Can Federal Canvassing Take Place in My Condo?

With the recent federal election, many federal candidates took to door-to-door canvasing at condominium buildings, as a way in which to reach a great deal of voters, with very little distance to travel.

In Ontario, section 118 of the Condominium Act, 1998 is clear about canvassing. This section provides that a Condominium Corporation cannot restrict reasonable access to the property by candidates for election to the House of Commons, the Legislative Assembly or an office in a municipal government or school board if access is necessary for the purpose of canvassing or distributing election material.

The Canada Elections Act further provides that this right of access is between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Corporations must therefore grant access to candidates or their authorized representatives between these hours.

During a federal election, the Canada Elections Act provides that no Condominium Corporation or any of its agents may prohibit the owner of a condominium unit from displaying election advertising posters on the premises of his or her unit. Owners can therefore show their colour and place electoral signs, but such a right is limited to posting such signs in/on their unit.

The Canada Elections Act also specifically provides that Condominium Corporations may set reasonable conditions relating to the size or type of election advertising posters that may be displayed on the premises and may prohibit the display of election advertising posters in common areas of the building.

It is interesting to note that the rules applicable to a federal election are different from those applicable to provincial or municipal elections. In the case of provincial or municipal elections, Corporations must consult provincial legislation, municipal By-laws and the Corporation’s governing documents.