Given the combination of both a federal and provincial election in 2011, our offices have received a number of inquiries with respect to election signage and canvassers. This article shall provide a brief overview of these two important topics.
Pursuant to the Canada Elections Act, a condominium corporation cannot prohibit owners from displaying election signs in their units. However, a condominium corporation can limit the size or type of election signs in the units. In addition, a condominium corporation may prohibit the unit occupants from displaying election signs in the common element areas. As a result, if the front yard is included within the unit boundary, unit owners may display election signs in the front yard. If, however, the front yard is not within the unit boundary, meaning it forms part of the common elements, the condominium may prohibit election signs in the front yard. Restated, a prohibition may exist on the common elements, but only a control within the unit.
Provincial and Municipal Elections
As a federal piece of legislation, the Canada Elections Act applies only to federal elections. Provincial and municipal elections are not governed by the Canada Elections Act. To complicate matters, no provincial legislation exists which describes the rights and responsibilities of condominiums or unit owners with respect to signs for provincial or municipal elections. In the absence of a piece of legislation, it appears that a condominium corporation can prohibit owners from displaying election signs in both the common elements and units. That said, the more conservative approach would be to restrict the size and location of the signs in keeping with the Canada Elections Act, namely within the unit. This would also provide a clear and consistent approach to signs within the condominium, regardless of whether the sign is for a federal, provincial or municipal election. Finally, some municipalities have ordinances on municipal election signs which should be consulted.