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Understanding democracy and elections

Election signs


In Québec, election laws do not restrict the display of signs outside of an election period. However, as soon as an election is called, several rules must be followed.

In this section

The manufacture and posting of election signs

The materials used to make the election signs and their holders must be of good quality. Signs must be properly secured and kept in good condition.

Signs must be installed temporarily. The means used to install them must allow for their easy removal. Signs must not leave a mark when removed. Metal nails and staples are therefore not allowed.

The highest part of the sign must not be over five metres from the ground. If there is a identification plate on the pole, the election sign must not obscure it.

Places where posting is permitted

Election signs may be placed on public utility poles (e.g., lamp posts or telephone poles) as well as on property belonging to:

  • The government
  • Public bodies
  • Public corporations
  • Municipalities
  • English school boards and French school service centres

Election signs may be posted on private property (e.g., on the lawn of a residential building). The owner of the premises must agree to the signage. Such permission must not be granted in exchange for compensation. A sign may be posted on a public utility pole located on private property, even without permission from the property owner (who cannot remove the sign).

No signs may be placed on:

  • Monuments
  • Sculptures
  • Heritage buildings or sites
  • Trees
  • Fire hydrants
  • Bridges
  • Viaducts and overpasses
  • Electrical pylons
  • Bus shelters or public benches, except in a space explicitly designated for advertising
  • Right-of-way for a road, such as the shoulder or ditch near to the road if the right-of-way is near a residential building

All election signs must be installed in a manner that does not compromise road or pedestrian safety. It must not:

  • Impede pedestrian or vehicular traffic
  • Affect the visibility of road signs

On polling days, all partisan advertising is prohibited on the premises of polling stations. No signs are allowed:

  • On the grounds of a building where polling stations are located
  • At a point visible to the elector from the entrance of such a building
  • On a place adjacent to the building, i.e., a place touching the quadrangle where the polling station is located

Québec’s electoral legislation contains no provisions that would prevent a candidate or party from posting signs in an electoral division, a city or a district other than the one where the election is taking place. However, any such signs must comply with the requirements in force.

Contents of election signs

All election signs must bear the name of the printer and the name and title of the official agent.

The images and text on the advertising message are not regulated by Québec election laws.

Language of election signs

The language used on election signs is not regulated by Québec election laws. If you have any questions about the language used on an election sign, you may contact the Office québécois de la langue française.

The reuse of election signs from a previous election

Signs that were used in a previous election may be reused for subsequent elections as long as they bear the name and title of the current official agent of the party or candidate. The name of the printer who originally produced the sign must also be included.

There are rules governing the reuse of signs for financing purposes. For example, the cost of advertising materials will be valued as if the materials were produced at the time of their reuse, and then divided by the number of elections in which they were used. For more information on this topic, contact us.

Display period

Before an election is called

Québec’s election laws do not govern the display of election signs before an election is called, that is, before the writ is issued. The only legislation that applies in this context is the Highway safety code or the by-laws of the city where the sign is installed. Signs posted before an election are not illegal, according to Québec election laws. However, the expenses related to their display during the days preceding the election period may not be included in the election expenses of the candidate or the party. These expenses will be calculated on a pro-rata basis.

After an election

Signs must be removed no later than 15 days after the election. If you see signs 15 days after polling day, please contact your municipality. The municipality, or the owner of the premises, may have the signs removed at the expense of the political party or candidate after sending them notice. The party or candidate has five days to remove the sign when it receives a removal notice.

Most election signs are made from corrugated plastic such as Coroplast. This plastic is reusable and recyclable. Some non-profit organizations reuse them for posters, crafts, construction, etc. For more information on this subject, contact RECYC-QUÉBEC.

Damages on an election sign

If an election sign has been vandalized or covered by graffiti, please contact the affected political party or the police. A complaint can be made under the Criminal code.

Election signs interfering with road safety or placed in a prohibited location

If you see an election sign that interferes with road safety or is placed in a prohibited location (for example, on a stop sign or tree), or if you wish to report any other potential violation, please lodge a complaint.

The Charter of the French language and its regulations govern the consultation of English-language content.

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