Monday September 16, 2019


Third Party Advertising

 Third Party Advertisers

Third Party Advertisers registration opens May 1, 2018 and closes on October 19, 2018.

The Municipal Act now includes a framework for third party advertising.  The framework came into effect on April 1, 2018, so the rules are in place for the 2018 Municipal Election.

Who is a Third Party Advertiser?

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.

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 issue-based advertising so groups that do public outreach can continue their issues-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.

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?

If approached by Third Party Advertisers, it is very important that you adhere to the following mandatory rules:

  • By Section 88.4 of the Act, broadcasters and publishers may only permit third party advertisements to appear between May 1, 2018 and Election Day (October 22, 2018);
  • A registered third party must provide the following information to the broadcasters or publisher in writing before the third party advertisement 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.


Campaign provisions have been clarified to allow candidates to access apartment buildings, condominiums, non-profit housing, co-ops or gated communities from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. in order to campaign.  Landlords and condominium corporations will not be allowed to prohibit tenants or owners from displaying campaign signs in their windows.

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.