An Elections Canada draft interpretation note regarding Election Advertising on the internet could result in significant changes to how the election advertising rules in the Elections Act apply to political advocacy campaigns conducted by third parties both in the run-up to and during federal election campaigns.
Elections Canada has posted the draft for consultation on its website, which is open for comments by registered parties until July 3rd.
The draft interpretation would mean that the way Elections Canada determines whether websites, online videos and other online messages are considered “election advertising” would change. Many forms of online political messages would no longer be considered “election advertising”, meaning that expenses incurred to create them would not be election advertising expenses. Many third parties who had previously registered with Elections Canada and filed election advertising reports may not have to in the fall election if this interpretation is applied.
If your organization is considering conducting a political advocacy campaign for the fall election, contact me to find out how these changes could affect your campaign and the determination of whether or not you would have to register as a third party.