Now that the Ontario provincial election is underway, candidates will be on the campaign trail until Election Day on June 7, 2018.
Condominium managers, boards and residents should be aware of new rules from Elections Ontario about election canvassing in condominiums. Election candidates and their representatives are legally entitled to have access to the common elements of condominiums that consist of seven or more residential units. The following rules must be complied with:
- Access is limited to between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, and between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays
- At least one person seeking access must be at least 18 years of age
- Every canvasser or candidate seeking access must, on request, provide valid identification; and
- Every canvasser seeking access who is not a candidate must, on request, provide a valid Canvasser Authorization Form from the candidate.
Elections Ontario has set out procedures to be followed when a canvasser has been denied access to a condominium. The canvasser must complete a Notice of Denied Access Form and leave it with the condominium corporation. The Notice will advise the corporation to contact the canvasser within 24 hours to make arrangements for access. If the canvasser is still not able to obtain access after leaving the Notice of Denied Access Form, then the canvasser must submit to the returning officer a Report of Denied Access Form, together with a copy of the Notice of Denied Access Form.
The returning officer has the power to make an Order of Administrative Penalty, which will result in monetary fines:
- $500 for the first contravention by the condominium corporation
- $1,000 for the second contravention by the condominium corporation
- $2,000 for the third and any subsequent contravention by the condominium corporation
If a condominium corporation with seven or more residential units receives a Notice of Denied Access Form, it should not be ignored and access should be promptly granted.
However, even though condominium corporations are legally required to provide election canvassers with access to the common elements, residents are not required to open their doors when canvassers come knocking.