November 2020
Advocacy Update: Bill 218

2020-11-16 1:52:09 PM

Update: As of November 20, 2020, Bill 218: Supporting Ontario's Recovery and Municipal Elections Act has received Royal Assent.

On November 16th, Bill 218: Supporting Ontario's Recovery and Municipal Elections Act, passed third reading  after it had underwent brief study by the Standing Committee on Justice Policy as a result of a time allocation motion. It now awaits Royal Assent.

For AMCTO, the interest was on Schedule 2 of the Bill which amended the Municipal Elections Act, 1996. The final Bill includes a key change with regard to nomination day which will now move to the 3rd Friday in August from the originally proposed second Friday in September. No other amendments to Schedule 2 were made. 

While AMCTO maintains that the new proposed nomination date still puts undue pressure on election administrators who work very hard to ensure the integrity of local elections, this amendment does provide a few more weeks time to deliver election services. We have advocated this position numerous times over the last few weeks in particular, with the letter to Ministers Clark and Downey and our written submission to the Standing Committee.

In addition to changing the nomination day the Bill also removes the ability of municipalities to choose to implement ranked ballot voting. Perhaps more helpfully, it also changes the timeline for passing a bylaw authorizing the use of voting and vote-counting equipment or alternative voting method from "May 1st the year before an election" to "May 1st the year of an election," and similarly, changes the timeline for clerks to establish procedures and forms for voting and vote-counting equipment and alternative voting methods from "December 31 in the year before the year of the election” to “before June 1 in the year of the election.”



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