Ontario Municipal Elections

  • The next municipal election will be held on Monday, October 22, 2018. There will be some changes this time around, which were part of the Municipal Elections Modernization Act, 2016. Some of these changes took effect immediately, while some others come into effect April 1, 2018, in time for the next municipal election.  What’s changed? Click here for highlights.
  • The term of office for elected representatives is December 1st, 2018 to November 30th, 2022 (a four year term). Learn who in your community best represents your position on the issues that mean the most to you and your family!
  • Those thinking they have a future career in municipal politics can file nomination papers from Tuesday, May 1, 2018 up until 2 p.m. on Friday, July 27, 2018. 

Where can you vote?

image: asterix buttonIn Ontario Municipal elections, you are entitled to vote where you own property. Therefore, plan to vote at your cottage riding as well as your permanent residence.

FAQ: “My family owns a cottage. Can I vote in that municipality?” In order to qualify as a non-resident elector, you (or your spouse) must be the owner or tenant of the property. If a family member who is not your spouse is the owner, and you have use of the cottage, you would not qualify as a non-resident elector. If the cottage is owned by a trust, you would not qualify as a non-resident elector.

The above information and everything else you need to know about the upcoming municipal election is in the Voter’s Guide for Ontario Municipal and School By-elections 2016-2018 (PDF, 24 pages).

Looking for more about why you should vote? Visit:


Who can vote?

Anyone can vote in a municipal election who, on the day of the election, is:

  • 18 years of age or older;
  • a Canadian citizen; and
  • either a resident of the municipality or a property owner or tenant, or the spouse or same sex partner of an owner or tenant in the municipality, during a specified time just before the election.

To be able to vote, your name must be on the list of eligible voters. If you are on the voters list, you should receive a card in later October of the election year, telling you that you are eligible to vote. Call your municipality for assistance if you do not receive your card but think you are eligible to vote.

How can you vote?

Ask your municipality about the availability of advance polls or online voting. Now is the time to check on the options available to your association members for municipal voting in October 2018. Does your municipality offer online or phone options? FOCA encourages you to start asking questions NOW to prepare to have seasonal residents’ voices included in the votes next year. 

UPDATE: The deadline to pass by-laws authorizing the use of alternative voting, such as by mail or by internet, and vote-counting equipment was May 1st, 2017 for the 2018 election. The clerk will need to have procedures and forms related to alternative voting and vote-counting equipment in place by December 31st, 2017.

You can find many municipal election resources from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, including election guides for voters and for candidates, as well as some information about voter identification requirements.

FOCA’s Challenge to you:

Want to make a difference in your rural community? Do you have leadership skills? Think you have something to contribute to the local community? Consider running for municipal office! Local elections are often decided by only dozens or a few hundreds of votes.

Think about all the services your municipal government is responsible for providing: roads, public transit, child care, local policing, water and sewers, ambulances, parks and recreation.

Help to bring the focus onto the issues that matter most to you and to your lake association. We need more lake and river champions in municipal office, where they can stand up for healthy, thriving and sustainable communities. Keep FOCA updated if you decide to run for municipal office.

A Case Study:

RonHigginsRon Higgins, Mayor of North Frontenac, is an example of a waterfront property owner who has also joined municipal politics! His recommendations for fellow lake association executives are:

  • attend your local Council meetings to understand the issues and to make yourself known to Council
  • work with other local lake associations in your area
  • consider running for office in 2018!

banner-foca-fall-seminar-panel-2016November 2016 – FOCA was pleased to feature the stories of some of our municipal partners at our 2016 Fall Seminar for Lake Associations. Thank you to our presenters, Mayor Mary Smith (Selwyn Twp), Mayor Ron Higgins (North Frontenac Twp), and Mayor Vivian Bloom (Municipality of Hastings Highlands).

Click here to download the slide presentations from our municipal partners. (PDF, 49 pages)


Michelle LewinOntario Municipal Elections