Media Bulletin - Advertising requirements

TORONTO, Feb. 3 /CNW/ - Ontario law imposes blackout periods on political advertising at different times during a by-election period, Ontario's Chief Electoral Officer Greg Essensa reminds advertisers and advertising departments.

For the March 4 by-elections in the Electoral Districts of Ottawa West-Nepean and Leeds-Grenville, there will be a blackout on political advertising from February 3 to February 9, on the day before Election Day, March 3 and on Election Day, March 4.

During this time, no party, constituency association or candidate, third party and no person, corporation or trade union, whether acting with or without the party's, association's or candidate's consent, shall arrange for or consent to political advertising that appears during the blackout period.

In addition, no broadcaster or publisher shall allow political advertising to appear during the blackout period. This ban applies to all media, including the Internet.

The Chief Electoral Officer also reminds advertisers that specific rules are in effect for third party advertising.

Third party election advertising is political advertising in any medium that promotes or opposes a political party or the election of a candidate during the campaign period of an election. Third party advertising is also subject to the blackout periods required by law.

A person or entity engaging in third party election advertising and spending $500 or more must register with the Chief Electoral Officer, display authorization on all election period advertising and subsequently file a report that discloses all advertising spending and the identity of contributors who donated more than $100.

A list of all registered third party advertisers will be available on the Elections Ontario website www.elections.on.ca.

For more information on the advertising guidelines, including some important exceptions to the blackout requirements, visit www.elections.on.ca.

Elections Ontario is the non-partisan agency responsible for administering provincial elections, by-elections and referenda.

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    Quick Reference Guide
    Political Advertising
    

February 2010

Important information for all advertising departments

ADVERTISING RULES

Electors in the Electoral Districts of Ottawa West-Nepean and Leeds-Grenville will be voting in provincial by-elections on March 4.

Advertising outlets in broadcast, publishing and other media must meet certain legal obligations when conducting business. The Election Finances Act also has rules governing advertising by or on behalf of candidates, constituency associations, political parties and third parties during elections.

More detail is provided in Guideline G23 (found in the media section on www.elections.on.ca).

Below is a summary of the most important points for political advertising.

BY-ELECTION BLACKOUT PERIODS

For the March 4 by-elections in the Electoral Districts of Ottawa West-Nepean and Leeds-Grenville, there will be a blackout on political advertising from February 3 to February 9, on the day before Election Day, March 3 and on Election Day, March 4.

The prohibition against the publication of political advertisements does not apply to:

    
    -  genuine news reporting
    -  the publication of advertising, on polling day or the day before
       polling day, in a newspaper that is published once a week or less
       often and whose regular day of publication falls on that day
    -  an advertisement on the Internet or in a similar electronic medium, if
       posted before and not altered during a blackout period
    -  an advertisement in the form of a poster or billboard, if posted
       before and not altered during a blackout period

    A blackout period restriction does not apply to:

    -  advertising of public meetings in constituencies
    -  announcing the location of candidate or constituency offices
    -  advertising for volunteer campaign workers
    -  announcing services for electors by candidates or constituency
       associations respecting revision of lists of electors
    -  announcing services for electors on polling day
    -  any other matter respecting administrative functions of constituency
       associations.
    

The above is based on the provision that such advertisements, announcements and other matters are done in accordance with the guidelines of the Chief Electoral Officer found on www.elections.on.ca.

LIMITS ON RATES TO BE CHARGED

During a campaign, no person or corporation shall charge a registered party, constituency association, candidate or third party or any person, corporation or trade union acting with the party's, association's, candidate's, or third party's consent, a rate for making political advertising available in any broadcast, print, electronic or other medium that exceeds the lowest rate the person or corporation charges anyone else for the same amount of equivalent advertising space or time during that period.

AUTHORIZATION OF POLITICAL ADVERTISING

All political printed advertising, handbills, placards, posters and broadcast or telecast advertisements shall bear or make reference to the name of the registered party, constituency association, third party, or person, corporation or trade union authorizing the political advertising. This includes:

    
    1. The name of the person, corporation, trade union, registered party,
       registered constituency association, or registered third party that is
       causing the political advertisement to appear.
    2. The name, business address and telephone number of the individual who
       deals with the broadcaster or publisher on behalf of the person or
       entity mentioned in paragraph 1.
    3. The name of any other person, corporation, trade union, registered
       party, constituency association or third party that is sponsoring or
       paying for the political advertisement.
    

The broadcaster or publisher of a political advertisement shall maintain records for a period of two years after the date the political advertisement appeared and shall permit the public to inspect the records during normal office hours.

A record maintained shall contain the following:

    
    -  the information required in paragraphs 1, 2. and 3. (above)
    -  a copy of the political advertisement, or the means of reproducing it
       for inspection
    -  a statement of the charge made for its appearance

    A political advertisement in any medium shall name:

    -  the person, corporation, trade union, registered party, constituency
       association or third party that is causing it to appear; and
    -  any other person, corporation, trade union, registered party,
       constituency association or third party that is sponsoring or paying
       for it.
    

SOURCE Elections Ontario

For further information: For further information: or to be added to Elections Ontario's election night results e-mail list contact: Elections Ontario Media Relations, (416) 212-6186, 1-866-252-2152, media@elections.on.ca; Election Finances Division, Elections Ontario, Telephone: (416) 325-9401, Toll Free: 1-866-566-9066, www.elections.on.ca


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