Elections Calgary


News releases

Elections Calgary news releases are available on The City of Calgary Newsroom. Contact Media Relations at media.relations@calgary.ca or call 403‑828‑2954.

Oct. 22, 2021 Official results for the 2021 General Election

Oct. 21, 2021Returning Officer Decisions on recount requests

Oct. 19, 2021 - 2021 General Election unofficial results

Oct. 19, 2021 - Remaining unofficial results – Oct. 18 2021 General Election

Oct. 18, 2021 - Election Day unofficial voter turnout – 6pm

Oct. 18, 2021 - Election Day unofficial voter turnout – 4pm

Oct. 18, 2021 - Election Day unofficial voter turnout – 2pm

Oct. 18, 2021 - Election Day unofficial voter turnout – 11am

Oct. 17, 2021 - Vote Monday, Oct. 18 in the 2021 General Election

Oct. 12, 2021 - 2021 Advance Vote turnout numbers

Oct. 9, 2021 - 2021 Advance Vote turnout numbers Oct. 8

Oct. 8, 2021 - Unofficial Advance Vote turnout numbers for Oct. 7

Oct. 7, 2021 - Unofficial Advance Vote turnout numbers for Oct. 6

Oct. 6, 2021 - Unofficial Advance Vote turnout numbers for Oct. 5

Oct. 5, 2021 - Unofficial Advance Vote turnout numbers for Oct. 4

Oct. 1, 2021 - A convenient way to vote: Advance Vote starts Oct. 4-10

Sept. 28, 2021 - Special ballot (mail-in) packages sent for 2021 Municipal election

Apr. 29, 2021 - Election Advertising period begins

May 10, 2021 - List of Electors (Voters List) Returning Officer Statement

Mar. 31, 2021 - Third Party Advertiser Information Sessions

Jan. 4, 2021 - Nomination period open for Calgary Municipal Election 2021

Returning Officer Information Brief

Oct. 18, 2021 - Returning Officer letter to elected candidates

June 30, 2021 - 2021 Voting opportunities

June 30, 2021 - 2021 Voting Opportunities

Planning the October 18, 2021, General Election

Elections Calgary’s priority is to deliver safe, accessible, and legislatively compliant election services to voters, candidates, and third-party advertisers.

The October 18, 2021, General Election has been planned differently than previous elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Plans and decisions were made months in advance of Election Day and include processes for conducting the General Election in a manner that will reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Plans also include provisions to ensure a safe voting experience should the pandemic worsen and public health restrictions return. In preparing its plans, Elections Calgary consulted with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Elections Alberta, Alberta Health Services, The City’s Rapid Response Team and carefully considered the experiences of other jurisdictions having recently held elections.

Examples of plans supporting the potential return of public health restrictions include:

  • Providing additional voting stations located close to voters’ residences.
  • Providing additional advance voting hours thus reducing the volume of voters on Election Day (typically, Calgary’s busiest day of voting in a general election).
  • Assigning voters to specific stations during the Advance Vote and on Election Day, supporting more predictable and manageable capacity, reducing crowding and ability to provide social distancing. This is especially important this year, given a few factors:
    • As of June 30, 2021, there are 121 candidates for the offices of mayor, councillors and school board trustees. Each candidate is authorized to appoint scrutineers to witness the process in voting stations on their behalf where their election is being held. Mayoral candidates may appoint a scrutineer in each voting station across the city (as of June 30, 2021, there are 20 mayoral candidates).
    • Scrutineers may also be appointed in each voting station across the city by Senatorial candidates, and electors in favor or opposition of the provincial referendum question(s) and question on the ballot regarding the re-introduction of fluoride to the municipal water supply.
    • The total number of candidates for the General Election and Senate Election will only be known on noon on September 21, 2021.
    • Voter turnout is unknown, but typically higher where incumbents do not seek re-election and where there is a question on the ballot.
  • Arranging for a non-instructional (“professional development”) day on October 18, 2021 with the Calgary Board of Education and Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School Division. This helps to ease capacity and parking availability in schools used as voting stations.
  • Promoting voting information through a wide range of communications tactics. Information will be made available in Calgary’s top languages spoken in households and formats accessible to persons with disabilities. Information will be available online and mailed to every household in Calgary.
  • Voting format and processes have been selected to best predict and manage the capacity, ability to social distance easily maintain public health protocols and logistical considerations. While recognizing their convenience, the following are examples of voting formats not selected for the 2021 General Election:
    • A vote bus was not selected because it does not allow for sufficient social distancing.
    • A drive-up vote was not selected given the complexity of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), cost and protocols required and to ensure Alberta Health Services has access to drive-up facilities for COVID-19 testing and vaccines.
  • Voting plans support best practices regarding adequate distribution and supply of ballots and accessible facilities with adequate parking. These practices were successfully implemented in the 2018 Olympic vote on a question, as outlined in the 2017 Municipal Election Follow-up Audit, AC2020-0196.

Additional Voting Opportunities

In keeping with efforts to support a safe and accessible voting experience, Elections Calgary will offer additional voting opportunities compared to the 2017 General Election, including:

  • An increase in the total number of voting stations:
    • Advance Vote: Currently, 33 planned* (24 in the 2017).
    • Election Day: Currently, 186 planned* (170 in the 2017).
  • Additional advance vote hours planned:*
    • Currently, total of 2,211 hours across all voting stations (1,106 in 2017).
    • Monday October 4 – Friday October 8 (8 a.m. – 7 p.m.).
    • Saturday, October 9 (10 a.m. – 7 p.m.).
    • Sunday, October 10 (10 a.m. – 3 p.m.).
  • Most Advance Vote stations are located within a 2.5 km radius of residential areas.
  • Most Election Day voting stations are located within 1 km radius of residential areas.
  • Longer voting hours on Election Day: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. (10 a.m. – 8 p.m. in 2017).

*As of June 30, 2021, subject to confirmation of rental arrangements. Voting opportunities and locations will be shared with candidates and the public in September 2021.

Vote Anywhere

In previous General Elections, “vote anywhere” was offered during the Advance Vote. This allowed voters to cast their ballot at any Advance Vote station, regardless of their residence.

While Elections Calgary recognizes the convenience and ease of access associated with a “vote anywhere” Advance Vote, as this General Election was planned during the pandemic, it was important to establish a vote model that would reduce the risks of COVID-19 infections, in the event of a prolonged pandemic. Unlike in any previous General Election, a “Vote anywhere” may introduce potential risks to public safety, should public health restrictions return.

“Vote anywhere” and other voter engagement opportunities which are not compromised by current public health restrictions or concerns will be considered for future electoral events.

Additional information about voting opportunities is provided in the Questions and Answers section and will be updated on the Elections Calgary website, electionscalgary.ca.

Questions and Answers

How will Calgarians vote?

Eligible voters will vote at designated voting stations during the Advance Vote from October 4 through 10, 2021, as well as on October 18, 2021, (Election Day).  

Mail-in (special) ballots will continue to be available for voters who will be absent during available voting, those who have a disability preventing them from voting in person, or for those who are working as an election worker. Applications for mail-in (special) ballots open August 3, 2021, and can made through the Elections Calgary website (www.electionscalgary.ca), and by contacting 311.

How will I know where to vote?

New in this General Election, a voter information card will be distributed to each household showing their voting opportunities.

In addition, voting information will be available through the Where Do I Vote? tool, through The City’s social media accounts, on the Elections Calgary website (www.electionscalgary.ca), and by contacting 311.

Will a “vote anywhere” Advance Vote, vote bus and drive-up voting be offered during the Advance Vote?

No, these options will not be offered during the 2021 Advance Vote, given public safety, logistical complexity, and cost considerations. These opportunities will be considered for future electoral events.

Will a “vote anywhere” Advance Vote be offered at post-secondary institutions?

Like other parts of the city, a “vote anywhere” advance vote will not be offered during the 2021 Advance Vote period at post-secondary institutions. Recognizing the convenience a “vote anywhere” model offers, this General Election students and post-secondary institution employees can vote close to their residence. Other orders of government have legislation enable the use of mail-in (special) ballots or other procedures to capture students and employees of post-secondary institutions that are not currently legislated and/or available to voters in Calgary.

Elections Calgary is currently connecting with post-secondary student unions and administration to determine how to best engage student voters and faculty and share available voting and employment opportunities as election workers.

Will Elections Calgary change its approach to voting opportunities should the COVID-19 pandemic improve?

Voting opportunity plans for the October 18, 2021, General Election will remain unchanged should the COVID-19 pandemic improve. This approach ensures a safe voting experience should the pandemic worsen, and public health restrictions return. This approach also mitigates risks associated with introducing late changes to processes.

Elections Calgary continues to monitor and follow all current public health and City of Calgary requirements in effect.

What are the accessible voting options?

Accessible voting equipment will be available during the Advance Vote to allow voters to mark their vote independently using various appliances (e.g., sip/puff, paddles with Braille and audio devices). Persons with disabilities may also choose to be assisted by a friend or family member attending with them, or by an election worker. Alternatively, a mail-in (special) ballot may also be applied for.

Elections Calgary sought the input of the Advisory Committee on Accessibility to enhance accessibility measures. All voting stations have been inspected to evaluate physical accessibility.

Will voting opportunities to available to voters who reside in shelters and care facilities?

Yes, voting opportunities will be established in shelters and care facilities. Additionally, voting stations will be provided for in hospitals on Election Day. Details are currently being confirmed and will be shared with candidates and the public in September 2021.

What do I have to bring with me to vote?

To vote, you must bring one of the following forms of identification (ID) containing your name and current address. Picture ID is not required.

Government issued ID documents:

  • Identification issued by a Canadian government, whether federal, provincial or local, or an agency of that government, that contains a photograph of the elector and their name and current address; or

Government-issued ID documents:

  • Government cheque or cheque stub; or
  • Income/property tax assessment notice; or
  • Statement of government benefits (e.g. employment insurance, old-age security, social assistance, disability support or child tax benefits); or

School, college or university ID documents:

  • Correspondence issued by a school, college or university; or


  • A letter or form (attestation) confirming that the person lives at the stated address. The letter can be signed prior to the vote by any of the following:
    • the authorized representative of a correctional institution; or
    • the responsible authority of a supportive living facility or treatment centre; or
    • the authorized representative (landlord) of a commercial property management company; or
    • the authorized representative of a post-secondary institution; or
    • the authorized representative of a facility that provides services to the homeless; or

Other ID documents:

  • Bank/credit card statement or personal cheque; or
  • Insurance policy or coverage card; or
  • Letter from a public curator, public guardian or public trustee; or
  • Pension Plan statement of benefits, contributions or participation; or
  • Residential lease or mortgage statement; or
  • Utility bill (e.g. telephone, public utilities commission, television, hydro (electric), gas or water); or
  • Vehicle ownership, registration or insurance certificate.

June 30, 2021 - Third Party Advertisers: 2021 Voting Opportunities

Apr. 27, 2021 - Third Party Advertisers

Apr. 27, 2021 - Third Party Advertisers

Third parties who engage or intend to engage in election advertising must register with Elections Calgary. The election advertising period is May 1 to October 18, 2021.

The Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA) includes rules governing the finances and accountability of third parties that engage or intend to engage in election advertising. Bill 29 removed references to political advertising. As a result, advertising outside of the election advertising period is no longer regulated. Also, the LAEA does not govern issue-based advertising (e.g. fluoride).

Who is a Third Party Advertiser?

A Third Party Advertiser (TPA) can be an individual, corporation or group but does not include a candidate.

A TPA promotes or opposes the election of a candidate during the election advertising period.

When should a TPA register with Elections Calgary?

Registration is required when a TPA has incurred (or plans to incur) expenses of at least $1,000 for election advertising or has accepted (or plans to accept) advertising contributions of at least $1,000.

All TPAs engaging in election advertising must adhere to the requirements as set out by LAEA Part 8.

How to register a TPA

To register with Elections Calgary, please provide the following information:

  1. Complete Form 27 - Registration of a Third Party.
    • For groups and corporations, include a list of principal officer(s) or principal members. For corporations, it must be completed by the officer who has signing authority (section 163(3)(ii).
    • If the TPA has a governing body (e.g. a board of directors), the application must include a copy of the resolution passed by the governing body authorizing the third party to incur election advertising expenses.
  1. Complete the Third Party Advertiser Information Consent Form.
  2. Send registration information to Elections Calgary
    • Emails and scanned documents are not
    • Registration information can be mailed to Elections
    • Forms can be dropped off in person at the Elections Calgary office with an
    • For mailing/street addresses, or to schedule appointments, contact Elections Calgary.

Changes to a registration

TPAs must notify Elections Calgary in writing (email is acceptable) of any changes to the required information within 30 days after the change. Email the details of the change to elections@calgary.ca.

Name restrictions

As per LAEA section 163, a TPA will not be allowed to register if its proposed name or abbreviations of the name:

  • Resembles the name of a registered TPA;
  • Resembles the name or nick name of a candidate active in Calgary or anywhere in the province;
  • Resembles the name of a registered TPA whose registration was cancelled; or changed since the last

Third parties who are ineligible to register (LAEA section 163) include:

  • A corporation that does not carry out business in Alberta;
  • An individual who is not ordinarily a resident in Alberta;
  • A trade union or employee organization that is not an Alberta trade union or Alberta employee organization;
  • A prohibited corporation (as defined in the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act);
  • A group where any member is one of the above;
  • A registered

Provincial Registrar

As per LAEA section 163, a TPA engaging (or intending to engage) in election advertising in more than 10 local jurisdictions, must register with the Provincial Registrar.

Registration with Elections Alberta

TPAs engaging in advertising related to provincial entities (i.e. MLAs, provincial political parties, provincial elections, Alberta Senate elections) or provincial referendum questions must register with Elections Alberta.

For more information about Elections Alberta TPA requirements, visit Elections Alberta Third Party Advertisers.

Election advertising

What is election advertising?

As per the LAEA section 162, election advertising is the transmission to the public of an advertising message that promotes or opposes a candidate. The advertising would take place during the election advertising period which is May 1 to October 18, 2021.

Election advertising may include but is not limited to:

  • Canvassing for the benefit of a candidate
  • Organizing events where the primary purpose of the event is to promote or oppose a candidate
  • TV, radio, newspaper ads
  • Signs, billboards, posters
  • Newsletters, brochures, mailing inserts
  • Ads on the internet with a placement cost (pay-per-click, paid social media, pop-up ads, ).

Election advertising would NOT include:

  • Editorial, debate, speech, interview, column, letter, news
  • Book distribution or promotion
  • Communication by a corporation to employees or shareholders
  • Sharing political views on the internet (blogs, posts on social media that are not paid)
  • Phone calls encouraging voter participation
  • Advertising by local jurisdictions (i.e., The City of Calgary, Elections Calgary)
  • Unintended information/advertising in another jurisdiction

Identification of TPAs in advertising

As required in the LAEA section 179, all TPA sponsored election advertising must include the following three elements:

  • TPA name,
  • Contact information, and
  • Whether the third party authorizes the election

Additional requirements for telephone advertising

Election advertising via telephone calls (live calls or automated pre-recorded calls) must include:

  • Call display of telephone number - The number must be displayed and cannot be blocked from being displayed,
  • Name of third party - The name must be stated at the beginning of the election advertising,
  • Authorization - Must state whether the election advertising is authorized by the third party, and
  • Contact telephone number - A contact number must be stated at the end of the election

List of election advertising

On or before March 1, 2022, all TPAs must submit an advertising return report that includes a list of the time and place of broadcast or publication of the advertisements.

Contributions and expenses

LAEA Part 8 and The City of Calgary Election Bylaw 35M2018 set out rules for election advertising contributions and expenses of TPAs.

Contributions and receipts

TPAs must register with Elections Calgary when it has accepted or plans to accept election advertising contributions of $1,000 or more.

Election advertising contributions can only be accepted from eligible contributors. Ineligible contributors include:

  • An individual who is not ordinarily a resident in Alberta;
  • A trade union or employee organization that is not an Alberta trade union or Alberta employee organization;
  • A prohibited corporation (as defined in the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act);
  • A group where any member is one of the above;
  • A registered

Election advertising contributions must be deposited into the TPAs advertising account.

A TPA must issue a receipt for every election advertising contribution. As set out in The City of Calgary Election Bylaw 35M2018, each receipt must include the following information:

  • date of contribution;
  • name of contributor;
  • address of contributor; and
  • amount

Contribution limits

A contributor (i.e. individual, corporation, trade union or employee organization) may contribute to more than one TPA. However, their contribution(s) may not exceed $30,000 in total. For example, an individual may contribute $10,000 to three different TPAs. Their total contributions to TPAs is $30,000.

Valuing contributions other than money

As per section 171.1, if any real property, goods or services are provided to the TPA for a price that is less than its market value (or provided for free), the amount by which the value exceeds the price is considered an advertising contribution.

Contributions $50 or less

A contribution of $50 or less is not considered an election advertising contribution but the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the TPA must record the aggregate amount as part of the disclosure.

Anonymous contributions

Anonymous contributions in excess of $50 must be returned to the contributor if

their identity can be established. If their identify cannot be established, the contributions must be paid to the local jurisdiction (The City of Calgary) to the general revenue account (section 1752).

Expenses and receipts

TPAs must register with Elections Calgary when it has incurred or plans to incur election advertising expenses of $1,000 or more.

All election advertising expense must be paid from the TPAs advertising account.

Every TPA must appoint a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and all expenses must be authorized by the CFO or their delegate.

All election advertising expenses must be recorded in the advertising return, which is due on or before March 1, 2022.

Fund-raising event ticket prices

When a fund-raising event ticket is $50 or less, up to half of the ticket value can be allowed for expenses, and the balance is considered an advertising contribution. When the event ticket is between $50 and $100, $25 is allowed for expenses, and the balance is considered an advertising contribution. When the event ticket is more than $100, 25% of the amount is allowed for expenses, and the balance is considered an advertising contribution.

Disposition of advertising account funds

Per section 183.1.2, any funds held by a registered third party in its election advertising account, with respect to an election advertising period, shall continue to be held in the election advertising account to be spent on election advertising during a subsequent election advertising period.

If a registered third party decides not to use funds for election advertising during the next election advertising period for a general election or does not engage in election advertising during the next election advertising period for a general election, the registered third party shall, within 6 months after that period, deal with the funds remaining in the election advertising account.

Third party advertiser registry and disclosures

LAEA Part 8 requires Elections Calgary to maintain a register of TPAs who engage in election advertising. For a list of registered TPAs see registry and disclosures. For more information about the TPA, contact the TPA directly.

Disclosure requirements

All registered TPAs must file the following on or before March 1, 2022 with the local jurisdiction and/or the Registrar:

Form 28. A report listing advertising contributions received during the election advertising period (Note: Form 28 is currently under development).

Advertising return which must include:

  • A financial statement,
  • A list of all advertising contributions received during the election advertising For contributions of $250 or more, the list must include the name, address, the amount and the date of each contribution,
  • A list of all election advertising expenses,
  • A list of the time and place of broadcast or publication of the advertisements, and
  • Any supporting information or documentation relating to the election advertising

As per LAEA section 185, all TPAs must retain all records for a period of three years following the deadline to file the advertising return including the financial statements, returns or reports required under the Act. Records must be retained until March 1, 2025.

If a registered third party has not incurred election advertising expenses, that fact shall be indicated in its election advertising return.

Third party election advertising offences

A third party that contravenes a provision of section 187 is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding:

  • $10,000 if the third party is an individual, or
  • $100,000 if the third party is a trade union, employee organization, corporation or other organization.

Apr. 27, 2021 - Third Party Advertisers: Returning Officer Information Brief

Sept. 14, 2020 - Petition information

Sept. 14, 2020 - Petition information

The rules for preparing and filing a petition seeking a public vote are set out in Section 221 - 226, 232 and 234 of the Municipal Government Act.

The Municipal Government Act gives the Chief Administrative Officer for the City (the City Manager) the authority to tell City Council whether the City received a petition containing enough valid signatures to require a public vote on a bylaw. Petition compliance is undertaken by Elections Calgary.

When a petition is complete, petitioners should contact Elections Calgary at 403-476-4100 (Option 2) or elections@calgary.ca to arrange a time to deliver the petition.

The Municipal Government Act requires Elections Calgary to review the petition and count the valid signatures. Within 30 days of receiving the petition, the City Manager must declare whether the petition contains sufficient names to require a public vote on a bylaw.

In order to determine whether the petition requires Council to put a bylaw to a public vote, Elections Calgary will follow the rules in the Municipal Government Act. Prior to collecting signatures for a petition, petitioners are strongly encouraged to review the legislation to ensure the petition meets all of the legislative requirements.

Elections Calgary may consider the following matters to ensure that the petition meets the legislative rules:

Subject matter

Electors may petition for a new bylaw, or a bylaw to amend or repeal an existing bylaw. The subject matter of the bylaw can be anything within Council’s power, except for matters falling under these parts of the Municipal Government Act:

  • Financial Matters (Part 8)
  • Assessment of Property (Part 9)
  • Taxation (Part 10)
  • Sustainable Development (Part 17)

If the subject matter of a petition is one of these matters, a vote on the bylaw requested by the petitioners is not required.

If the bylaw requested in the petition is a bylaw amending or repealing an existing City bylaw or resolution, the petition seeking repeal or amendment of that bylaw must be filed with Elections Calgary within 60 days of the date on which the bylaw or resolution was passed by Council.

If the petition is presented later than 60 days after Council made its decision to pass the bylaw or resolution, a vote on the requested bylaw is not required.

Purpose Statement

Every page of a petition must have the same “purpose statement,” which sets out what bylaw the petitioners are asking Council to put to a vote.

People Allowed to Sign the Petition

Only electors may sign the petition as described above.

Information Electors Have to Provide on the Petition

Every elector signing the petition must provide the following information:

  • The correct municipal address or legal description of the property where the elector resides. Business addresses or fictional addresses do not meet the requirement.
  • The date on which the petition was signed.
  • The elector's signature.
  • A printed version of the elector's name.

If the elector signing the petition does not provide this information, the signature cannot be counted. An elector cannot sign for any other person.

Witness Obligations

Every signature on the petition must be witnessed by an adult person. The witness must sign the document next to the name of the elector whose signature is being witnessed.

The witness must swear an affidavit stating they believe that the elector who signed the petition was entitled to sign the petition.

Dates Signatures Collected

The only signatures that can be counted are ones collected 60 days or sooner from the date on which the petitioner delivered the petition to Elections Calgary.

Number of Signatures

The petitioner must obtain enough signatures from electors to equal 10% of the City’s population. The City’s population is determined by the City’s most recent civic census. Based on the most recent civic census (2019), 10% of the City’s population is 128,571.

The only names on the petition that can be counted are ones that:

  •  Were collected 60 days prior to the date when the petition was delivered to Elections Calgary
  • Appear on a page with the purpose statement
  • Include the elector’s printed name, residential address (or legal description for the residence), signature and the date the elector signed the petition
  • Are witnessed
  • Have affidavits from the witnesses properly sworn before someone legally entitled to commission affidavits in Alberta

Representative Statement

The representative of the petitioners must also sign the petition declaring that they are the representative of the petitioners for all purposes.

Sept. 14, 2020 - Petition Information: Returning Officer Information Brief


Aug. 31, 2020 - Bill 29: Local Authorities Election Amendment Act, 2020

Aug. 31, 2020 - Bill 29: Local Authorities Election Amendment Act, 2020

On June 24, 2020, the Government of Alberta introduced Bill 29, the Local Authorities Election Amendment Act, 2020 (The Act), in the Alberta Legislature and it received Royal Assent on July 23, 2020. The Act comes into force on September 1, 2020.

This summary of the changes in Bill 29 is provided for convenience of reference only. Candidates and third party advertisers are subject to further requirements in the Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA). Candidates and third party advertisers are advised to refer to the LAEA and obtain legal advice regarding the full extent of their obligations.

Highlights of the changes introduced in the legislation are:

  • Nomination Day changed. Nomination day will now occur four weeks before Election Day, rather than six weeks as it was previously.
  • Pre-election disclosure eliminated. Authority for municipalities to pass a pre-election disclosure bylaw has been removed.
  • Individual contribution amount increased. The individual contribution limit increased to $5,000 per candidate during the campaign period from January 1 to December 31 in the year of a general election, with no limits on the number of candidates that an individual can contribute to. Previously, an individual contribution amount was limited to $4,000 in the aggregate during the campaign period.
  • Self-fund amount increased. The limit for candidates’ own contribution (self-fund) increased from $4,000 to $10,000 per year.
  • Contribution amount outside the campaign period increased. The contribution limit to a candidate outside the campaign period increased from $2,000 to $5,000 in the aggregate per year.
  • Campaign surpluses no longer held in trust. Candidates may retain any surplus amount under $1,000. Any amount over $1000 must be donated to a registered charity. Previously, campaign surpluses were held in trust by The City of Calgary (The City).

Transitional note: Elections Calgary will notify individuals with campaign surpluses held in trust. Individuals must return a letter with instruction for The City to donate amounts over $1,000 to a registered charity of their choice no later than January 1, 2022. Amounts under $1,000 may be retained by the individual.

  • Registration of political third party advertisers eliminated. Third party advertisers engaged in political advertising are not required to register with Elections Calgary; however, registration continues for third party advertisers engaged in election advertising. The removal of political third party advertisers from the LAEA means that advertising related to an election that takes place outside the election period (May 1 to Election Day) is no longer regulated. Previously, third party advertisers for both political and election advertising had to register with the local jurisdiction.

Transitional note: Elections Calgary will notify third parties registered as political advertisers of the updated legislation. The political advertiser registry will be removed from the Elections Calgary website.

Highlights of Bill 29 amendments

The following information represents a selection of changes included in Bill 29. For the complete list of amendments, please view Bill 29 on the Legislative Assembly of Alberta’s website.

Election procedure

Bill 29 section 5, LAEA section 25(1) -- Changes nomination day from six weeks to four weeks before Election Day. The nomination period is therefore extended by two weeks.

Bill 29 section 8, LAEA section 32 -- Allows candidates to withdraw their nomination, if there are multiple nominations filed for a given position, at any time during the nomination period. Previously, the withdrawal period was 24 hours after the close of the nomination period.

Election finances and contributions disclosure

Bill 29 section 15, LAEA section 147.2 -- An individual can contribute a maximum of $5,000 per candidate during the “campaign period” (January 1 to December 31 in the year of a general election). Previously, individual contributions to candidates were limited to $4,000 in the aggregate per year. Also, a candidate can self-fund an amount of up to $10,000 that is not reimbursed to the candidate from the candidate’s campaign account. Previously, candidates’ self-funding was limited to $4,000.

Bill 29 section 16, LAEA section 147.22 -- A candidate can accept contributions up to $5,000 in the aggregate per year outside the campaign period. Previously, a person was not able to accept more than $2,000 in the aggregate in contributions or incur expenses more than $2,000 in the aggregate.

Bill 29 section 17(c), LAEA section 147.4 -- Subsections (8), (9) and (10) are being repealed, eliminating the authority of a local jurisdiction to pass a bylaw requiring candidates to file pre-election disclosure statements.

Bill 29 section 18, LAEA section 147.5 -- Candidates can only retain a campaign surplus up to $1,000. Amounts $1,000 and above must be donated to a registered charity. Candidates must file an amended disclosure statement showing that the surplus has been dealt with in accordance with this section. The City is no longer authorized to hold surpluses in trust for candidates.

Bill 29 section 18, LAEA section 147.51 -- Transitional note: Candidates with surpluses held in trust will be allowed to retain amounts less than $1,000. Amounts of $1,000 or more must be donated to a registered charity. Candidates must provide Elections Calgary with direction regarding a surplus on or before January 1, 2022, or the money becomes the property of the local jurisdiction.

Third party advertising

Bill 29 section 24, LAEA section 162 -- Removes reference to political advertising in the LAEA. As a result, advertising outside of the election advertising period is no longer regulated.

Previously, the LAEA regulated two forms of third party advertising: (1) election advertising during the “election advertising period” (May 1 to Election Day); and, (2) political advertising outside of the election advertising period.

Third party advertisers are required to register with the local jurisdiction (The City), submit a financial disclosure statement and comply with advertising identification requirements. As well, only advertising that promotes or opposes the election of a candidate will be regulated during the election advertising period. Third party advertisers are also prohibited from colluding with a candidate to circumvent contribution and expense limits.

Bill 29 section 25 and 26 and LAEA sections 162.1 and 163 -- A new “Registrar for Third Party Advertising,” position is created and will be appointed to the Minister. Where a third party advertiser is registered in more than 10 local jurisdictions, it may register with the Registrar. If it does so, it no longer needs to be registered with local jurisdictions (existing local registrations are cancelled). Subsequent amendments in Bill 29 modify related rules so that they apply whether registered with a local jurisdiction or the Registrar.

Bill 29 section 45, LAEA section 188.1 – A transitional provision deals with disposition of political advertising funds held in trust by a local jurisdiction, prior to the election advertising period. No later than May 1, 2021, a registered third party that operates a political advertising account shall deal with any remaining funds by either donating them to charity, returning funds to contributors or paying the funds to The City.

Returning Officer Information Brief: Bill 29: Local Authorities Election Amendment Act, 2020 (print version)