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Questions on the Ballot

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A municipal council may pass a bylaw to put a question on the ballot. The council must hold at least one public meeting before passing a bylaw to put a question on the ballot.

There are conditions on the kind of question that may be asked: 
  • it must be about a matter that the municipality has authority for, and that the municipality can implement 
  • it can’t be a matter of Provincial interest 
  • the wording of the question must be clear, concise and neutral 
  • the question must be answered with “yes” or “no”. No multiple choice or multi-part questions are allowed
Any person may appeal the wording of the question to the Chief Electoral Officer of Elections Ontario. This appeal must be filed with the clerk within 20 days of the bylaw being passed.

There is no ability for members of the public to force a council to put a question on the ballot.

If your council has placed a question on the ballot, you may decide to encourage your fellow voters to vote yes or no on the question. If you wish to spend money to do this, you are considered to be campaigning, and you must file a registration form (Form 7) with the municipal clerk. You must also file a financial statement (Form 8). Please see Where to Find Forms for links to forms.

You will be given a spending limit, and must comply with the campaign finance rules (see Campaign Finance in the Candidate’s Guide for more information).

The results of the vote are only binding if at least 50 per cent of eligible voters vote on the question.

The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing can also place a question on the ballot. The question can be about any matter. The results of a Minister’s question are not binding. If you wish to campaign to persuade people to vote yes or no on a Minister’s question you do not have to register and there are no restrictions on raising or spending money.

Timeline for Placing a Question on the Ballot