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Eligibility to Run

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Who can run for office in a municipal election?

You must be eligible to vote in a municipality in order to run for a position on council. On the day you file your nomination, you must be a Canadian citizen aged 18 or older, and qualify as a resident or non-resident elector. (For more information about eligibility to vote, please see Eligibility to Vote in the 2014 Voters’ Guide).

You must be eligible to hold office on the day you file your nomination. For example, a person who is 17 years old but will turn 18 before voting day must wait until they have turned 18 to file their nomination.

If your municipality has wards, you can run in any ward – you do not have to live in a particular ward in order to be its councillor. However, if you run in a ward where you do not live, you will not be able to vote for yourself. Having a campaign office or a business in a ward where you would not be otherwise eligible to vote does not make you eligible to vote in that ward.

Municipal employees

If you are an employee of a municipality, and you wish to run for office on that municipality’s council, you must take a leave of absence before you file your nomination form. If you are elected, you must resign from your job. You cannot work for a municipality and be on its council at the same time.

If you are an employee of a municipality, and you wish to run for office in a different municipality, you do not have to take a leave of absence or resign. However, you may wish to check with your employer to see if there are any policies in place that could affect you.

If you are an employee of an upper-tier municipality, you can run for office in a lower-tier municipality without taking a leave of absence or resigning unless being elected to the lower tier council also means that you would be a member of the upper-tier council.

Who is not eligible to be a member of council?

The following people are disqualified from being elected to municipal office: 

  • any person who is not eligible to vote in the municipality 
  • an employee of a municipality who has not taken an unpaid leave of absence and resigned (see above) 
  • a judge of any court 
  • an MP, an MPP or a Senator 
  • an inmate serving a sentence in a penal or correctional institution

Who can run for office in a school board election?

In order to run for a trustee position on a school board you must be a resident within the jurisdiction of the board, and you must be eligible to vote in a school board election. On the day you file your nomination, you must be a Canadian citizen aged 18 or older, and you must meet any other qualifications to vote for the school board (for example, being a Roman Catholic, or holding French language rights). (For more information about eligibility to vote, please see Eligibility to Vote in the 2014 Voters’ Guide).

School board employees

If you are an employee of any Ontario school board and you wish to run for a trustee position on any school board in the Province, you must take an unpaid leave of absence before you file your nomination form. If you are elected, you must resign from your job. You cannot work for a school board and be a trustee in Ontario at the same time.

Municipal officials

If you are a clerk, deputy clerk, treasurer or deputy treasurer of a municipality within the jurisdiction of a school board, you are not permitted to run for office as a trustee of that board.

Who is not eligible to be a trustee?

The following people are disqualified from being elected as a school trustee: 

  • any person who is not eligible to vote in the municipality 
  • an employee of a school board who has not taken an unpaid leave of absence and resigned (see above) 
  • municipal officials (see above) 
  • a judge of any court 
  • an MP, an MPP or a Senator 
  • an inmate serving a sentence in a penal or correctional institution

Note for MPs, MPPs and Senators

If you are an MP, MPP or Senator, you may file your nomination for municipal or school board office without resigning your current seat in Parliament, the Legislature or the Senate. However, you must resign your seat by the close of nominations (2 p.m. on Friday September 12, 2014). If you are a federal or provincial Cabinet minister, you must step down from cabinet prior to filing your nomination and must resign your seat by the close of nominations.

If you have not resigned by nomination day, your nomination will be rejected and your name will not appear on the ballot.