Modernization of local government elections

The Province is moving ahead with making changes to the rules regarding local government elections, Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development has announced.

The intended changes are the most significant to local elections legislation in nearly two decades and are a reflection of the recommendations of the joint Provincial and Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Local Government Elections Task Force.

Local government election rules apply to municipalities, regional districts, parks boards, the Islands Trust and boards of education.

Local election rules will be modernized in two phases:

* A white paper outlining government’s intentions will be released in early September and legislation is scheduled to be introduced in Spring 2014 to implement task force recommendations, except expense limits, for the 2014 local elections.
* Consultation with key stakeholders on expense limits will be undertaken starting in November. This consultation will inform further legislative changes for the 2017 elections.

The rules for next year’s November elections will be consolidated in a proposed new act for campaign finance in local elections. Details of these changes will be included in the white paper to be released early this fall. Some highlights include:

* Disclosure and registration by third-party advertisers.
* Sponsorship information to be required on all election advertising.
* All campaign finance disclosure statements to be filed 90 days after the election rather than 120 days.
* Banning anonymous contributions.

The proposed legislation also will enable a key role for Elections BC in compliance and enforcement of campaign finance rules in local elections.