We previously wrote about provincial and federal elections rules relating to condominiums, especially regarding election signs here: https://ontcondolaw.com/2014/05/15/ontario-election-how-does-it-affect-your-condo/ In anticipation of the upcoming election we take this opportunity to provide some information about canvassers for elections.
Condominium Act, 1998
The Act prohibits condominiums and their agents from restricting access to the property by candidates or their representatives for the purpose of canvassing or distributing election materials:
118 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.
Section 89.1 of Ontario’s Election Act has been amended since the last election. A candidate, or his or her representative ( a “canvasser”), is entitled to access common areas of multi-residence buildings to distribute materials and talk to residents during an election period. Canvassers must follow the following rules:
- Access is limited to between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., from Monday to Friday, or between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on a Saturday or Sunday;
- At least one person seeking access must be at least 18 years of age;
- Every person seeking access must, on request, provide valid identification; and
- Every person seeking access who is not a candidate must, on request, provide a valid Canvasser Authorization Form from the candidate.
Consequences for Denied Access
If a candidate, or his or her representative access has been denied access they must fill out a Notice of Denied Access form and leave a copy with the condominium. If a condominium receives a Notice of Denied Access form it should not be disregarded and access should be promptly provided to the candidate or his or her representative. If a condominium has denied a candidate, or his or her representative access, the electoral district’s returning officer can make an order requiring the condominium to pay fines of:
- $500 for the first contravention
- $1,000 for the second contravention
- $2,000 for the third or subsequent contravention.
Any fines levied will be collected by Elections Ontario. Condominiums can appeal the fine to the Chief Electoral Officer within 15 days of being served the order.
Most importantly – make sure you vote on June 7th!