Municipal elections in Canada

Municipal elections in Canada fall within the jurisdiction of the various provinces and territories, who usually hold their municipal elections on the same date every two, three or four years, depending on the location.

Each province has its own nomenclature for municipalities and some have local elections for unincorporated areas which are not technically municipalities. These entities can be called cities, towns, villages, townships, hamlets, parishes and, simply, municipalities, county municipalities, regional county municipalities, municipal districts, regional districts, counties, regional municipalities, specialized municipalities, district municipalities or rural municipalities. Many of these may be used by Statistics Canada as the basis for census divisions or census subdivisions.

Municipal elections usually elect a mayor and city council and often also a school board. Some locations may also elect other bodies, such as Vancouver, which elects its own parks board. Some municipalities will also hold referenda or ballot initiatives at the same time, usually relating to spending projects or tax changes.

Elections for city councils are held through either a ward system or an at-large system, depending on the location. Vancouver is the largest city in Canada to use the at-large system, while most other large cities use wards.

Most councils are non-partisan and elect only independents. However, some municipalities have locally based political parties or election slates. These include Montreal, Quebec City and Longueuil in Quebec and Vancouver, Victoria, Surrey and Richmond in British Columbia. These local parties are rarely affiliated with any provincial or federal parties.

Voting may be done with paper ballots that are hand-counted, or by various forms of electronic voting.

Municipal election chart by province and territory

Province or Territory Occurrence Date Last Current Next Related
Albertaexcluding Lloydminster4 years (3 years prior to 2013)3rd Monday in October201320172021
British Columbia4 years (3 years prior to 2014)3rd Saturday in October (beginning 2018)201420182022
Manitoba4 years4th Wednesday in October201020142018
New Brunswick4 years2nd Monday in May201220162020
Newfoundland and Labrador4 yearslast Tuesday in September200920132017
Northwest Territoriestaxed communities3 years3rd Monday in October201520182021
hamlets2 years2nd Monday in December201420162018
Nova Scotia4 years3rd Saturday in October201220162020
NunavutIqaluit4 years3rd Monday in October201520192023
hamlets1 year1st Monday in December201520162017
Ontario4 years (3 years prior to 2006)4th Monday in October (since 2010)201420182022Details
Prince Edward Island4 years1st Monday in November201420182022
Quebec4 years1st Sunday in November201320172021
Saskatchewanurban municipalities
including Alberta portion of Lloydminster
4 years (3 years prior to 2012)4th Wednesday in October201220162020
odd-numbered rural municipalities4 years (2 years prior to 2015)[1]4th Wednesday in October201220142016
even-numbered rural municipalities4 years (2 years prior to 2015)[2]4th Wednesday in October201320152018
Yukon3 years3rd Thursday in October201520182021

See also


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