Running for Municipal Office

A Candidate's Guide

A Candidate's Guide

Running for Municipal Office in Alberta

Elections during COVID-19 pandemic


What you need to know before placing election signs on provincial highways.


You do not require a permit to install an election sign along provincial highways, however you must follow the provincial guidelines.

General guidelines

  • the maximum sign size permitted in a highway right-of-way (the existing highway limits) is 1.5 m2
  • election signs are temporary and are only permitted from the date the election is called until 3 days after the election
  • signs must meet eligibility criteria (see ineligible election sign types below)

If a sign does not comply with these guidelines, a peace officer or a person authorized by Alberta Transportation may, without notice or compensation, remove the sign.

Ineligible election sign types

Election signs must not:

  • display an intermittent flashing, rotating or moving light
  • be floodlit which could distract drivers
  • have any moving or rotating parts
  • imitate the wording of a standard or commonly used highway traffic sign, such as stop, stop ahead or yield
  • imitate or resemble a traffic control device, such as a stop sign

Signs should also not include associated yard lights, area lighting and other lights that, in the opinion of Alberta Transportation, are excessively distracting to the public or create a traffic hazard

Safety precautions

Take precautions when installing election signs to ensure your safety and prevent driver distraction:

  • anyone working near the highway must wear reflective vests and bright clothing
  • election signs can only be installed during daylight hours
  • vehicles used for transporting election signs must:
    • be parked to minimize the impact to drivers (preferably on an approach), as far as possible from the travel lanes
    • have 4-way hazard warning signals operating at all times


For more information about highway development and permits:

Third Party Advertisement

The Local Authority Elections Act (LAEA) now includes provisions regarding
third party advertising.

Third Party Advertising and Reporting

Election Advertising: LAEA s.162(1)(d)

Election advertising includes any transmission to the public by any means of an
advertising message during an election advertising period that promotes or opposes
the election of a candidate or the vote on a question or bylaw. It also includes
canvassing for the benefit of a candidate and organizing events where the purpose
of the event is to promote or oppose a candidate.

When do the rules apply? LAEA s.162(1)(e)

The election advertising period commences May 1 in the year of the general election
and runs until the end of election day. For the 2021 general election, the advertising
period begins on May 1, 2021 and ends on October 18, 2021.

Registration of a Third Party: LAEA s.163(1)

An eligible third party must apply for registration in a local jurisdiction when advertising expenses have been incurred (or intend to be incurred) of at least $1,000, or when the third party has accepted advertising contributions (or intends to accept) of at least $1,000.
Local jurisdictions must receive applications for registration of third parties in the
prescribed form (Form 27 – Registration of a Third Party available at

Advertising Contributions less than $50: LAEA s.173

When money is given at a meeting held for a third party advertiser, in response to a
general collection of money solicited from the persons in attendance at the meeting,
individual amounts given of $50 or less are not considered a contribution, but the
aggregate gross amount collected shall be recorded.

Anonymous and Unauthorized Contributions: LAEA s. 175

An anonymous contribution in excess of $50 shall not be used or expended by the
registered third party and must be returned to the contributor. If the identity of the
contributor cannot be established, the amount must be paid to the general revenue
of the local jurisdiction (or Provincial Registrar, if applicable).

Contributions Not Belonging to the Contributor: LAEA s.176

No contributor shall contribute to any third party that is registered, or is required to be
registered, if the funds being contributed do not belong to the contributor, or were
given or furnished to the contributor by a person, group, corporation, trade union, or
employee organization for the purpose of making an election advertising
The chief financial officer is required to advise the local jurisdiction (or Provincial
Registrar, if applicable) in writing of the fact and circumstances if they become aware
of the acceptance of a contribution not belonging to an individual, corporation, trade
union or employee organization, or if funds have been furnished. The chief financial
officer must return the contribution according to the directions of the local jurisdiction
(or Provincial Registrar, if applicable).

Loans: LAEA s.174

A third party advertiser may borrow money only from a financial institution. The
details of the loan must be recorded by the chief financial officer and shall be
reported accordingly to the local jurisdiction.
Loan payments made by others on behalf of third parties are considered
contributions. All contribution restrictions apply. A contribution receipt must be issued
unless the third party repays the full amount of the loan payments made on its behalf
prior to the filing of the applicable advertising report or return next required to be filed
pursuant to section 182.

Receipts: LAEA s.177

A third party is required to issue receipts for every advertising contribution accepted
by the third party in the form and manner approved by the local jurisdiction in which it
is registered (or Provincial Registrar, if applicable). At a minimum, receipts should
include the date of the contribution, name and address of the contributor, and the
amount contributed.

Valuing Contributions Other Than Money: LAEA s.171

Third party advertising contributions other than money must be valued at the market
value of the contribution at the time they are made. If any real property, goods or services or the use of same are provided to a third party for a price that is less than
the market value at the time, the amount by which the value exceeds the price is
considered an advertising contribution.

Fund-raising Functions: LAEA s.172

The provisions for fund-raising functions held by or on behalf of a registered third
party are much the same as for the provisions in Part 5.1 – Election Finances and
Contributions Disclosure. The chief financial officer of the third party that held the
function or on whose behalf the function was held must record the gross income
from any fund-raising function.
Refer to the section in Module 3 for a description of how the amount of the
advertising contribution is determined if a fund-raising function is held by the sale of
tickets by or on behalf of a third party.

Deposits: LAEA s.169

All money contributions accepted by or on behalf of a registered third party, and any
contribution other than money that is converted into money, must be paid into the
election advertising account on record with the local jurisdiction. The advertising
account must be used for all payments of election advertising expenses and all
transfers to other third parties.

Collusion: LAEA s.166

Collusion between third parties and candidates to circumvent or attempt to
circumvent expense and contribution limits set out in Part 5.1 (Election Finances and
Contributions Disclosure) or Part 8 (Third Party Advertising) is prohibited.

Disclosures of Contributions for Election Advertising: LAEA s. 180

Every third party who engages in election advertising is required to file a report
regarding advertising contributions received during the election advertising period in
the prescribed form (Form 28 – Third Party Advertising Contribution Statement –
available on This report must be filed with the local jurisdiction or
Provincial Registrar by March 1 following a general election or, in the case of a byelection or a vote on a question or bylaw, within 120 days.

Late Filing: LAEA s.184

Failure to file a report and return with the local jurisdiction (or Provincial Registrar, if
applicable) by the filing deadline will result in an automatic $500 late filing fee. If the
fee is not paid within 30 days, the local jurisdiction (or Provincial Registrar, if
applicable) must send a notice to the third party indicating the amount of the late
filing fee to be paid.
If a third party who is sent a notice fails to pay the late filing fee, the local jurisdiction
(or Provincial Registrar, if applicable) may file a notice with the Court of Queen’s

Role of the Election Commissioner

The Election Commissioner is a role contained within the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer (Elections Alberta).

The Election Commissioner is responsible for the investigation of complaints regarding non-compliance with Part 8 of the LAEA.

Role of the Election Commissioner

The Election Commissioner’s role in local authority elections is only an investigatory role. LAEA s.191

The Election Commissioner is NOT responsible for:
 The registration of third parties;
 Maintenance of registration records;
 Acceptance or review of financial filings;
 Providing advice to third parties; or
 Administering the late filing fee required under s. 184.

These roles belong to the municipality (and Municipal Affairs for the registration of third
parties who are active in more than 10 local jurisdictions). It is important that returning
officers employ good record keeping practices, as records will be requested should an
investigation take place.

Failure to Register: LAEA s. 163(1)

Third parties must register with a Local Authority if the $1,000 contribution or expense
provisions are met and/or exceeded. Failure to register matters can be forwarded to
Elections Alberta.

Referral of Complaints

Complaints may be submitted to the Election Commissioner by: By Mail
Send your complaint and all relevant documents and materials to:

 - By Mail: Elections Alberta Compliance and Enforcement Unit 100, 11510 Kingsway NW, Edmonton, AB T5G 2Y5
 - By Email:
 - By Phone: 780.644.1250 (toll free 310-0000 then 780.644.1250)
 - Online: