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Questions and answers on the authorization and financing of candidates during school elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in Québec

See field: municipal

In preparation for the upcoming English-language school board elections, Élections Québec, in collaboration with the Ministère de l’Éducation and the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, has established a Health protocol to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 during any school election (in French only). This protocol provides a framework for holding safe elections in the context of a pandemic.

Refer to the summary table for additional details on measures related to the financing of candidates introduced in response to COVID-19.

Authorization

1. What health measures have been introduced in relation to activities associated with the authorization and financing of candidates in the context of COVID-19?

Élections Québec and the Ministère de l’Éducation have collaborated with the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux to develop a Health protocol to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 during any school election (in French only). This protocol includes a set of measures governing elections, from initial preparations up to and including the conduct of polling, as well as rules for the financing of candidates.

In addition to this questions and answers section, a summary table provides further details on how to apply these guidelines respecting the financing of candidates.

2. I would like to obtain authorization to become an authorized elector in my English-language school board. How do I proceed?

Both the application for authorization form and the slip for collecting supporting signatures are available on the Élections Québec website. You can also obtain a copy by making an appointment with the returning officer of your English-language school board. Simply complete and sign the form, attach the supporting signature slips, and send it to the returning officer by e-mail.

Please retain the submitted documents, as they may be requested if any clarification is required.

3. I am unable to e-mail my application for authorization of an elector who undertakes to run as a candidate. Can I submit it to the returning officer in person?

The returning officer is encouraged to provide remote support in order to answer questions from persons wishing to submit an application for authorization.

If possible, documents should be sent by e-mail to reduce the risk of infection. However, you may make an appointment with the returning officer of your English-language school board to submit your application for authorization in person.

During this appointment, the returning officer must respect the following health guidelines:

  • post the applicable health rules at the entrance to the place where the appointment takes place;
  • give preference to the installation of a physical barrier (solid transparent partition) and provide all necessary indications on the ground (direction of traffic, respect for the rule of physical distance of two metres);
  • remind the candidate of the obligation to wear a face cover;
  • provide the candidate with hand disinfectant;
  • avoid handshakes;
  • wear risk-appropriate personal protective equipment (e.g., a procedure mask and eye protection);
  • disinfect any equipment used for the purpose of the meeting (e.g., a chair), before and after the meeting;
  • avoid sharing an object with the candidate (e.g., a pencil);
  • disinfect hands before and after handling documents;
  • frequently disinfect affected surfaces, such as tables, counters and doorknobs.

Once you are authorized, you can make an appointment with the director general of your English-language school board to obtain contribution receipts.

4. Can I go door-to-door as part of my election campaign, in order to collect signatures in support of my application for authorization?

A Health protocol to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 during any school election (in French only) has been developed by the competent authorities. In particular, the protocol includes measures governing the solicitation of signatures in support of an application for authorization. In order to limit in-person interactions with electors, Élections Québec recommends that supporting signatures be solicited and collected remotely. A summary table, available on the Élections Québec website, outlines the application of these guidelines.

For example, a slip (DGE-5802.1) allows for collecting signatures individually. You can e-mail this slip to a person who wishes to support you; this person can then print, sign and scan the slip, before e-mailing it back to you. You can attach all slips collected in this way to your application for authorization, which you can submit by e-mail. Please retain the submitted documents, as they may be requested if any clarification is required.

But be careful: this option does not apply to the supporting signatures accompanying a nomination paper, which must always be collected in person.

However, if you do plan to collect signatures in support of your application for authorization in person, you will be provided with a list of health guidelines. This list includes the following items:

  • an appointment has been made with the signatory in a specific location that limits gatherings (e.g., at the wheel of a car; in the open air; in a private residence; or in a public place where applicable hygiene rules and the rule of physical distance are respected, such as the public library);
  • sufficient time as been allowed for each of the signatories, so that they are not gathered in the same place;
  • disinfectant has been provided to the signatory to disinfect hands before and after handling the form;
  • both the canvasser and the signatory should wear a face covering in accordance with existing health guidelines;
  • the signatory was invited to use his or her own pencil;
  • each of the signatories signed on a separate form provided for that purpose;
  • any equipment used for the meeting (e.g., a chair) has been disinfected before and after the meeting;
  • hand hygiene rules have been followed when handling any form completed by a signatory;
  • a two metres distance was always maintained with the signatory, and direct contact (e.g., handshakes) was avoided during greetings;
  • the name and contact information of the person met with, including any person who refused to provide a signature, were recorded in a register that can be handed over in the event of an investigation from public health authorities.

A register template for collecting the contact information of persons met with is available on the Élections Québec website.

Once completed, the register and the list of health guidelines must be submitted to the returning officer of the English-language school board, along with the application for authorization of an elector who undertakes to run as a candidate.

Any person designated to collect supporting signatures must be informed of these health guidelines. He or she must also be given the list of health guidelines for in-person solicitation.

A person should remain in isolation and abstain from soliciting or collecting supporting signatures in person, or from providing a signature in person, when he or she:

  • has returned from a trip abroad within the last 14 days;
  • has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is still considered a carrier of the disease;
  • is showing symptoms of COVID-19;
  • has been in contact with a suspected, probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 14 days;
  • is waiting for a COVID-19 test result.

Contributions

5. Can I go door-to-door as part of my election campaign, in order to collect contributions?

A Health protocol to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 during any school election (in French only) has been developed by the competent authorities. Based on this protocol, contributions should be solicited remotely (i.e., by telephone or e-mail) whenever possible. A provisional receipt, available online, allows electors to sign the mandatory declaration. The elector must sign the receipt and send it to you along with the contribution. You will then be able to provide an official receipt to the contributor. The provisional receipt must be submitted to the director general of the English-language school board at the same time as the official receipt.

However, if you solicit contributions in person, you will receive a list of health guidelines. This list includes the following items:

  • an appointment has been made with the contributor in a specific location that limits gatherings (e.g., at the wheel of a car; in the open air; in a private residence; or in a public place where applicable hygiene rules and the rule of physical distance are respected, such as the public library);
  • sufficient time as been allowed for each of the contributors, so that they are not gathered in the same place;
  • disinfectant has been provided to the contributor to disinfect hands before and after handling the form;
  • both the canvasser and the contributor should wear a face covering in accordance with existing health guidelines;
  • the contributor was invited to use his or her own pencil;
  • each of the contributors signed on a separate form provided for that purpose;
  • any equipment used for the meeting (e.g., a chair) has been disinfected before and after the meeting;
  • hand hygiene rules have been followed when handling any form completed by a contributor;
  • a two metres distance was always maintained with the contributor, and direct contact (e.g., handshakes) was avoided during greetings;
  • the name and contact information of the person met with, including any person who refused to make a contribution, were recorded in a register that can be handed over in the event of an investigation from public health authorities.

This list, as well as a register template for collecting the contact information of persons met with, are also available on the Élections Québec website.

Once completed, the register and the list of health guidelines must be submitted to the director general of the English school board, along with the contribution receipts.

Any person designated to solicit or collect contributions must be informed of these health measures. He or she must also be given the list of health guidelines for in-person solicitation.

Political contributions can only be made to the candidate or to the person designated by the candidate.

A person should remain in isolation and abstain from soliciting or collecting contributions in person, or from making an in-person contribution, when he or she:

  • has returned from a trip abroad within the last 14 days;
  • has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is still considered a carrier of the disease;
  • is showing symptoms of COVID-19;
  • has been in contact with a suspected, probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 14 days;
  • is waiting for a COVID-19 test result.

6. Can I organize an election-related activity to raise funds?

Élections Québec would like to remind all political stakeholders of the importance of respecting the measures established by the government and public health authorities in the context of activities related to the election campaign, particularly with respect to indoor and outdoor gatherings. To learn more, you can read the document titled Gatherings and audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, available on the Government of Québec website.

In situations where the price of admission is considered a contribution, please refer to the health guidelines for solicitation presented in point 6 of the summary table.

7. How else can I collect contributions, other than by going door-to-door or organizing an election-related activity?

You may solicit contributions by e-mail or telephone. When making a contribution by e-mail or telephone, the elector can complete a provisional receipt, available online. The contributor must sign the provisional receipt and send it to you by mail or e-mail, along with his or her contribution. You will be responsible for providing the contributor with an official receipt, which you may also send by mail.

8. We are in the middle of an election campaign and I would like to obtain additional contribution receipts. How do I proceed?

The director general of the English-language school board is encouraged to provide remote support in order to answer questions on the financing of candidates.

During the election period, contribution receipts are provided by the director general of the English-language school board. In order to avoid having to wait for the receipts to arrive by mail, we encourage you to make an appointment with the director general to receive them in person.

During this appointment, the director general of the English-language school board must respect the following health guidelines:

  • post the applicable health rules at the entrance to the place where the appointment takes place;
  • give preference to the installation of a physical barrier (solid transparent partition) and provide all necessary indications on the ground (direction of traffic, respect for the rule of physical distance of two metres);
  • remind the candidate of the obligation to wear a face cover;
  • provide the candidate with hand disinfectant;
  • avoid handshakes;
  • wear risk-appropriate personal protective equipment (e.g., a procedure mask and eye protection);
  • disinfect any equipment used for the purpose of the (e.g., a chair), before and after the meeting;
  • avoid sharing an object with the candidate (e.g., a pencil);
  • disinfect hands before and after handling documents;
  • frequently disinfect affected surfaces, such as tables, counters and doorknobs.

Expenses

9. Do I have to pay for all expenses related to my election campaign by cheque?

In order to avoid, as much as possible, the handling and exchange of cheques by the various parties, Élections Québec authorizes the payment of expenses by transfer of funds, provided that all supporting documents required to trace the transfer are retained and submitted along with the return of election expenses.