Canada Elections Act
Canada Elections Act is an Act
A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs a state, city, or county. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare policy. The word is often used to distinguish law made by legislative bodies from case law, decided by courts, and regulations...

 of the Parliament of Canada
Parliament of Canada
The Parliament of Canada is the federal legislative branch of Canada, seated at Parliament Hill in the national capital, Ottawa. Formally, the body consists of the Canadian monarch—represented by her governor general—the Senate, and the House of Commons, each element having its own officers and...

 respecting the election
An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the...

 of members of parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 to the Canadian House of Commons
Canadian House of Commons
The House of Commons of Canada is a component of the Parliament of Canada, along with the Sovereign and the Senate. The House of Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 308 members known as Members of Parliament...

, repealing other Acts relating to elections and making consequential amendments to other Acts.

The Canada Election Act limits spending on election advertising by interest groups, which was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada
Supreme Court of Canada
The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court of Canada and is the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice system. The court grants permission to between 40 and 75 litigants each year to appeal decisions rendered by provincial, territorial and federal appellate courts, and its decisions...

 in Harper v. Canada (Attorney General)
Harper v. Canada (Attorney General)
Harper v. Canada , [2004] 1 S.C.R. 827, 2004 SCC 33, is a leading decision of the Supreme Court of Canada wherein the Court ruled that Canada Elections Act's spending limits on third party election advertising does not violate section 2 and 2 and section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and...

(2004). It also sets out various provisions regarding the publication or broadcast of election advertising and election results.

In 1989, the government of Canada appointed the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing
Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing
The Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing or RCERPF, also known as the Lortie Commission, was a Royal Commission established to investigate changes to Canadian election laws defined in the Canada Elections Act...

 regarding restrictions in the Elections Act inconsistent with Section Three of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Section Three of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Section Three of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a section of the Charter that constitutionally guarantees all Canadian citizens the democratic right to vote in a general federal or provincial election and the right to be eligible for membership in the House of Commons or of a...


In 1996, the act was amended to establish a Register of Electors
National Register of Electors
The National Register of Electors is a continuously-updated permanent database of eligible electors for federal elections in Canada maintained by Elections Canada...


In 2003, the act was extended to cover the nomination contests of registered parties. In 2007, it was amended to mandate fixed election dates
Fixed election dates in Canada
In Canada, some Canadian jurisdictions have passed legislation fixing election dates, so that elections occur on a more regular cycle and the date of a forthcoming election is publicly known...


Notable provisions

  • Section 329 of the Canada Elections Act outlaws publishing election results from other ridings in constituencies where polls are still open. This section was upheld by the Supreme Court in R. v. Bryan
    R. v. Bryan
    R. v. Bryan 2007 SCC 12 is a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada on freedom of expression and Canadian federal elections. The Court upheld a law that prevented the publicizing of election results from some ridings before the polls closed in others....

  • Section 335 requires that all broadcasters make 6.5 hours of advertising available for purchase by political parties over the course of a general election during "prime time" (the evening hours for TV stations and specialty channel
    Specialty channel
    A specialty channel can be a commercial broadcasting or non-commercial television channel which consists of television programming focused on a single genre, subject or targeted television market at a specific demographic....

    s, and morning and afternoon drive for radio stations). Even broadcasters that do not ordinarily accept advertising, such as the CBC
    Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
    The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly known as CBC and officially as CBC/Radio-Canada, is a Canadian crown corporation that serves as the national public radio and television broadcaster...

    's radio services, are required to accept these political ads during a federal election.
  • Section 345 requires that all CRTC-licensed over-the-air radio and television networks, which reach the majority of Canadians in the language of broadcast, allocate free time for election broadcasts (in addition to the paid availabilities described above). However, there are no restrictions on when these free-time broadcasts must air, and most of these networks now confine them to late night.
    • As of 2011, the networks subject to this provision are CBC Television
      CBC Television
      CBC Television is a Canadian television network owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the national public broadcaster.Although the CBC is supported by public funding, the television network supplements this funding with commercial advertising revenue, in contrast to CBC Radio which are...

      , Télévision de Radio-Canada
      Télévision de Radio-Canada
      Télévision de Radio-Canada is a Canadian French language television network. It is owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, known in French as Société Radio-Canada. Headquarters are at Maison Radio-Canada in Montreal, which is also home to the network's flagship station, CBFT-DT...

      , CBC Radio One
      CBC Radio One
      CBC Radio One is the English language news and information radio network of the publicly-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It is commercial free and offers both local and national programming...

      , Première Chaîne, TVA
      TVA (TV network)
      TVA is a privately owned French language television network in Canada. The network is currently owned by Groupe TVA Inc. , a publicly traded subsidiary of Quebecor Media...

      , and V. The amount of free time per election varies by network, from roughly 3.5 hours (for the CBC's TV networks) to 62 minutes (for TVA and V).
    • Historically, CTV
      CTV television network
      CTV Television Network is a Canadian English language television network and is owned by Bell Media. It is Canada's largest privately-owned network, and has consistently placed as Canada's top-rated network in total viewers and in key demographics since 2002, after several years trailing the rival...

       and the Radiomédia / Corus Québec
      Corus Québec
      The Corus Québec network, previously known as the Radiomédia network as it used to be called until May 2005, was a French-language Canadian news/talk radio network serving most of Quebec...

       radio network were also subject to free-time allocations; the Corus Québec network has since ceased operation, while CTV has not operated under a CRTC-issued national network licence since 2001 (and other "networks" such as Global
      Global Television Network
      Global Television Network is an English language privately owned television network in Canada, owned by Calgary-based Shaw Communications, as part of its Shaw Media division...

       have never operated under such licences). Note that there is currently no free-time allocation required for individual private radio or television stations, or cable specialty channels.

See also

  • Canadian federal election
  • Federal political financing in Canada
    Federal political financing in Canada
    The fair and transparent financing of political parties, candidates, and election campaigns is a key determinant in the health and proper functioning of a democracy...

External links

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