Condo buildings can be flooded with campaign flyers and door knockings when elections are underway. While political candidates are entitled to canvassing your condo community under the federal and provincial election acts, the laws and regulations do not apply to the campaign process of nominees – who are yet to become a candidate, writes Bob Mok.
With the 2018 Ontario Provincial election fast approaching, many ridings are preparing to select their candidates over the next few months. Nominees are getting ready to complete their membership sign-ups and campaigning to win the nomination for candidacy.
In their zealous effort to reach potential supporters, nominees have tried to skirt existing laws to achieve their goal. Holding up the Canada Elections Act, the campaign team from one of the nominees in Markham tried to gain access to Condominium apartment buildings and knock on doors within. Gaining access to public places and residential dwellings by nominees is not mandated by law and it also infringes on the privacy of residents as well.
While the Federal Canada Elections Act allows for the candidates in a Federal election and referendum to gain access to public places and residential dwelling by the candidates and their representatives during a campaign, this is not the case. A nominee is not a candidate until the nomination race is won. Therefore, the team in question is only representing a nominee for a provincial candidacy and not a candidate. The Federal Canada Elections Act also is not applicable to Provincial election activities.
This action of the campaign team to leave the Federal Canada Elections Act pages with the building security personnel to try and convince them to allow for the door knocking activity identifies the team's ignorance of the law and the use of a strong arm tactic to approach residents to further their campaign in order to gain an advantage over other law-abiding nominees.
“安大略省选举法”涵盖了与省级选举及选举管理的各种问题，但此法却没有就公共场所和住宅拉票问题进行规定。 事实上，“住宅租赁法”第28条规定了人们进入出租公寓的规则。 进入共管公寓的规定由“公寓法”第118条涵盖，此法还规定了教委选举进入公寓拉票的规则。这些法案都规定民宅大楼要允许“候选人及其授权代表”进行拉票或分发选举材料。
The Ontario Elections Act covers a full spectrum of issues relating to the provincial elections and their administrations but it is silent when it comes to access to public places and residential dwellings. The access to rented premises at all three levels of government is actually covered by Section 28 of the Residential Tenancies Act. The access to condominium is addressed by Section 118 of the Condominium Act which also includes the School Boards elections. Within these Acts, it is mandated that reasonable access for canvassing or distributing election materials for “Candidates and their authorized representative” cannot be restricted.
It is necessary for management and security to demand proper credentials from anyone who claims to be a candidate's representative. A simple solution is to review a copy of signed authorization from the candidate's office and check it against the representative's identification. If in doubt, a call should be made to the campaign office to verify the document's authenticity. This would help to prevent thieves and robbers from gaining access to the building during election time.
Since campaigning for nominees are excluded from various Acts, it will be up to the management of condominium or apartment building to determine whether such campaigning activities should be allowed. Once a precedence is set, the management will probably have to allow all other nominees or candidates to gain access in order to exercise fairness to all. It is questionable that residents want constant door knocking activities within their buildings.
Nominees and their campaigning are only the first steps to becoming candidates. Nominees and their representatives have no rights to invade the privacy of residents within condominiums and apartments. They can request access but it is up to management of the building to grant them their wishes. It is not the nominee's rights!
In the upcoming 2018 Municipal election, the York Region Chair position may also be included for public election if Bill #42 becomes law on time. This will further increase the number of candidates who will be visiting private places like Condominiums and apartment buildings.
To summarize this issue: Access to Public places and Residential dwellings are allowed by candidates and their representatives for the purpose of canvassing or distribution of election materials during the election campaign period only. While the Canada Elections Act pertains to the Federal elections only and stipulates that offenders are subject to fines and prison terms, the other Condominium and Tenancies Acts do not specifically address any repercussions for non-compliance. It is expected that property management will be expedient and reasonable when it comes to granting access to candidates and their representatives to facilitate an open and democratic election process.
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