I have received a few comments on my previous post on provincial election canvassers and signs. Now that we are in the midst of municipal elections, people want to know what the rules are for municipal election canvassers and signs in condominiums.
First of all, the same rules apply to municipal canvassers as they do for provincial or federal canvassers. Section 118 of the Condominium Act, 1998 states:
No corporation or employee or agent of a corporation shall restrict reasonable access to the property by candidates, or their authorized representatives, for election to the House of Commons, the Legislative Assembly or an office in a municipal government or school board if access is necessary for the purpose of canvassing or distributing election material.
You must grant canvassers reasonable access to the property. Like so many uses of the word in the Act, reasonable is not defined. That said, a general guideline would be at least 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. as that is the time period set out in the Canada Elections Act (which governs only federal elections). Before prohibiting canvassers from entering your building you should speak with your lawyer.
Signs are a bit trickier than canvassers. For federal elections, the Canada Elections Act states:
…no condominium corporation or any of its agents may prohibit the owner of a condominium unit from displaying election advertising posters on the premises of his or her unit.
It goes on to state that a condominium may set “reasonable conditions relating to the size or type” of sign and may prohibit signs in common areas of the building.
Unfortunately, there is no legislation in Ontario governing provincial elections. For provincial elections, a condominium must be able to rely upon a provision in its declaration (or perhaps a rule) or the Condominium Act, 1998 (i.e. unsafe condition, unreasonable use of common elements).
For municipal elections, a condominium may be able to rely upon the restrictions or conditions set out in a municipal by-law (i.e. sign by-law) if one exists. In the absence of a municipal by-law, the condominium is in the same position as provincial elections – there must be a provision in one of the condominium’s documents or the Act that authorizes the condominium to prohibit the conduct of the owner.
|Federal||Condominium Act, 1998: Must permit reasonable access to property.Canada Elections Act: Must permit access between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. unless physical or emotional well-being of residents harmed.||Canada Elections Act: Must permit owners to post signs on units, but may have reasonable conditions on size and type. May prohibit signs altogether on the common elements.Any prohibitions or conditions should be in the declaration (perhaps a rule).|
|Provincial||Condominium Act, 1998: Must permit reasonable access to property.||May prohibit if set out in the declaration (perhaps a rule) or if contrary to the Act.|
|Municipal||Condominium Act, 1998: Must permit reasonable access to property.||See municipal by-laws for conditions and restrictions.May prohibit if set out in the declaration (perhaps a rule) or if contrary to the Act.|