October 2020
Bill 218: Supporting Ontario's Recovery and Municipal Elections Act, 2020

2020-10-20 5:45:06 PM

On October 20th, 2020, the Government introduced Bill 218: Supporting Ontario's Recovery and Municipal Elections Act, 2020, which would "provide liability protection for workers, volunteers and organizations that make an honest effort to follow public health guidelines and laws relating to exposure to COVID-19." It also would amend the Municipal Elections Act, 1996. According to the news release, this proposal is intended to "make the electoral process consistent across municipal, provincial and federal elections."

Liability Protection

Those protected from liability, if they have acted in good faith, includes: municipalities and their officers and employees, Chief Medical Officers of Health, corporations and other entities, individuals, ministers, ministries and their officers or employees among others. 

Municipal Election Act 

In addition, the bill proposes to change the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, and an accompanying regulation:
  • Removes the option for ranked ballots which were introduced for the last election.
  • Reverts nomination day back to “second Friday in September” from the “fourth Friday in July.” 
  • 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."
  • Similarly, changes to 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.”
Ranked Ballots were introduced into the legislation during the last review of the Act and were first used in the 2018 election by the City of London. Our tracking of election planning activities suggests that several municipalities have been considering the use of ranked ballots for the 2022 elections. 


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