Media Bulletin - Notice to all advertising departments regarding changes to the election blackout period



    TORONTO, Sept. 7 /CNW/ - The Chief Electoral Officer, John Hollins, is
reminding advertisers and advertising departments that the law imposes a
blackout period on political advertising on the day before polling day and on
polling day itself.
    With the amendments to the Elections Finances Act, there is no longer an
initial advertising blackout at the outset of a regularly scheduled general
election such as the October 10, 2007 general election and referendum. The
initial advertising blackout remains in effect for other non-fixed date
general elections and by-elections.
    For the 2007 general election and referendum, there will be a blackout on
political advertising and referendum advertising from midnight Monday,
October 8 until midnight October 10, 2007.
    More information on the advertising guidelines, including new rules for
third party and referendum advertisers, can be found at www.elections.on.ca,
or in the backgrounder attached titled "Quick Reference Guide - Political and
Referendum Advertising."

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

    Disponible en français


    Quick Reference Guide
    Political and Referendum Advertising
    July 2007

    Important information for all advertising departments

    LEGISLATIVE AMENDMENTS

    Ontario's voters will be casting two ballots at the provincial general
election and referendum scheduled for October 10, 2007: one for a candidate in
the general election and the other for an electoral system in a referendum.
Advertising outlets in broadcast, publishing and other mediums must meet
certain legal obligations when conducting business.
    The Election Finances Act has recently been amended with changes to the
rules affecting advertising by candidates and political parties and now, third
parties. More detail is provided in Guideline G23 (found in the media section
on www.elections.on.ca).
    During a campaign period, political advertising (defined by the Election
Finances Act) may be arranged only by a registered political party,
constituency association, candidate or third party, or by any person,
corporation, or trade union acting with or without the knowledge and consent
of the political party, constituency association, candidate or third party.
For the upcoming general election, the campaign period commences on
September 10 and ends on polling day, October 10.
    In addition to rules around political advertising within the Election
Finances Act, Ontario Regulation 211/07 under the Electoral System Referendum
Act, 2007 imposes rules on advertising in the referendum. More detail on the
advertising rules around the referendum is provided on www.yourbigdecision.ca.
Below is a summary of the most important points for political and referendum
advertising.

    BLACKOUT PERIOD

    The Election Finances Act imposes a blackout period on political
advertising on the day before polling day and on polling day itself. With the
amendments to the Act, there is no longer an initial advertising blackout at
the outset of a regularly scheduled general election (as for the October 2007
general election). The initial advertising blackout remains in effect for
non-fixed date general elections and by-elections. For the 2007 general
election and referendum, there will be a blackout on political advertising and
referendum advertising from midnight Monday, October 8 until midnight
October 10, 2007. The prohibition against the publication of political and
referendum 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, including fund-
        raising events or those related to the referendum
    -   announcing the location of candidate, constituency association or
        referendum campaign organizers' headquarters
    -   advertising for volunteer campaign workers
    -   announcing services for electors by candidates or constituency
        associations respecting enumeration and revision of lists of electors
    -   announcing services for electors on polling day
    -   any other matter respecting administrative functions of constituency
        associations or referendum campaign organizers.
    

    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, third party, or referendum
campaign organizer, or any person, corporation or trade union acting with the
party's, association's, candidate's, third party's or referendum campaign
organizer's consent, a rate for making political or referendum 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 AND REFERENDUM ADVERTISING

    All political and referendum 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,
referendum campaign organizer or person, corporation or trade union
authorizing the political or referendum advertising. No person, corporation,
trade union, registered party, constituency association, third party or
referendum campaign organizer shall cause a political or referendum
advertisement to appear without providing the following information to the
broadcaster or publisher, in writing:

    
    1.  The name of the person, corporation, trade union, registered party,
        registered constituency association, registered third party or
        registered referendum campaign organizer 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, third party or referendum campaign
        organizer that is sponsoring or paying for the political or
        referendum advertisement.

    No broadcaster or publisher shall allow a political or referendum
advertisement to appear without ensuring compliance with the Election Finances
Act and the Regulation 211/07 made under the Electoral System Referendum Act,
2007.
    The broadcaster or publisher of a political advertisement shall maintain
records for a period of two years after the date the political or referendum
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 or referendum advertisement, or the means of
        reproducing it for inspection
    -   a statement of the charge made for its appearance

    A political or referendum advertisement in any medium shall name:

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

    For further information contact:

    Election Finances Division
    Elections Ontario
    Telephone: (416) 325-9401
    Toll Free: 1-866-566-9066
    www.elections.on.ca





For further information:

For further information: Elections Ontario Media Relations: (416)
212-6186, 1-866-252-2152, media@elections.on.ca


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