Election Information for Third Party Advertisers

Definition

A third party is any person or entity that is not a political party, candidate or constituency association, and that engages in political advertising. Third parties include corporations, partnerships, unincorporated businesses and associations, and many other groups.

Registration dates

Registration for Third Party Advertisers opens on May 2, 2022 and closes on October 21, 2022.

Third Party Advertisers' Guide

The Province of Ontario has published a 2022 Third Party Advertisers' Guide that contains all the information a Third Party Advertiser requires.

Forms

These links will take you to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Central Forms Repository website. Please contact rrogers@highlandseast.ca if you are unable to download the forms.

Campaigning

Candidates and Third Party Advertisers are required to identify themselves on campaign advertisements and signs, so that it is clear who is responsible for each sign and advertisement that appears or is broadcast.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Third Party Advertisement?

A third party advertisement is a message in any medium (billboard, newspaper, radio, etc.) that supports or opposes a candidate or a “yes” or “no” vote on a question on the ballot. Third party advertising does not include issues-based advertising so groups that do public outreach can continue their issued-based advocacy work throughout the municipal election period. Advertising that does not cost money to post or broadcast, such as comments made on social media, will not be considered to be third party advertising.

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.

Who can register as a Third Party Advertiser?

Individuals, corporations and unions can register as third party advertisers and can also make contributions to third party advertisers. Third party advertisers will need to register with the municipality where they want to advertise. If they want to advertise in more than one municipality, they have to register in each municipality. Registration allows a third party advertiser to promote or oppose any candidate that the electors in the municipality can vote for (local council, school board trustee positions and regional or county council offices). Third party advertising must be done independently of candidates, who are not able to direct a third party advertiser. Candidates are not able to register as third party advertisers.

What Are The Requirements For Third Party Advertising?

It is very important that the following mandatory rules are followed:

  • By Section 88.4 of the Act states that broadcasters and publishers may only permit third party advertisements to appear between May 2, 2022 and Election Day (October 24, 2022);
  • A registered third party must provide the following information to the broadcasters or publisher in writing before the third party advertisements appears:
    • The name of the registered third party;
    • The 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;
    • The municipality where the registered third party is registered;

How do campaign finance rules apply to Third Party Advertisers?

Most campaign finance rules that apply to candidates will also apply to third party advertisers. Third party advertisers will have spending limits and there will be contribution limits for those wishing to contribute to a third party advertiser. Corporations and unions will be permitted to contribute to third party advertisers, but will not be permitted to contribute to candidates.

Rules for determining whether two corporations should be considered as a single corporation are simplified, so that it should be easier for corporations and candidates to determine whether the contributions from two corporations should count towards the same contribution limit to third party advertisers.

When can Third Party Ads be run?

Broadcasters and publishers may only permit third party advertisements to appear between May 2, 2022 and October 24, 2022 (Election Day).

What are the legal obligations for broadcasters and publishers?

The following is a summary for broadcasters and publishers of their obligations under the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 (the Act) if they broadcast or publish a third party advertisement during the upcoming municipal election. For further information, visit the Government of Ontario’s website or contact the Ministry of Municipal Affairs

The requirements for broadcasters and publishers include:

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 • Municipality where the registered third party is registered • A telephone number, mailing address or email address at which the registered third party may be contacted regarding the advertisement. 2016, c. 15, s. 48.

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 or 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.