The role of Council
The City of London has one Mayor, and one Councillor elected to represent each of the City's 14 wards.
Role of Council members
The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MAH) has published a document called, "The Municipal Councillor's Guide." This guide provides an overview of the many duties and challenges elected officials at the municipal level face.
The MAH guide is the source of this abbreviated description for the role of head of Council, which in the City of London is referred to as the Mayor:
- to act as the municipality's chief executive officer;
- to preside over council meetings such that business is carried out both efficiently and effectively;
- to provide leadership to the council;
- to provide information/recommendations to council on policies, practices, procedures, to ensure transparency and accountability; and,
- to represent the municipality at official functions.
This abbreviated description for the role of ward Councillor is based on the guide published by MAH:
- to represent the public and to consider the well- being and interests of the municipality;
- to develop and evaluate the policies and programs of the municipality;
- to determine which services the municipality provides;
- to maintain the financial integrity of the municipality;
- to ensure that administrative policies practices are in place to implement the decisions of council; and,
- to ensure the accountability and transparency of the operations of the municipality.
Municipal councillors also sit as members of a number of Standing Committees. These committees carry out much of the work of council and then report back to council with recommendations. As a member of municipal council, you would be required to attend meetings of the Standing Committees on which you are a member, and also to attend meetings of the full City Council.
Frequently asked questions
Who makes decisions with respect to the membership of Standing Committees?
Council Members advise what Standing Committees they are interested in sitting on, in their order of preference. Those submissions are debated at the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee (SPPC), on which all Council Members sit. A recommendation then goes forward from the SPPC for formal approval by Council, through the usual majority voting process.
Is there a minimum number of meetings Councillors must attend?
Council Members are expected to attend all Council and Standing Committee meetings that they have voting membership on. However, it is recognized that in rare situations this is not always possible (e.g. illness, out of town business, etc.).
Can Councillors participate at meetings by electronic web video link or by proxy vote?
Provincial legislation does not permit members to participate at meetings by web video link or proxy vote.
How do Councillors engage their ward?
Methods of ward engagement vary from Council Member to Council Member, based upon their own personal preference and needs. Some use town hall meetings, some use social media, some use printed newsletters, etc.
How is the meeting schedule determined?
The Council Procedure By-law dictates the day of the week meetings are held and the City Clerk drafts an annual meeting calendar for Council’s approval based on the By-law requirements.
Are there season meeting breaks?
There is only one meeting cycle in each of July and August (usually two meeting cycles per month) and City Hall is closed between Christmas and New Years’ Day.
What is required to be eligible for holding office?
Eligibility for holding office is dictated by the Municipal Elections Act.
Is there a possibility of an election prior to the scheduled Election Day?
If a seat on Council becomes vacant in the course of a Council term, provincial law allows for the option of holding a by-election or Council can decide to appoint a replacement for that vacant seat in keeping with provincial law.
Can a member of the public join an Advisory Committee?
Advisory Committees are a great opportunity for the general public to assist the Council with its decision-making. No Council Members can be a voting member on an advisory committee. Council considers applications for appointments to Advisory Committees.
Is the Mayor an ex-officio member of most Standing Committees?
The Mayor Chairs the Corporate Services Committee and the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee. He is automatically a voting member of all other standing committees because he/she holds the office of Mayor.
Do Councillors have preferences with respect to which Boards they sit on?
Often Council Members run for office because they are motivated by a particular cause or interest. They may also bring particular experience or expertise in a particular area. As a result, they often seek appointment to certain boards and commissions that fit well with their experience, expertise and interests, and appointments that fit well into their schedules.
How many Standing Committees can a Councillor Chair?
There is no limit to the number of Standing Committee a Councillor can Chair, but generally, with the exception of the Mayor, Council Members do not chair more than one standing committee at a time.
Will the Standing Committee structure be revised?
There have been a number of changes to the standing committee structure in recent years. At this point in time, there are no further changes anticipated to the current structure. However Council has the authority to change the structure if it chose to do so.
Are Councillors paid more per Standing Committee they sit on?
Councillors are paid the same no matter how many Standing Committees they sit on. However, they do receive a very small additional stipend if they are serving as chair, with the exception of the Mayor, given the extra work traditionally associated with that role. They only receive that additional stipend once in a year, no matter how many Standing Committees they chair.
Running for Office
Municipal Elections happen every four years in Ontario. The guidelines for the conduct of an election are set out in the Municipal Elections Act. To run for office, you must be an eligible elector in the City of London.
The last Municipal Elections were held Monday, October 22, 2018. The elections were conducted for a term of office commencing December 1, 2018 and ending November 14, 2022.
Frequently asked questions
How do I file Nomination Papers?
Nominations can be filed starting May 1, 2018 and ending July 27, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. You must file in person at 300 Dufferin Ave in the Elections Office in the Lower Level of City Hall. You must complete the following forms:
- Signature of 25 voters supporting the nomination*
- Declaration of Qualifications for Municipal Candidates - or - Declaration of Qualifications for School Board Candidates
You will also need to pay the nomination fee:
- $200 for Mayor
- $100 for Councillor or School Board Trustee
We accept cash, debit, credit and certified cheques.
You will need to provide identification and to swear an oath at our office.
* The requirement to submit 25 nomination signatures does not apply to candidates running for school board trustee positions.
Where are the nomination papers available?
Nomination papers are now available (online and at the Elections Office in the Lower Level of City Hall at 300 Dufferin Ave).
Where and how are the Voter's Lists provided?
The Voters’ List will be available to candidates on September 1, 2018. On the written request of a certified candidate for an office, the clerk shall provide him or her with the part of the Voters’ List that contains the names of the electors who are entitled to vote for that office. The Voters’ List can be an electronic copy or a paper copy. You are entitled to two (2) copies for campaign purposes.
What type of materials can I expect from the Election Office to assist with my campaign?
- Notice of Penalties
- Illustrated Guide to Election Signs
- Tabulator Procedures
- Two paper copies of the Voters’ List (after September 1)
- Street Index
- Two ward maps
- List of Changes to the Voters’ List (after the Advance Voting Period)
- Scrutineer Forms
- List of Voting Places
When can I start campaigning?
You can only start campaigning after you file your nomination papers.
How do I know if I am disqualified from holding office?
It is the responsibility of each candidate to ensure they are qualified to seek the office for which they are being nominated. If you are unsure, seek legal advice immediately. You will also be required to swear an oath of qualification when filing your nomination.
How does a candidate choose which ward to run in? Do you have to live in the ward you are running in?
A candidate can run for office in the ward of their choice. You do not have to live in the same ward you are running in. However, you do have to vote from the address at which you reside. For example, you live in Ward 2, but are running in Ward 10. You have to vote in Ward 2.
What is the definition of a residence?
In accordance with the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 a person’s residence is “the permanent lodging place to which, whenever absent, he or she intends to return”.
The following rules apply in determining a person’s residence:
- A person may only have one residence at a time
- The place where a person’s family resides is also his or her residence, unless he or she moves elsewhere with the intention of changing his or her permanent lodging place
- If a person has no other permanent lodging place, the place where he or she occupies a room or part of a room as a regular lodger or to which he or she habitually returns.
Are there limitations on entering apartment buildings after submitting nomination papers?
Campaign provisions have been clarified to allow candidates to access apartment buildings, condominiums, non-profit housing co-ops or gated communities from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. in order to campaign. Landlords and condominium corporations will not be allowed to prohibit tenants or owners from displaying campaign signs in their windows. Here are the excerpts from the legislation:
Access to residential premises
88.1 No person who is in control of an apartment building, condominium building, non-profit housing cooperative or gated community may prevent a candidate or his or her representative from campaigning between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. at the doors to the apartments, units or houses, as the case may be.
Display of signs at residential premises
88.2 (1) No landlord or person acting on a landlord’s behalf may prohibit a tenant from displaying signs in relation to an election on the premises to which the lease relates.
Same, condominium corporations
(2) No condominium corporation or any of its agents may prohibit the owner or tenant of a condominium unit from displaying signs in relation to an election on the premises of his or her unit.
(3) Despite subsections (1) and (2), a landlord, person, condominium corporation or agent may set reasonable conditions relating to the size or type of signs in relation to an election that may be displayed on the premises and may prohibit the display of signs in relation to an election in common areas of the building in which the premises are found.
(4) Despite subsection (3), no landlord, person, condominium corporation or agent may prohibit the display of signs in relation to an election in common areas of the building if space in the building is being used as a voting place.
The legislation regarding the rights of candidates to enter apartment buildings, condominiums, and non-profits for the purposes of canvassing can also be found in the Condominium Act, 1998, S.O. 1998, Chapter 19, Residential Tenancies Act , 2006, S.O. 2006, Chapter 17 and Co-operative Corporations Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chapter C.35
When you file your nomination papers, you will receive a copy of this information to provide landlords, if asked.
Do the Provincial and Federal Governments eliminate nomination fees?
Currently, provincial legislation requires payment of nomination fees at the time of filing your papers. The fees are $200.00 for the office of Mayor and $100.00 for Councillor and School Board Trustee. Every candidate will be entitled to a refund of the nomination fee if they file their campaign financial statement and, if needed, the auditor’s report by the deadline.
Do the tabulators keep a paper record?
Yes, the tabulators keep a record of the ballots. The ballots are counted as they are inserted into the machine and ballot box. The City Clerk is required to keep the ballots for 120 days after the results of the election are declared.
Have there been any changes to legislation since the last election?
Yes, the Municipal Elections Modernization Act, passed June 7, 2016 made changes to the Municipal Elections Act, 1996. These changes affect the Nomination Calendar, Eligibility, Third Party Advertising, Ranked Ballot Voting, Campaign Finance, Accessibility, Campaign Advertising and Election Administration for 2018. Some of these changes came into effect immediately after Royal Assent and certain changes do not come into effect until April 1, 2018.
How are students counted towards votes?
The City of London will post the names of candidates online and at City Hall outside the Election Office in the Lower Level as candidates file their nomination papers.
How are financial statement forms provided to candidates?
The Elections Office staff will provide you with a blank copy of the Financial Statement – Form 4 with your nomination package. The City Clerk will also notify you by registered mail following the municipal election. These forms will also be available upon request with the Election Office at 519 661-4535 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note it is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure their papers are completed accurately, truthfully, and within the legislated timelines. Failure to submit your financial statement can result in the immediate removal from office if elected, the inability to run in the next municipal election, and other penalties under the Municipal Elections Act, 1996.All financial statements are posted online at London.ca upon their filing with the City Clerk.
Is it possible to do the nomination online?
No, you must file your nomination papers in person at the Election Office.
Are qualifications only at the time of the nomination or throughout the election?
You must be eligible to run for office at the time of nomination and throughout the election. If you are elected, you must maintain your eligibility during your time in office.
Is there a fee for the electronic copy of the Voters' List?
There is a fee for an electronic copy of the Voters’ List. It is $50.00 per ward and $350.00 for the City-wide Voters’ List. You must be an eligible candidate in order to obtain this list and can only use it for election purposes.
How do candidates prove the Voters' List has been destroyed after the Election?
Candidates will sign a declaration swearing that you will destroy the Voters’ List in an acceptable manner. If you would like to return your list to the City Clerk’s Office we will ensure the list is destroyed on your behalf.
Is there a Deputy Mayor position?
Yes, the City of London has a Deputy Mayor position. A Member of Council shall be appointed to serve as Deputy Mayor to assist the Mayor in carrying out their powers and duties and/or act in the place of the head of council or other member of council designated to preside at meetings when the head of council or designated member is absent or refuses to act or the office is vacant
The Deputy Mayor shall be selected by the Mayor, confirmed by a majority vote of the Municipal Council and appointed by by-law at the Inaugural Meeting of Municipal Council. The Mayor may, at their discretion, change their selection for Deputy Mayor throughout the course of his/her term as Mayor, in order to allow the Mayor to effectively draw upon the varied skill sets of Council Members. Any subsequent selection for Deputy Mayor shall be confirmed by Council and appointed by by-law.
Are candidates required to provide a list of citizens supporting their nomination?
Yes, the nomination of a person for an office on a council must be endorsed by at least 25 persons, and they may endorse more than one nomination. Persons endorsing a nomination must be eligible to vote in an election for an office within the municipality, if a regular election was held on the day that the person endorses the nomination.
If you are employed by the City or a Board or Commission, does this disqualify you?
An employee of a municipality or local board is eligible to be a candidate for and to be elected as a member of the council or local board that is the employer if he or she takes an unpaid leave of absence beginning as of the day the employee is nominated and ending on Voting Day. If the employee is elected to the office, he or she shall be deemed to have resigned from the employment immediately before making the declaration of office. Please consult legislation in the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 and the Municipal Act, 2001.
How do you determine which name goes on the ballot (eg. nicknames)?
When you file your nomination papers there will be a section for you to write down your name as you want it to appear on the ballot. If you normally go by a different name than your legal first name, you may use that name provided the City Clerk agrees.
Example: Your name is John Alexander William Turner
- if you normally go by John Turner, print Turner, John on the nomination form
- if you normally go by Alex Turner, and the City Clerk agrees, print Turner, Alex on the nomination form
- if you normally go by John Alexander, and the City Clerk agrees, print Turner, John Alexander on the form
You do not have to provide all of your names under Given Name(s) on the form. Only provide the one(s) that you want to appear on the ballot.
How do I withdraw my nomination?
We have a Notice of Withdraw form that you will be required to complete at the Elections Office. This must be done before the close of nominations on July 27, 2018 at 2:00 p.m.
I filed my nomination papers; can I assume my name will appear on the ballot?
No. The City Clerk is required to certify each nomination after it has been filed and before the close of nominations. The City Clerk will verify the candidate’s name is on the Voters’ List and therefore an eligible elector.
It is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure they meet all the qualifications and file proper nomination papers. Each candidate should contact the Election Office to ensure that their forms are in order. Since the City Clerk may examine the nominations papers after the nomination period ends and may reject them, a candidate may find that their papers have been rejected and are too late to file additional information or provide proof to the City Clerk of their qualifications.
Running an accessible campaign
What types of disability challenges will candidates face during the Election period?
Candidates will need to consider the needs of persons with disabilities that include, but are not limited to, deaf and hard of hearing; deaf-blind; blind or visually impaired; cognitive or mental; speech; mental illness; and mobility.
Why do extra measures need to be taken to reach out to persons with disabilities?
Extra measures need to be taken to communicate to persons with disabilities because not all persons are able to access information that is widely used. This could mean the elector with the disability may not be able to read a newspaper article either in print or on the internet; the elector may not be able to visually see the TV ad or media advertising; the elector may not be able to hear the radio commercial; or the elector may not be able to understand the information presented.
What barriers currently exist between the disabled and the Election?
Currently there are many opportunities for improving the involvement of the disabled and informing the disabled about candidates and election organizers. Accessibility is an ongoing consideration, and ongoing efforts are being made to allow persons with disabilities the proper access to become involved with the Election.
In what ways can candidates reach out to persons with disabilities?
Candidates can visit group homes, old age homes, retirement homes, nursing homes and hospitals to inform the electors of their intentions while running for office.
Candidates can utilize the services of a sign language interpreter and/or a deaf-blind intervener when appropriate.
Written information, both on the internet and in hard copy, can be improved through the use of large print; colourful visuals; clear speech communication; and rephrasing when necessary.
Alternate forms of communication can be used such as braille, large print, captioning, electronic text, audio format, descriptive video service (DVS), and sign language video format.
A quiet meeting environment can also be helpful.
Are candidates running for Ward Councillor required to ensure persons with disabilities within their ward vote?
No, it is not a requirement that candidates ensure any person, disabled or not, within their ward vote. However, it is in the candidate’s\ best interest to reach out to all electors, including the disabled, to inform them of the various voting methods, such as vote by mail, advance voting, and proxy voting.
What accessibility resources are available to assist candidates in reaching out to persons with disabilities?
Candidates can utilize the following resources for assistance to reach out to those with disabilities
- Spinal Cord Injury Ontario (formerly Canadian Paraplegic Association Ontario) – London Office 111 Elias Street, Unit 3 London ON N5W 5L1 Phone: 519-433-2331 Fax: 519-433-3987
- CNIB – London Office 749 Baseline Road London ON N6C 2R6 Phone: 519-685-8420
- Canadian Hearing Society – London Office 181 Wellington Street London ON N6B 2K9 TTY: 1-888-697-3613 Phone: 519-667-3325 Fax: 519-667-9668 E-mail: email@example.com
- Ontario March of Dimes – London Office 920 Commissioners Road East London ON N5Z 3J1 Phone: 519-642-3999 Toll-free: 1-866-496-8603 Fax: 519-642-7665
- Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario – London-Middlesex Branch 648 Huron Street London ON N5Y 4J8 Phone: 519-434-9191 Fax: 519-438-1167 E-mail: Aleena@london.cmha.ca
- Accessibility Directorate of Ontario College Park 6th Floor, Suite 601A & Suite 601B 777 Bay Street Toronto, ON M7A 2J4 General Inquiry: 416-849-8276 TTY: 416-326-0148 Toll Free: 866-515-2025 TTY Toll Free: 800-335-6611 Web Site: www.ontario.ca/accesson
Election signs in the City of London
Standards for the placement of election signs on public and private property are established in the City of London's Election Sign By-law and Regulation.
When can Election Signs be placed in the City of London?
Election signs must be erected and displayed in accordance with the prescribed time period as defined by the Election Sign By-law.
For federal and provincial elections (or by-elections), the period begins from the issuance of the writ and ends after the close of polls.
For municipal elections (or by-election or school board elections or by-elections), the period begins from the close of nominations and ends after the close of polls.
All election signs are required to be removed ninety-six (96) hours after Voting Day. If they are not removed from City property, a By-law Enforcement Officer may remove the signs.
How can I report an Election Sign that is in contravention of the By-law?
The City Clerk and/or an Enforcement Officer for the City of London is authorized to take down or remove or cause to be removed immediately an election sign that is placed in contravention of the Election Sign By-law and Regulation.
If you would like to report or inquire about the placement of an election sign in the City of London please call or email the elections office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-661-4535.
Signs that pose any risk to the health and safety of pedestrians or motorists will be removed immediately.
How can I pick up Election Signs that were removed by the City?
Election signs that have been removed by the City of London will be stored at 663 Bathurst Street at A. J. Tyler Operations, Bathurst Works Yard. Signs may be picked up between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.
An election sign removed by the City of London will be stored for a period of not less than 30 days during which time the Owner or agent may retrieve the election sign.
The City of London is not responsible for the loss or damage of election signs.
Where an election sign has been removed by the City of London and has not been retrieved within 30 days, the election sign may be destroyed or otherwise disposed of by the City of London without notice.
About the election sign by-law
On November 14, 2017 Council adopted a new Election Sign By-law.
The provisions set out in the new by-law and regulations are based on feedback from candidates, as well as members of the public. The most common complaints related to the length of time election signs are posted, proximity to intersections, and sight line concerns.
Here's a snapshot of what changed:
- Restricts the placement of election signs for the municipal election to no earlier than Nomination Day in the year of a regular election, excluding campaign office signs.
- Restricts the placement of election signs for federal and provincial election campaigns to no earlier than the Issuance of the Writ in the year of a regular election.
- Election signs will not be permitted within 3 metres of a roadway, regardless of proximity to intersections.
- When election signs are placed between 3 and 8 metres from the roadway, sign height is restricted to 1.8 metres. Signs placed beyond 8 metres from the roadway are permitted up to 4 metres in height.
- Requires election signs of the same candidate to be at least 10 metres apart.
- Restricts election signs from being placed outside the ward (s) where a candidate is running for office, excepting election signs placed within 50 meters of an adjacent ward.
- Election signs are to be removed no later than ninety-six (96) hours following the day of the election.
- Election signs are prohibited from using the City’s logo or the City’s municipal election logo.
About the election sign by-law regulation "1" update
Under the current by-law, Council has delegated authority to the City Clerk to provide for regulations as to:
- how Election Signs would be retrieved and destroyed,
- how notice would be given to candidates if their signs were removed, and
- how candidates can claim their signs once they have been removed.
These regulations were updated following the 2018 Municipal Election.
Here’s a summary of the updates:
- Specifies that Third Party Advertisers for municipal elections shall receive information about election signs when they file a Notice of Registration. The Elections Office will attempt to contact Third Party Advertisers for federal or provincial elections with this information as it is available.
- Authorizes By-Law Enforcement Officers to remove election signs in contravention of the election sign by-law without prior notice if the Owner or agent has not provided appropriate contact information to the Elections Office.
Restricts the storage period of an election sign that has been removed by the City of London to a period of no more than 30 days.