ right to access apartment buildings, condominiums, and non-profit housing co-ops between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. for the purposes of campaigning at the doors to the apartments, units or houses.
In September 2022, each candidate will be provided access to an electronic copy of the voters’ list containing those electors for the office they are nominated for.
Please note that information from the voters’ list can only be used for the purposes of the Municipal Election. The list cannot be used for commercial purposes. Candidates must ensure that members of their campaign teams are aware of these restrictions on the use of the voters’ list.
Yes, campaigning can occur on election day. The only restriction is that campaign materials are not be permitted anywhere on the property that is a voting location. This means no one may distribute or wear campaign materials in a voting location and campaign signs cannot be erected on a voting location property.
Yes. A revised Election Sign By-law regulating all election signs was approved by Guelph City Council on April 25, 2022.
- no illuminated election signs
- maximum sign area 0.47 square metres (5 square feet)
- maximum sign height 2.13 metres (7 feet)
- no City logo or branding allowed on sign
- not allowed on public property including a park
- must be 1 metre from a curb
- cannot be on medians
- need to be 3 metres from a school crossing and 10 metres from an intersection pedestrian signal
- not allowed within 100 metres of a voting place during advanced voting days and election day (unless on private residential property)
- cannot interfere with safety equipment, traffic or pedestrian traffic
- cannot be on any tree, pole, light standard or other utility infrastructure including a road
- not allowed in wards other than the one the candidate is running in
- only one sign per candidate per private property
- for multi-residential properties, one sign per candidate per unit will be allowed, provided that the signs are a minimum of 1 metre apart
- cannot be placed less than 10 metres from another sign for the same candidate or the same third party on a boulevard
- only one sign per candidate for every 500 metres of frontage
- cannot be placed less than 50 metres from another sign for the same candidate or third party on a boulevard
Yes, a fee of $150.00 is required to be paid before election signs are posted. This fee will be refunded if the signs are removed within 72 hours of voting day and if there are no outstanding fines resulting from violations of the City’s Election Sign By-law.
Election signs cannot be posted more than 45 days prior to election day. Therefore, the first day an election sign can be posted is September 9, 2022. Elections signs must be removed within 72 hours (3 days) of election day.
A candidate cannot incur any expenses until after they have filed a nomination paper with the city clerk.
Each candidate will receive a notification of the eligible amount they can spend (based on the 2018 electoral counts) when they file a nomination paper. A subsequent calculation based on 2022 electoral counts will be issued in September. The greater of the two shall be the final amount used for the purposes of the 2022 election.
Yes. You must open a bank account exclusively for your campaign if you accept any contributions of money (including contributions from yourself or your spouse) or incur any expenses. If you do not spend any money and do not receive any contributions of money, you do not have to open a campaign bank account. If you receive contributions of goods or services, but no contributions of money, you do not have to open a campaign bank account.
You cannot use your personal bank account for campaign finances, even if you are planning a very small campaign.
All contributions, including contributions you make to yourself, must be deposited into the campaign bank account. All expenses must be paid for from the campaign account.
The nomination fee is considered to be a personal expense, not a campaign expense. You do not need to have a campaign bank account in order to pay the nomination fee.
Campaign contributions are any money, goods or services that are given to you for use in your campaign, including money and goods that you contribute to yourself. If you are given a special discount on a good or service that you are purchasing for your campaign, the difference between what you were charged and what the market value would be is considered to be a contribution.
Corporations and other businesses are not permitted to make contributions to candidates. If you are being offered a discount, you should make sure that whoever is offering the discount is entitled to make a personal contribution to your campaign. If a professional who would normally charge for a service gives you that service for free, the market value of the service is considered to be a contribution.
If you sell goods at a fundraising event for more than their market value, the difference between what the person attending the fundraising event paid you and what they would have normally paid for the item is considered to be a contribution. If you sell tickets to a fundraising event, the cost of the ticket is considered to be a contribution.
If you have inventory such as signs left over from a previous campaign and you use them again, the current market value of the signs (what it would cost you to buy those signs today) is considered to be a contribution that you make to your campaign.
If you or your spouse guarantees your campaign loan and the campaign is unable to repay the full amount, any unpaid balance is considered to be a contribution by the guarantor.
A candidate can only accept contributions after they have filed a nomination paper with the city clerk. All money, goods, and services given to and accepted by or on behalf of a person for his or her election campaign are contributions.
If you have volunteers working for your campaign, the value of their volunteer labour is not considered to be a contribution.
A cash donation of $25 or less received at a fundraising event is not considered to be a contribution, and you may accept such donations without keeping track of who gave them to you. You will have to report the total amount of money that you received from these donations on your financial statement.
The value of free political advertising provided that such advertising is made available to all candidates and is in accordance with the Broadcasting Act (Canada) is not considered to be a contribution.
If you obtain a campaign loan from a bank or a recognized lending institution, the amount of the loan is not considered to be a contribution.
You can only accept contributions after you have filed your nomination, and you cannot accept contributions after your campaign period has finished. Any contributions received outside of the campaign period must be returned to the contributor. If you cannot return the contribution to the contributor you must turn it over to the city clerk.
You can accept contributions only from individuals who are normally resident in Ontario. Corporations and trade unions are no longer permitted to make contributions to candidates.
If your spouse is not normally a resident in Ontario, they can still make contributions to your campaign. They may not make contributions to any other candidate.
Groups such as clubs, associations or ratepayer’s groups are not eligible to make contributions. The members of these groups may make individual contributions from their personal funds (as long as they are residents of Ontario).
The following individuals and organizations are not permitted to make contributions to municipal council and school board campaigns:
- a corporation
- a trade union
- an individual who is not normally resident in Ontario
- a federal political party, constituency association, or a registered candidate in a federal election
- a provincial political party, constituency association, or a registered candidate or leadership contestant
- a federal or provincial government, a municipality or a school board
Corporations and trade unions, as well as individuals, may however register as a third party advertiser or contribute to a third party advertiser. More information about third party advertisers is available by visiting the third party advertisers page.
You are required to return any contribution that was made or accepted in contravention of the Municipal Elections Act as soon as you learn that it was an ineligible contribution. If you cannot return the contribution, you must turn it over to the city clerk.
Contributions should be returned or paid to the city clerk if the contribution is:
- made outside your campaign period
- from an anonymous source (except for donations of $25 or less at a fundraising event)
- from an ineligible source (e.g. someone who doesn’t live in Ontario, a corporation, etc.)
- greater than the $1,200 limit or the $5,000 total limit per jurisdiction
- a cash contribution greater than $25
- from funds that do not belong to the contributor who gave them to you
Yes. There is a $1,200 limit that applies to contributions from other individuals. If a person makes more than 1 contribution (for example, contributes money, contributes goods, and purchases a ticket to a fundraising event), the total value of all the contributions cannot exceed $1,200.
The maximum total amount that a contributor can give to candidates in the same jurisdiction (for example, running for the same council or the same school board) is $5,000.
You are required to inform every contributor of the contribution limits. An easy way to make sure that this is done is to include the contribution limits on the receipt that you provide for each contribution.
Only a contribution that is $25 or less can 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 came from (such as certain debit, credit or electronic transfer transactions).
Yes. If you are running for municipal council, there is a limit on the total amount that you and your spouse may collectively contribute to your own campaign. The contribution limit is calculated based on the number of electors who are eligible to vote for the office that you are running for. The formula to calculate the limit is:
- for head of council: $7,500 plus $0.20 per eligible elector
- for council member or school board trustees: $5,000 plus $0.20 per eligible elector
There is a cap of $25,000. If the formula results in a number greater than $25,000, the limit will still be $25,000. The city clerk will outline what your self-funding limit is when you file your nomination.
All of the contributions that you and your spouse make to your own campaign count towards this limit, including:
- contributions of money
- the value of goods or services that you or your spouse donate to the campaign
- the value of any inventory from the previous election that you use again in this campaign
Please note that this limit does not apply to school board trustee candidates.
Yes, you must issue a receipt for every contribution you receive. The receipt should show who made the contribution, the date, and the value. If the contribution was in goods or services, you must determine the value of the goods or services and issue a receipt for the full value.
If you receive a cheque from a joint personal account, the receipt must be issued only to the person who signed the cheque. The contribution can only come from one person.
You are required to list the names and addresses of every contributor who gives more than $100 total to your campaign in your financial statement. You should keep a record of the names and addresses of every contributor, regardless of the value of their contribution, because the same contributor may make multiple contributions that end up totalling more than $100.
Please note that contribution receipts are not tax receipts. Contributions to municipal and school board campaigns cannot be credited against provincial or federal income taxes.
If your campaign has a surplus after you have refunded contributions made by yourself or your spouse, you must pay the surplus over to the clerk when you file your financial statement. The surplus will be held in trust, and you can use it if you incur expenses related to a compliance audit. If the surplus is not needed for these expenses it becomes the property of the municipality or the school board.
If your campaign expenses are greater than your campaign income, your campaign will be in deficit.
Please note that ending your campaign with a deficit may result in questions being raised about how expenses were paid for, and whether you contributed more than your self-funding limit by paying outstanding expenses with personal funds.
As a candidate, what are my responsibilities relating to filing a financial statement at the end of my campaign?
It is your responsibility as a candidate to file a complete and accurate financial statement on time. The filing deadline is 2 p.m. on the last Friday in March following the election (March 31, 2023).
If you have a bookkeeper or accountant complete the financial statement for you, you are still responsible for ensuring that it is complete and accurate and filed on time.
If you filed a nomination form you must file a financial statement. This includes candidates who withdrew their nomination, candidates who were not certified and did not appear on the ballot, and candidates who were acclaimed.
If you did not receive any contributions (including contributions from yourself) or incur any expenses, you are only required to fill out the first page of the financial statement and sign it. If you received contributions or incurred any expenses you must complete the relevant parts of the financial statement.
If your campaign contributions (including contributions from yourself) or campaign expenses are greater than $10,000 you must have your financial statement audited and include the auditor’s report when you submit your financial statement to the city clerk.
You can file your campaign financial statement after you have ended your campaign. If you file your statement early and then discover that there is an error in it, you can submit a corrected statement at any time before the filing deadline on March 31, 2023. Your original statement is deemed to be withdrawn when you file the corrected statement. You cannot withdraw a financial statement without submitting a corrected one.
Applying for an extension
If you think that you will be unable to file your financial statement by the deadline, you may apply before March 31, 2023 to the Superior Court of Justice for an extension. If the court grants the extension, you will receive the refund of your nomination fee if you file by the deadline given to you by the court.
Grace period for filing
If you have not filed your financial statement by the deadline, you may file your financial statement within 30 days after the deadline, if you pay the City a $500 late filing fee. This grace period ends at 2 p.m. on Monday, May 1, 2023. You will not receive a refund of your nomination fee if you file during the 30-day grace period.
If you have not filed your financial statement by the end of the 30-day grace period and you did not apply to the court for an extension prior to the deadline, automatic penalties apply:
- you will forfeit your elected office (if you won the election)
- you will be ineligible to run for office or be appointed to fill a vacancy until after the 2026 election
If you did not file your financial statement by the end of the grace period, you may still file it for the purposes of having your finances on the record. The clerk will accept the financial statement and make it available to the public. The penalties will still apply.