Questions About Upcoming Local Government Elections?
July 23, 2014
The Local Elections Campaign Financing Act (LECFA) came into force on May 29, 2014 to increase local elections campaign financing and election advertising accountability, transparency, compliance and enforcement. Candidates for local elections must now comply with LECFA, the Local Government Act and the Vancouver Charter (for City of Vancouver office) rules.
The new legislation introduces several significant changes to local elections, including:
- A role for Elections BC: Under LECFA, Elections BC is responsible for administering, investigating and enforcing LECFA’s campaign financing and election advertising rules. All candidates, elector organizations and third party sponsors must now file their disclosure statements directly with Elections BC within 90 days following general voting day (February 13, 2015). A disclosure statement may be filed up to 120 days after general voting day; however must include a $500 late filing fee (March 16, 2015).
- Election proceedings period: The election proceedings period runs from September 30, 2014 to November 15, 2014. Election advertising (e.g. signs, posters, internet advertising, brochures and pamphlets) transmitted during this period must include sponsorship information.
- Third party sponsors: A third party sponsor is an individual or organization that undertakes election advertising independent from a candidate or elector organization during the election proceedings period. Third party sponsors must register with Elections BC before undertaking any advertising and they must submit a disclosure statement to Elections BC.
- Nomination process: Local governments now use standard nomination forms which require detailed contact information for candidates and their representatives. A solemn declaration (included in the nomination package) stating that the candidate is aware of, understands, and intends to comply with LECFA is also required.
Many sources of information are available to help local elections candidates and participants understand elections rules.
Educational guides for candidates and elector organizations outlining general information about local elections administration and the major elements of the election process are available on the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development’s (MCSCD) website. An information brochure for candidates and guides detailing how to vote and how to support a candidate are also available on the MCSCD’s website.
The MCSCD recently presented a live webinar for potential candidates and election participants that explained how to run for office. Elections BC was invited to provide information about the new campaign financing and election advertising rules. Look for a recording of the webinar on the MCSCD’s website in August.
Elections BC provides educational materials to help candidates, elector organizations, financial agents and third party sponsors understand the rules and regulations under LECFA. The Third Party Sponsor Guide to Local Elections in B.C. is available on Elections BC’s website and the Guide to Local Elections Campaign Financing in B.C. will be available at the end of July once government finalizes some specific rules. Please visit Elections BC’s website or phone them at 1-855-952-0280.