It is only at the municipal level that elections take place at a regular date set in the provincial Act relating to municipal government.
Here is a breakdown of the various municipal election schedules across the country, as provided in the Background Paper and Survey on Municipal Term and Related Matters by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (see More on the Issue for reference link).
|Jurisdiction ||Term & Last Change ||Municipal Election |
|Alberta ||3 years, “long time ago” (from |
|Third Monday in October |
|British Columbia ||3 years, 1998 (from 2 years) |
|Third Saturday in November |
|Manitoba ||4 years, |
1998 (from 3 years)
|Fourth Wednesday in October |
|New Brunswick ||4 years April 2004 |
|Second Monday in May |
|Newfoundland ||4 years ||Last Tuesday in September |
|Nova Scotia ||4 years 2000 (from 3 years) |
|Third Saturday in October |
|Ontario ||3 years 1982 (from 2 years) |
|Second Monday in November |
|Quebec ||4 years ||First Sunday in November |
|Saskatchewan (rural) |
|2 years ||Third Wednesday in October |
|Saskatchewan (urban) |
|3 years ||Fourth Wednesday in October |
|NWT ||2 or 3 depending on local |
|Third Monday in October for taxed communities, |
second Monday in December for hamlets
|Yukon ||3 years ||Third Thursday |
The provincial Act sets the rules defining when nominations are called, the cut-off date for filing a nomination, and the dates of the election and advance polls. Therefore it is a bit easier to organize your schedule for involvement.
A general nomination’s drill for municipal elections
Below is a checklist provided online by the Strathcona County government in Alberta, a specialized municipality – formerly called a district – that includes both a large urban centre and a significant rural territory and population.
- Obtain permit for election signs from Planning and Development Services
- Obtain identification for yourself and your campaign workers from Legislative
and Legal Services (if required)
- Check Nomination Paper to ensure:
- You have used the proper form (Mayor or Councillor)
- All information is complete and accurate
- Electors who signed Nomination Paper are eligible to sign
- The deposit fee of $100 is included (cash, certified cheque or money
- Provide a Release of Candidate Information to the Returning Officer with
your nomination papers and deposit fee
- Provide agents with a signed Appointment of Agent form
- Keep track of expenses and contributions in accordance with the Disclosure
of Campaign Contributions and Expenses Bylaw
- File Disclosure of Campaign Contributions and Expenses with the Manager
of Legislative and Legal Services by [appropriate date to be determined].
Contact the Clerk’s office in your municipality for the forms, a candidate’s guide and other relevant information. You will probably often also find this information online.
Time requirements if elected
Although your government is close to home at the municipal level and therefore will not require that you spend a lot of time travelling to meetings, as compared to the provincial and federal levels, there are still important time requirements relating to the fulfilment of your duties if you are elected.
The candidate guides from both British Columbia and Alberta underline the demands on your time if elected to a full three-year term:
- In addition to regular Council meetings – usually weekly for municipal
councils and monthly for regional boards – you may be asked to sit on
special committees, boards, commissions or agencies that require significant time
- Council and board members are expected to attend every meeting, although this
is not mandatory. A councillor or board member who is absent from meetings for a
period of 60 consecutive days or four consecutive regularly scheduled meetings,
without permission, will be disqualified from office in some provinces.
- You will be expected to attend certain conferences, conventions, seminars and
- You will have to attend many social and other events promoting your municipality.