What you Should Know Before Becoming a Candidate

Are you qualified?

To become a candidate you must:

  • be 18 years of age on nomination day (Monday, September 18, 2017)
  • be a Canadian citizen and,
  • have been a resident of the municipality for the 6 consecutive months preceding nomination day.
  • Not otherwise ineligible or disqualified.
See Section 21, 22, 23, 47, Local Authorities Election Act

*These are the same qualifications to vote in the election.

Electoral Division and Wards

In a municipality with a ward system, you must have been a resident of the electoral division or ward in which you intend to run for the same six month period, except in the case of a city. In a City, a candidate is not required to be a resident of the ward, but must be a resident of the City.

Summer Villages

In a summer village you must either meet the residence requirements or be a property owner and is named on the certificate of title as the person who owns the property.

Are you eligible?

You would not be eligible to become a candidate if:

  • you are the auditor of the municipality
  • you are an employee, unless you have been granted a leave of absence
  • your property taxes are more than $50 in arrears or you are in default, for more than 90 days, of any other debt in excess of $500 to the municipality
  • you have been convicted of an offence under the Local Authorities Election Act, the Election Act, the Canada Elections Act within the 10 previous years.
  • If you are a judge, member of parliament, senator, or member of the legislative assembly, you must resign that position prior to taking office as a member of council.
See Section 174.1(c), Municipal Government Act
Do you have time?

The demands on your time will be heavy. You will be elected for a four year term of office and during that time you will be required to attend:

  • regular meetings of council
  • council committee meetings
  • meetings of other boards and agencies that you have been appointed to as a council representative
  • conferences, conventions, seminars and workshops for training and discussions
  • social and other events promoting your municipality

You will also need to spend time reading material and talking to residents, the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)* and others. This will all be part of the necessary preparation for meetings so that you can make informed decisions. Don't forget the time you need for you personal life and work.

*Or may be referred to as the City Manager, County Manager, County Commissioner, Town Manager, Municipal Administrator or Secretary-Treasurer to name a few of the many titles used for the chief administrative position in the local elected authority.

Remuneration

Elected officials generally receive remuneration or other financial compensation for the time and energy devoted to the community. This remuneration varies in each municipality. Check with your local municipal office to find out about remuneration for elected officials in your jurisdiction.

Have you talked with your current employer?

All candidates are advised to discuss with their current employers their intention to run for elected office in the fall Local Authority Elections and how this may effect their employment.

Many employers have guidelines and policies that will affect you should you choose to run for office and some of these rules have changed since the last General Election.

In 2007, rules were put in place that affect federal employees running for municipal office:

Update on the New public service Employment act

Prior to the January 1, 2006 implementation of the Public Service Employment Act, federal civil servants who wanted to run in federal, provincial or territorial elections had to request permission, had to take a leave without pay during the electoral period, and then upon being elected, had to resign their position in the federal civil service. No restrictions were placed on federal civil servants running for or holding municipal office.

Under the new Public Service Employment Act (PSEA), the regulations on the candidacy of public servants in federal, provincial or territorial elections are reinforced. However, the new rules now require that a federal civil servant wishing to run for or hold municipal elected office must request permission from the Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC), which may make permission conditional on the employee taking leave without pay during the electoral period, and if elected, on taking leave without pay or resigning. Note that the PSC can also grant unconditional permission for an employee to run for or hold a municipal elected office (i.e. to continue as a paid federal civil servant).

The permission process assesses the nature and visibility of an employee's position and prospective elected office, to ensure that a federal employee's ability to perform his or her duties in a politically impartial manner would not be impaired or perceived to be impaired.

These new rules put municipalities on the same footing as other orders of government with respect to the need for federal civil servants to seek permission to run for office. Prior to January 2006, restrictions were placed only on civil servants who wanted to run in federal, provincial or territorial elections.

Do you understand the position?

As a member of the council you will have the opportunity to significantly influence the future of you community. Your power as a member of council depends on your ability to persuade the other council member to adopt your view. Just remember, all decisions must be made at council, trustee, committee and or board meetings. As an individual member of council you will not have the power to commit your municipality (elected authority) to any expenditure or to direct the activities of the employees of the elected authority. Election promises involving municipal expenditures or the activities of employees can only be carried out if you can convince the majority of council that it is a good idea.

Do you understand the powers of a Municipal Council?

The Canadian constitution delegates responsibility for municipalities to the provinces. Through a variety of legislation, the Province of Alberta through its Legislative Assembly has delegated some if its authority to municipal councils.

Are you familiar with local legislation?

Local legislation is in the form of bylaws. Bylaws remain in effect until they are amended to cancelled (repealed), so you won't be starting with a blank slate. If you are running for election with some type of reform in mind, you will have to become familiar with what exists, how it was created - bylaw, resolution or tradition- and why it exists, before you start discussing your changes.

Do you understand how the municipality is administered?

As a member of council, it is your responsibility to establish policy for your elected authority. It is the responsibility of administration to implement the policy that council has established. You will need the support, advice and assistance of the CAO if you are able to be an effective member of council. Their training, experience and understanding of the how and why things have developed as they have, will be an important resource to you.

What other information should you have?

The best way to find out what the job is all about is to spend some time reading council agendas and minutes, and talking to current members of council. Sit in on some council meetings, Talk to the CAO and find out what other information is available. This will be helpful with your campaign and will assist you in assuming office. If you don't do your research now, you'll have to do it after you are elected and you probably have more time now than you will if you are elected.

Beginning January 1, 2014, potential candidates are required to register with the municipality before they accept campaign contributions. The form of the registration process will be at the discretion of each municipality.

The enforcement of campaign reporting requirements has been strengthened by adding the provision that a potential candidate will not be eligible for nomination if they have not met the campaign reporting requirements from a previous election.

This provision will apply to reporting requirements that apply to campaign periods beginning on or after January 1, 2014.

If a candidate has funded their campaign exclusively from their own funds, up to $10,000, they are not required to register with the municipality.

For more information about registering as candidate you are encouraged to read section 147.21 if the LAEA