When Should I Complain?



Partisan and election advertising

The Act only regulates advertising during the pre-election period* and the election period.**

The Act does:

  • regulate the reporting of advertising-related expenses
  • require an authorization statement (‘tag line’)

The Act does not:

  • prohibit or regulate partisan advertising outside of the pre-election period
  • prohibit or regulate election advertising outside of the election period
  • regulate – except in limited circumstances – the content of advertising

*The pre-election period begins on June 30 before the writs for a general election held on a fixed date are issued and ends the day before the issue of the writs for that general election.
**The election period begins with the issue of the writ(s) and ends on election day.

Content of partisan or election advertising

The Act does not:

  • regulate – except in limited circumstances - the content of partisan or election advertising.

Generally speaking, the Act does:

  • require an authorization statement (‘tag line’)

It also contains some prohibitions around content such as:

  • making or transmitting misleading publications that claim to have been made by Elections Canada or a political entity
  • using a pretence or contrivance to influence electors’ votes

(for related items, see Authorization or Tag Lines)

Election advertising on polling day

On polling day, the Act allows communications such as:

  • campaign activities such as greeting electors, waving to people or handing out pamphlets;
  • communications on Internet and social media, aside from new or modified advertisements;
  • the transmission to the public of an editorial, a debate, a speech, an interview, a column, a letter, a commentary or news;
  • making telephone calls to electors;
  • transmission of a document by a person or group to their members, employees or shareholders;
  • distribution of a book, provided the book was planned to be made available to the public regardless of whether there was to be an election; and
  • even if it is election advertising, posting of a message on signs, posters or banners.

On election day, the Act does not allow:

  • any election advertising (except as described above).

(For related items, see Partisan and Election Advertising, Polling and Surveys)

Authorization or tag line

The Act does:

  • require that partisan and election advertising contain an authorization or 'tag line'.
  • require third party advertising to include their contact information in a manner that is clearly visible or otherwise accessible.*


    “Authorized by the official agent for candidate X.”

The Act does not:

  • stipulate how large the font of the tag line must be or how quickly the authorization may be spoken.**

*Name, telephone number, civic or Internet address
**Third parties must present this information in a way that is reasonably visible or otherwise accessible

Advertising in condos

The Act does:

  • allow condo owners to display election advertising posters on the premises of their unit;
  • allow condo corporations to set reasonable conditions with respect to the size or type of election advertising posters that may be displayed;
  • permit condo corporations to choose to prohibit the display of election advertising posters in common areas* of a building.

*The term "common areas" refers to an area or areas that may be used by all occupants of, and visitors to, a building (eg. lobby, hallways, stairwells, outdoor areas). It does not apply to areas that are part of the premises of the unit and not accessible to other building residents, such as balconies.

(for related items, see Canvassing)

Third parties

The Act requires:

  • third parties to register with Elections Canada, after incurring advertising, partisan activity and/or election survey expenses of more than $500 or if they intend to incur more than $500 for these expenses.*
  • require third party advertising to include their contact information.**

Third parties may not:

  • use funds from a foreign entity for partisan activities, election advertising or election surveys.

*During the pre-election period or the election period
**Name, telephone number, civic or internet address

Polling, Surveys

The rules around polling and surveys have changed over the years. Surveys based on recognized statistical methods and those that are not, have different reporting requirements. A detailed list of these requirements can be found in the Canada Elections Act.

The publication of election survey results on polling day before all polling stations in a given electoral district are closed is prohibited.

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