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Being a
Candidate

Congratulations! You're officially a candidate for the federal election.
Now it's time to start your Keyword: campaign if you have not already!

III
STAGE

STEP 12: How do I plan my campaign?

There's a lot to think about when you are planning your campaign. Your political party may give you significant direction about this process. Here are some things you might consider to get started:

  • Bringing a team together
  • Reaching out to Keyword: electors
  • Running an accessible, inclusive campaign
  • Having money to run your campaign

There are some resources available to help you and your team plan your campaign:

  • Equal Voice
  • Getting To The Gate
  • Springtide Running in a Federal Election Workshop Program: Running a Campaign and Engaging Non-Voters. (Coming soon)

Springtide put together this video, Running a Campaign for Parliament, to provide some best practices in running an election campaign. (EC commissioned resource)

Gather your resources to start planning your campaign.

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STEP 13: How do I reach out to electors?

There are many ways that you as a candidate can connect with voters to share your election platform and reasons for running.

Springtide has developed a presentation to provide you with some ideas about reaching out to electors (Coming soon) during your campaign (EC commissioned resource).

During an election campaign, all political candidates and parties, as well as their supporters, need to follow certain rules about reaching out to Canadians. Under the Keyword: Canada Elections Act, all election advertising for candidates or registered political parties must state that the message has been authorized by the official agent of the candidate, or by the registered agent of the party.

Other rules for communicating with electors are enforced by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC):

  1. Voter Contact Registry: Certain companies and individuals must register with the CRTC if they plan to make telephone calls to Canadians during an election period.
  2. Unsolicited telecommunications rules: There are rules around phone calls made by or for political groups to Canadians who have not given their permission to be contacted.
  3. Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL): Individuals and organizations must make sure that text messaging and emails respect Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation.

Before you start reaching out to electors, review the guide on “How to contact Canadians the right way,” developed by the CRTC. We also recommend you read through the section on Election Advertising in the Political Financing Handbook for Candidates and Official Agents.

Planning on going out to speak with voters in person?

You are allowed to access public places. Bring a few copies of this letter from the Chief Electoral Officer with you to answer questions about your right to be in a public building. Under the Canada Elections Act, you and your team have the right to access:

  1. buildings and spaces that do not cost money for people to visit. These can include places like:
    • parks
    • shopping malls
    • sidewalks

    There are some exceptions, but these are rare.

  2. gated communities between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
  3. apartment and condominium buildings between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Know the rules for reaching out to electors before you start campaigning.

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STEP 14: How do I run an accessible and inclusive campaign?

Running an Keyword: accessible and Keyword: inclusive campaign benefits all Canadians. Using plain language, providing information in different ways, and making sure public meeting sites are physically accessible mean that everyone can participate in the electoral process. Some of the costs of making your campaign accessible may be reimbursed after the election. Check the Political Financing Handbook for Candidates and Official Agents (EC resource) for more details. Here are just a few ways you can run an accessible and inclusive campaign:

  • Use Keyword: plain language
  • Make information available in accessible formats like braille
  • Make sure your website follows W3C accessibility standards
  • Post accessible videos and images on social media
  • Choose accessible locations for events and meetings
  • Have members of your team reflect the diversity of your community

We’ve prepared this fact sheet for political parties and candidates to help you run an accessible campaign (Coming soon) so that all voters in your electoral district feel included.


Use the Accessibility Fact sheet for Political Parties and Candidates (Coming soon) to ensure that your campaign is accessible and inclusive.

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STEP 15: How do I finance my campaign?

You've received your first contribution, or are spending your first campaign dollar. What do you do next?

The rules around Keyword: political financing are included in the Canada Elections Act. Your political financing includes things like money received through contributions, loans, transfers and fundraising activities, as well as your expenses.

The political financing team at Elections Canada provides many services to help you and your official agent navigate the rules and regulations set out in the Canada Elections Act.

Elections Canada resources and training for political financing:

Political Financing Handbook for Candidates and Official Agents
Handbook that explains everything you need to know about financing and being a candidate
Training Videos: All
The complete list of all political financing training videos
Contributions, Loans and Transfers
Political financing training videos specifically related to contributions, loans, and transfers
Fundraising
Political financing training video related to fundraising
Online Training
Information about the online political financing training
In-Classroom Training
Information about the in-classroom political financing training
Request for Training
Where to request political financing training
Forms for Candidates
The complete list of and links to the forms a candidate needs
Political Entities Support Network 1‑800‑486‑6563
The number to call if you have any questions
Political Financing Training Team FormationFP-PFTraining@elections.ca
The email to directly contact the political financing training team

Check that you and your official agent know and understand the rules and regulations related to political financing, including:

  • contributions
  • loans
  • transfers
  • fundraising activities
  • expenses
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STEP 16: What can I expect from being a candidate?

The Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy asked current and former candidates to share their experiences of being candidates and running their campaigns.

(EC commissioned resource) (Coming soon)

Talk to people who have been candidates before, or who have worked on campaigns, to learn about their experiences.

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