Canvassers and Signs in a Municipal Election

Better late than never? Today, we briefly review the obligations of condominiums when it comes to canvassers and signs for municipal elections. There are some differences between municipal elections and federal or provincial elections, so keep this in mind when reviewing this post.

For all types of elections condominiums must provide access to the property for candidates or their authorized representatives. Section 118 of Condominium Act, 1998, states:

Entry by canvassers

The Municipal Elections Act also requires condominiums to allow candidates and their representatives access to the building between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.:

Access to residential premises

I have also heard from managers that some candidates and/or representatives are more than willing to come at certain times if that works better for your residents. For example, if you have many owners who go to bed early, they will come earlier in the day and avoid after dinner when people might be trying to get ready for bed. They’ll appreciate your feedback, and you can avoid unnecessary disturbances to your residents. Win-win!

What about signs? The Condominium Act, 1998, is silent on the issue of signs. Does that mean owners can put up as many signs as they want? With bright lights and noise? In any location they want? 

The Municipal Elections Act allows owners to have signs inside their unit, but allows the condominium to set reasonable conditions relating to the size or type of signs and may prohibit signs on the common areas:

Display of signs at residential premises

How should a condominium set reasonable conditions (if it chooses to do so)? The easiest way is to set out the conditions in the rules, although you could put it in the declaration if you wanted. For example, the rules could prohibit owners from placing signs on the common elements or at least away from areas that might block the view of drivers trying to back up out of parking areas or driveways. Some rules limit the number of signs each owner can have (presumably because someone in the past was petty and put up dozens? Petty, in condos? No way!). Some require the signs to be removed within a certain number of days of the election. If you need some ideas, check out your local municipal by-laws as there are usually conditions for election signs.