ARE EMPLOYERS REQUIRED TO GIVE UNPAID LEAVE TO EMPLOYEES WHO ARE CANDIDATES OR VOLUNTEERS WORKING FOR POLITICAL PARTIES OR CANDIDATES?
Yes. Leave without pay must be given on written request to an employee who:
- is a candidate [s. 14(a) of EA]
- has been appointed an election officer [s. 14(b) of EA]
- has been named an election volunteer by a candidate (not more than 2 per candidate), or a registered political party (during a general election not more than 20) [s. 14(c) of EA]
Failure by the employer to grant unpaid leave is an election offence. Employers can apply to the Manitoba Labour Board for an exemption if the employer believes that the leave would be seriously detrimental to her/his operations. After the leave, the employee must be reinstated at the same level of pay, benefits and seniority [s. 15(2), 18(1&2) and 20(2&3) of EA].
How does an employee make the request for unpaid leave?
A written request for leave must be made in writing to the employer not less than 5 days before the requested leave is to take effect [s. 15(1) of EA]. Sample written requests are available for parties and candidates.
How does an employer request an exemption?
The employer must apply in writing to the Chairperson of the Manitoba Labour Board within 3 days after receiving a request for leave, if he or she believes that the leave would be seriously detrimental to the employer's operations [s. 18 of EA].
Who decides on an exemption?
Once an application is received, the Chairperson of the Manitoba Labour Board and the Chief Electoral Officer together appoint a person to decide, on an urgent basis, the application [s. 19(1) of EA].
What are the rules for campaigning in multiple residences?
Between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., no person shall prevent a candidate, or a representative of a candidate who produces identification indicating that he or she is a candidate or a representative, from canvassing or distributing election material at the doors of apartments or units in an apartment building, condominium complex or other multiple residence. But this does not apply to a residence for persons under reasonable apprehension of bodily harm.
Exception: On any day when voting occurs at a voting station located in an apartment, condominium complex or other multiple residence, a candidate or representative of a candidate must not canvas or distribute election materials at the voting station or on the same level of the building as the voting place is located. [s. 195(1), 195(2), 195(3) of EA].
What are the penalties for offences?
What are the penalties for offences? The Elections Act is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year or to both, [s. 185(1) of the EA].
Every person who is guilty of any other offence under this Act is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of not more than $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than two months, or to both [s. 185(2) of the EA].
Are there any responsibilities for candidates and their representatives?
Yes, the responsibilities for candidates and their representatives who are campaigning in Multiple Residences are as follows:
- They must campaign only during the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. [s. 195(1) of EA]
- They must carry an ID form provided by their campaign or party and some form of identification (preferably a photo ID) with them at all times when campaigning [s. 195(1) of EA]
A sample ID form has been distributed to all Registered Political Parties. Independent candidates may contact their Returning Officer to obtain a sample ID form.
What do I do if I wish to make a complaint about access?
Any complaints regarding landlords or candidates and their representatives who do not comply with this legislation are to be directed to the Returning Officer for the electoral division concerned. The Returning Officer will ask the complainant a series of questions to determine the validity of the complaint such as:
- What time did the campaigning take place?
- Who did the candidate or their representative speak to at the apartment block, condominium complex or co-operative housing?
- Was identification shown by the candidate or their representative when asked for it?
What are the restrictions on signs during voting?
- No literature, sign, poster or flag having reference to the election, can be posted within 50 metres (164 ft.) of the entrance to a building with a voting place [s. 124(1) of EA];
- It should be noted that the Returning Office itself is also a voting place on days when there is absentee voting or advance voting as well as election day (from the close of nominations, March 29 at 1:00 pm until election day).
- All temporary street signs are covered by the City of Winnipeg's temporary street signs bylaw. You can view this by-law online at the City of Winnipeg website. For locations outside Winnipeg, refer to your local municipality.
- For the policy governing signs posted in the Provincial Road/Trunk Highway (PR/PTH) Right-of-ways, click here. If you require further information, contact Brett Wareham, tel: 204-346-6266
Is there a penalty for not obeying the above section in The Elections Act?
- Every person, other than an election officer required to post signs or posters, who posts a sign or poster and fails to remove a sign or poster as outlined above, is guilty of an offence under this Act and is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of not more than $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than two months or to both [s. 185(2) of EA]
- Where a sign or poster is in violation of 1) above the Returning Officer may order the candidate named, or the official agent of the candidate named, to remove the sign or poster within a reasonable amount of time. If the sign or poster is not removed within a reasonable amount of time both the candidate and the official agent are guilty of an offence and liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term of six months, or both [s. 124(3&4) of EA]
Can signs be placed on balconies of apartments, condominiums or co-operative housing?
Yes, no landlord or person acting on a landlord's behalf may prohibit a tenant from displaying election posters or signs on the premises to which the lease relates, and no condominium corporation or any of its agents may prohibit the owner of a condominium unit from displaying election posters or signs on the premises of his or her unit [s. 196(1) of EA].
A landlord, person, condominium corporation or agent may set reasonable conditions relating to the size or type of election posters and signs that may be displayed on the premises and may prohibit their display in common areas of the building in which the premises are found [s. 196(2) of EA].
Is there a penalty for not obeying the above section in The Elections Act?
Yes, every person who is guilty of an offence under this Act is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of not more than $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than two months or to both [s. 185(2) of EA].
Is there a section in The Elections Act that pertains to individuals damaging or removing opponents signs?
No. This is not included in The Elections Act , however it is referred to in the Shared Code Of Ethical Conduct for Manitoba's Political Parties as below:
"Members shall not obstruct campaigning nor deface, destroy, prevent or obstruct the distribution of advertising or other promotional material of other political parties and rival candidates, nor shall such conduct on the part of other Members be encouraged, condoned or permitted"
There may be other statutes that prohibit the destruction of personal property.
Are there laws pertaining to the placement of signs?
There are municipal by-laws pertaining to the placement of signs for safety reasons. As of March 26, 2003 the City of Winnipeg passed a new By-Law pertaining to the placing of temporary signs within streets. For locations outside Winnipeg, refer to your local municipality.
For safety reasons, no signs may be attached to Hydro or MTS poles. All inquiries should be made to Manitoba Hydro or MTS.
Who can get a copy of the 2011 Voters List?
- Registered political parties. Registered political parties will be supplied with the 2007 Voters List. Candidates endorsed by a political party should contact their party headquarters to receive a copy [s. 95(1) of EA].
- MLAs to communicate with their constituents and [s. 95(1) of EA].
- Independent candidates after they have publicly declared their candidacy [s. 95(1) of EA].
Who can get a copy of the new Voters List after the close of enumeration?
- Each nominated candidate [s. 75(1) of EA]
- Each registered Political Party [s. 75(2) of EA]
Who can view the new Voters List after the close of enumeration?
For electoral purposes, the Voters List can be viewed or inspected by any member of the public at the Returning Office [s. 76(1) of EA]. In rural areas distant from the returning office, arrangements can be made to view the Voters List at a municipal office [s. 76(2) of EA]. A person wishing to view a Voters List must sign a form stating that he or she is aware of the legislation regarding misuse of the Voters List and that he or she is viewing the Voters List for electoral purposes.
Is there a penalty for misuse of the Voters List?
Yes. Every person guilty of an election offence is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than 1 year, or both [s. 185(1) of EA].
Can a Voters List be used for research or historical purposes?
Yes. If the Voters List is more than 25 years old, it is exempt from subsection 95(1) of The Elections Act [s. 95(2) of EA].
When can nomination papers (Form #400) be submitted to the Returning Officer?
Nomination papers can be submitted anytime after the writ of election has been issued [s. 56(2) of the EA].
Why should Nomination Papers (Form #400) be submitted well in advance of the deadline of September 13 at 1:00 p.m.?
Nomination papers can be taken to the returning officer any time between the issue of the writ and the nomination deadline, but candidates are encouraged to do it early, as the papers must be verified before being accepted. It is a good idea to make an appointment to take in your papers so the returning officer can be available and you will not have any unnecessary delays. An early submission allows time for providing any missing information or additional signatures of eligible voters.
Who can be a scrutineer?
Any person 18 years or older [s. 114(1) of EA]. A scrutineer must be appointed in the prescribed form by a candidate or the official agent [s. 114(1) of EA]. A scrutineer takes an Oath of Secrecy at the voting station [s. 114(1) of EA]. A scrutineer does not have to be a Canadian citizen.
Click here for guidelines.
What does a scrutineer do?
- A scrutineer carries out duties assigned by the candidate.
- A scrutineer is permitted to be at the voting station 15 minutes before the voting station opens, during polling hours and after the voting station closes, until the count is finished [s. 111(1), 113, 114 of EA].
- A scrutineer cannot interfere with voting and cannot campaign at the voting station [s. 123(1) of EA].
- A scrutineer can challenge a voter to take an oath of eligibility for the following reasons
- if the scrutineer believes the person is not a qualified voter [s. 116(1) of EA];
- if the scrutineer believes that the person has already voted [s. 116(1) of EA];
- if the scrutineer believes that the person is voting under a false name [s. 116(1) of EA];
- if the scrutineer believes the person is personating a voter [s. 116(1) of EA];
- if the scrutineer believes the person is falsely representing her/himself as being on the Voters List [s. 116(1) of EA].
- A scrutineer must first state the reason for making the challenge [s. 116(3) of EA].
Can a scrutineer be identified by political party logos, etc., at the voting station?
No, but a scrutineer can wear a badge or ribbon which, by colour alone, indicates the candidate for whom he/she is a scrutineer [s. 124(6) of EA].
What happens if a scrutineer is doing something that is not permitted under The Elections Act?
Any complaints against a scrutineer should be directed, where possible, to the Voting Official (VO) for that voting station. In some voting places a Senior Voting Officer (SVO) may also be called upon in the event of a complaint. If the matter cannot be resolved, the VO or SVO, as the case may be, should contact their Returning Officer (RO). The RO should contact the office of the candidate that the scrutineer in question represents.
What are the rules for voters to get time off to vote?
Every employee is entitled to three consecutive hours to vote at the discretion of the employer (i.e., not any three hours you want) [s. 13 of EA]. If you are off work at 5 p.m. then you automatically have three hours (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.).
Does an employee get paid for time off to vote?
Yes, if an employee is normally scheduled to work the hours that the employee needs to take off to vote [s. 13(4) of EA].
What is meant by "at the discretion of the employer"?
It means employers may adjust work hours to accommodate time off for voting (i.e., change in shift hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
What are the penalties for offences?
Every person who is guilty of an offence under this Act is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of not more than $2,000 in the case of an individual or a fine of not more than $5,000 in the case of a corporation [s. 185(2) of EA].
What are spending limits?
There are advertising and overall spending limits for election expenses for all candidates and all registered parties endorsing candidates in an election [s. 51; s. 52 of EFA]. Candidates and registered parties may not incur election expenses in excess of the specified spending limits [s. 51(1); s. 52(1) of EFA]. The limit for each electoral division may vary somewhat, and is based on criteria such as the number of registered voters in the division, the Consumer Price Index and the size of an electoral division [s. 54 of EFA].
What if a candidate exceeds a spending limit?
If a candidate intentionally or unintentionally exceeds the limits, they, their official agent, and/or their campaign manager may be subject to an investigation, which could lead to prosecution [s. 99(3) of EFA]. To assist in compliance, Elections Manitoba can, and does provide tools, training and assistance to all candidates and officials, prior to, during, and after elections [s. 2(c); s. 3(a) of EFA]. Information is available to assist candidates and political parties in meeting their requirements under The Election Financing Act and can be obtained from published guidelines, the Elections Manitoba Web Site and from elections finances personnel at Elections Manitoba.
What is reimbursement?
The Election Financing Act provides for 50% of allowable election expenses to be reimbursed to qualifying candidates and political parties [s. 71(2); s. 73(2); s. 74(2) of EFA]. The candidate must recieve a minimum of 10% of the valid votes cast in the electoral division to qualify [s. 74(1) of EFA]. The party must receive 10% of valid votes in each of the electoral divisions it endorsed a candidate to qualify. [s. 73(1) of EFA].