Frequently Asked Questions
Looking for answers? Here is a list of the most common questions. Can't find an answer for yours? You can always consult the How to Become a Candidate webpageopens a new window or contact us at CSEP-PESC@elections.caopens a new window
How will the nomination process be affected by COVID-19?
Elections Canada has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact. As part of its ongoing readiness planning, the agency is working on a new operational approach to deliver an election in the context of a pandemic and post-pandemic. For more information, please refer to our Impact of COVID-19opens a new window website.
Using the Political Entities Service Centre
Who can I contact if I need assistance with the Political Entities Service Centre?
Contact Elections Canada's Political Entities Service Network by phone at 1-800-486-6563, TTY at 1-800-361-8935, or email at CSEP-PESC@elections.caopens a new window.
How do I update my contact information?
You can update your contact information from the My Account page (accessible via the drop-down menu beneath your name in the top right corner of the screen).
Can I change my passphrase or security questions?
You can change your passphrase or security questions via the My Account page of your PESC account.
How do I withdraw a nomination after becoming a confirmed candidate?
A confirmed candidate can withdraw their nomination at any time before 5:00 p.m. local time on the closing day for nominations (the 21st day before polling day). The candidate must personally file a written statement with the returning officer that they are withdrawing. The statement must be signed by the candidate and witnessed by two electors who are entitled to vote in the electoral district in which the candidates' nomination was confirmed. (CEA s. 74opens a new window)
What are the main differences between a Nomination Paper and an online nomination form?
The Nomination Paper is the document that all prospective candidates must complete and submit to the returning officer of their electoral district at the established time in order to become a confirmed candidate (i.e. have their name appear on the ballot) in any federal election. The online nomination form is the electronic version of the Nomination Paper, and can be completed online and joined by digital copies of identification or signature documents to complete the nomination requirements and become a confirmed candidate.
For more information on the differences between the two options for completing nomination requirements, you may consult the Tools for Candidatesopens a new window webpage on the Elections Canada public website.
What is a Nomination Submission Key and how do I get mine?
In order to be able to submit your online nomination form through the Political Entities Service Center, you will need to enter a Nomination Submission Key: a 4-digit code unique to your online nomination form which can only be provided by the returning officer or assistant returning officer of the electoral district that you plan on running in.
To obtain your Nomination Submission Key, you must contact them and provide your Nomination Identifier Number. The contact information for your electoral district's local returning office is made available after the election is called.
Election Signs and Advertising
What is meant by the term election advertising?
The CEA defines election advertising as the transmission to the public by any means during an election period of an advertising message that promotes or opposes a registered party or the election of a candidate, including by taking a position on an issue with which a registered party or candidate is associated.
However, it does not include:
- transmissions of editorials, debates, speeches, interviews, columns, letters, commentaries or news to the public;
- the distribution or promotion of the sale of a book for less than its commercial value if it was planned to be made available regardless of the holding of an election;
- transmissions of documents directly by a person or group to their members;
- transmissions via the Internet of a person's own political views on a non-commercial basis; or
- telephone calls to electors if they only encourage them to vote.
For more information, please refer to our Opinions, Guidelines and Interpretationsopens a new window page on our website.
Does the name of the official agent have to appear on advertising?
No. The Act requires that an election advertising message include the mention that its transmission was “authorized by the official agent of [candidate name]”, but it does not require that the actual name of the official agent be mentioned. (CEA s. 320opens a new window)
Does all election advertising have to be authorized by the official agent?
Yes. A candidate or registered party, or a person acting on their behalf, who causes election advertising to be conducted shall mention in or on the message that its transmission was authorized by the official agent of the candidate or by the registered agent of the party, as the case may be. (CEA s. 320opens a new window)
What are the rules regulating the placement or removal of election signs?
Signs on private property: apartments and condominiums
Property owners and condominium corporations do not have the right to prevent tenants from putting up election signs on the premises they lease or own in a condo or apartment building.
However, property owners and condominium corporations do have the right to set reasonable conditions on the size and type of sign, and to prohibit signs in common areas, whether indoors or outdoors. (CEA s. 322opens a new window)
Signs placed without your permission
The CEA does not affect the right of private residential property owners to control which people enter their property, or which things are placed on it. If a sign has been placed on private residential property without permission, the CEA does not prevent a property owner from removing it.
If you are not sure whether the sign is on private or public property, check with the municipality or other government agency.
Signs on public property
The CEA states that no one may interfere with the transmission of election advertising, such as an election sign. (CEA, s. 325opens a new window)
- Public service employees may remove signs that do not respect provincial or municipal laws, after informing the person who authorized the posting of the sign that they plan to remove it.
- If the sign is a safety hazard, government authorities may remove it without informing the person who authorized the posting of the sign.
Signs that are destroyed, removed or stolen
Elections Canada has no jurisdiction to deal with signs that are destroyed, removed or stolen. The candidates may do the following:
- notify the local police, as destruction of private property is a criminal offence; and/or
- send a complaint in writing to the Commissioner of Canada Elections.
Is candidate signage allowed at a polling place?
No person, candidate or political party shall post or display election advertising in, or on the exterior surface of, a polling place. (CEA s. 166(1)(a)opens a new window)
Who is responsible for removing campaign signs after an event?
The candidate is responsible. Removal of campaign signs is governed by regional and/or municipal by-laws and not by Elections Canada.
How do I make a complaint about election signs?
The CEA regulates election advertising, including the use of election signs, only during a federal election period.
To make a complaint or allegation of wrongdoing about election signs displayed during a federal election, please write to the Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections.opens a new window
What is the “blackout period”
The blackout period is a ban on election advertising and the transmission of election survey results that have not previously been transmitted to the public, enforced on election day.
What can candidates' representatives do and not do at polling stations?
Can a candidate's representative request that an elector take an Oath of Residence?
Yes. If a deputy returning officer, poll clerk, candidate or candidate's representative has reasonable doubts concerning the residence of an elector (whose pieces of identification do not prove the elector's residence but are consistent with the information on the list of electors), they may request that the elector take the prescribed oath, in which case the residence is deemed to have been proven only if the elector takes that oath. (CEA s. 143(3.2)opens a new window)
Are candidates' representatives allowed to examine the list of electors?
Yes. During voting hours, candidates' representatives can examine the list of electors with the deputy returning officer, provided their examination does not delay an elector in casting their vote (see Guidelines for Candidates' Representatives (EC 20045)opens a new window).
Can candidates' representatives handle an elector's proof of identification?
No. Candidates' representatives can request to examine, but not handle, an elector's identification when the deputy returning officer is verifying proof of identity and residence. Electors may vote even if they refuse to allow the representative to examine their identification. Election officers will keep a record of such situations in the Events Log (see Guidelines for Candidates' Representatives (EC 20045)opens a new window).
What colours can the candidates' representatives wear?
Candidate's representatives may not wear colours or emblems in the polling place that would indicate support for any candidate or political party that endorsed a candidate in the electoral district. (CEA s. 166 (1)(b)opens a new window)