Rules on Soliciting During Election Campaigns

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Has a candidate in the upcoming federal elections called you? Candidates, or their representatives, can stop you in the street and even come knocking on your door. They’re looking for your vote or a contribution to their campaign. Are they allowed to do this? What are the rules on soliciting during election campaigns?

 

How do candidates get your contact information?

Elections Canada prepares a voters list and gives it to the candidates in an election. The list contains the names and addresses of registered voters living in candidates’ ridings.

 

Candidates can approach you at your home, in the street or even at a shopping mall.

Candidates and members of their campaign teams are allowed to come knocking on your door.

The Canadian law on elections allows candidates to go on private property and knock on doors or campaign in common areas of buildings between 9 am to 9 pm.

Candidates are also allowed to campaign in public places, for example, at a shopping centre or on the street.

The good news is that you don’t have to talk to the candidates or even answer them!

 

The CRTC controls telephone calls during election campaigns.

Candidates and members of their campaign teams are allowed to call the voters in their ridings. They can also hire companies to make the calls.

 

But do they have to follow any rules?

Companies that make calls during election campaigns must be registered with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). They must also say who they’re working for.

Candidates’ campaign teams, as well as any company they hire, must keep a written copy of what they say when calling voters.

Sometimes campaign teams, or the companies they hire, use automated telephone calls with a recorded message (robocalls). The law requires them to keep a copy of the recorded message. The reason for this is to avoid scams (fraud) and to make sure the messages don’t contain false information.

 

You can do something if you don’t want to receive these calls.

The law lets Canadians register on the National Do Not Call List. Once you’re registered, you can’t be called by telemarketers. But political parties and campaign teams are allowed to call you even if you’re registered on the list.

Survey companies, who are very active during election campaigns, are also allowed to call you. Voters who receive these calls can ask to have their telephone numbers removed from these lists.

 

Contributions to political parties: Be generous but follow the rules!

Political parties and their candidates are allowed to use voters lists to ask for financial contributions. But the rules on political contributions are very strict.

Here are some of the rules:

  • Only individuals can make campaign contributions to candidates or political parties.
  • Donors must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  • Receipts must be given for all contributions over $20 so that the contributions can be traced.
  • Most voters can’t give more than $1,500 a year to a candidate or a political party.