A third party advertisement is an advertisement in any broadcast, print, electronic or other medium that has the purpose of promoting, supporting or opposing a candidate in the election, or a “yes” or “no” answer to a question on the ballot.

Who Can Be a Third Party Advertiser

Only those who have registered can spend money on third party advertising.

The following are eligible to register as a third party advertiser:

  • any person who is a resident in Ontario
  • a corporation carrying on business in Ontario
  • a trade union that holds bargaining rights for employees in Ontario

If 2 or more corporations are owned or controlled by the same person or people, or if 1 corporation controls another, they are considered to be a single corporation. If the same person or people own or control multiple corporations, only 1 of those corporations may register to be a third party in a municipality.

There is no restriction against family members of campaign staff of candidates registering to be third party advertisers. However, third party advertising must be done independently of the candidate. If a person with close ties to a candidate wishes to register they should consider how these activities may look to the public and how they would be able to demonstrate that they were not working in co-ordination with the candidate.

Who Cannot Be a Third Party Advertiser

The following are not eligible to register as a third party advertiser:

  • A candidate running for any municipal council or school board office
  • Groups, associations or businesses that are not corporations
  • Candidates in the provincial election prior to the Provincial Election Day
  • Federal and Provincial political parties
    Political parties are not permitted to be financially involved in municipal elections.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs has produced a Third Party Advertisers Guide to provide information to candidates in municipal and school board elections.

This guide is available both online or as a download.