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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

Health protocol to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 during the school election of September 26, 2021 with respect to authorization, financing and expenses

The Government declared a public health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic in all of the territory of Québec on March 13, 2020 (Order in Council 177-2020). The declaration has been continually renewed since then, and several health guidelines have been issued to ensure the protection of the public. These measures may, in particular, be established by an order in council of the Government or an order of the Minister of Health and Social Services made under the Public Health Act (CQLR, c. S-2.2). The fall 2020 school election was not held due to Order 2020-096 dated November 25, 2020. On August 4, 2021, this Order was revoked by Order 2021-057 and Order in Council 1076-2021 set September 26, 2021 as the new date for the polls.

It is in that context that Élections Québec, in collaboration with the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, has developed a health protocol that brings together all the public health measures and recommendations in terms of authorization, candidate financing and expenses. The health protocol must be applied by all individuals concerned.

Questions and answers in terms of authorizing and financing of candidates during the September 26, 2021, school elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

As part of the conduct of elections in English-language school board elections, Élections Québec, in collaboration with the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, has established a Health protocol to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 during the school elections of September 26, 2021, with respect to authorization, financing and expenses to govern the safe holding of elections in the context of a pandemic.

For more information on the COVID-19-related measures to apply to financing of candidates, consult the summary table, which further discusses these measures.

1. What health measures will apply to activities associated with candidates’ authorization, financing and expenses in the context of COVID-19?

Élections Québec and the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux have collaborated to develop a Health protocol to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 during the school election of September 26, 2021, with respect to authorization, financing and expenses.

As long as this protocol is in effect, it must be applied by all persons concerned. It may be modified in response to changing epidemiology and new findings regarding COVID-19. Given that frequent changes are likely as the lockdown is lifted, please visit the Quebec.ca website regularly for updates on health measures. All persons concerned by this protocol are responsible for complying with the health measures in effect.

In addition to this question and answer section, a summary table provides further details on how to apply these guidelines relating to candidates’ financing.

Authorization

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

The form to apply for authorization of a candidate or an elector who undertakes to run as a candidate (DGE-5801) as well as the schedule to the application for authorization (DGE-5802) and the slip to collect supporting signatures (DGE-5802.1) are available on the Élections Québec website. Either of these documents can be used to collect your supporting signatures. You can also obtain a copy by contacting the returning officer of your English-language school board.

Simply complete and sign the form, attach the list of supporting signature or individual slips, and send it to the returning officer. Transmission by email is preferred. If you use email transmission, please keep the transmitted documents, as they may be requested if more information is required.

3. I am unable to email 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 terms of answering questions from persons wishing to submit an application for authorization.

If possible, documents should be sent by email 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.

At this appointment, the returning officer must comply with the following health guidelines:

  • Post applicable health guidelines at the entrance to the meeting location;
  • If possible, install a physical barrier (solid transparent partition) where distancing cannot be maintained, along with any appropriate floor signage (direction of movement, compliance with the physical distancing rule);
  • Remind the elector who undertakes to run as a candidate that he or she must wear a face covering;
  • Provide the elector who undertakes to run as a candidate with hand sanitizer;
  • Avoid handshakes;
  • Wear personal protective equipment (e.g., a procedure mask and, if a physical barrier has not been installed, eye protection), in accordance with the health guidelines in effect;
  • Disinfect any equipment used (e.g., a chair), both before and after the meeting, in accordance with the health guidelines in effect;
  • Avoid sharing any objects with the elector who undertakes to run as a candidate (e.g. a pencil);
  • Disinfect hands before and after handling any documents;
  • Regularly disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as tables, counters and door handles, in accordance with the health guidelines in effect.

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 the school election of September 26, 2021, with respect to authorization, financing and expenses has been developed with competent authorities. More specifically, 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. A slip (DGE-5802.1) allows for collecting signatures individually. You can email this slip to a person who wishes to support you; this person can then print, sign and scan the slip, before emailing it back to you. You should attach any slips collected in this way to your application for authorization, which you can submit by email. Please retain the submitted documents, as they may be requested if more information is required.

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

However, if the collection of supporting signatures in done in person, schedule 5802 of form Application for authorization of a candidate or an elector who undertakes to run as a candidate can also be used to collect signatures on the same document.

You will also be provided with a list of health guidelines. In particular, this list makes provisions for the following:

  • Before meeting any signatories, the canvasser has confirmed that none of the following circumstances apply (failing which he or she cannot make in-person solicitation):
    • He or she has been in quarantine or isolation due to travel abroad;
    • He or she has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is still considered a carrier of the disease;
    • He or she is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19;
    • He or she has been in contact with a suspected, probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 14 days;
    • He or she is waiting for a COVID-19 test result;
  • The canvasser has acknowledged the heightened risk of contracting a more severe form of the disease among people aged 70 and over, as well as among those affected by a chronic disease or a weakened immune system;
  • The rules governing physical distancing in force were respected at all times between the canvasser and the signatory and direct contacts (e.g., handshakes) have been avoided when greeting a person;
  • The canvasser wore a face covering, in accordance with the health guidelines in force.

As of August 1, 2021, the following items also appear on the list of health guidelines:

  • The meeting with signatories took place either:
    • on the exterior grounds of a private residence, while complying with the rules in effect regarding the maximum number of persons permitted;
    • in a predetermined location that allows for limiting gatherings to the number of persons currently permitted (e.g., outdoors, preferably by appointment).
  • Disinfectant was provided to allow the signatory to disinfect his or her hands both before and after handling any forms.
  • The signatory was encouraged to wear a face covering, in accordance with the health guidelines in force.
  • The signatory was encouraged to use his or her own pen.
  • Applicable hand hygiene rules were respected when handling any forms completed by a signatory.

5. I have completed the list of health guidelines when soliciting supporting signatures. What should I do with this document?

You must transmit the completed list of health guidelines to the returning officer when filing an application for authorization of the elector who undertakes to run as a candidate.

Contributions

6. 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 the school election of September 26, 2021, with respect to authorization, financing and expenses has been developed with competent authorities. Based on this protocol, contributions should be solicited remotely (i.e., by telephone or email) 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, a list of health guidelines is available. In particular, this list makes provisions for the following:

  • Before meeting any contributors, the canvasser has confirmed that none of the following circumstances apply (failing which he or she cannot make in-person solicitation):
    • He or she has been in quarantine or isolation due to travel abroad;
    • He or she has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is still considered a carrier of the disease;
    • He or she is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19;
    • He or she has been in contact with a suspected, probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 14 days;
    • He or she is waiting for a COVID-19 test result;
  • The canvasser has acknowledged the heightened risk of contracting a more severe form of the disease among people aged 70 and over, as well as among those affected by a chronic disease or a weakened immune system;
  • The rules governing physical distancing in force were respected at all times between the canvasser and the contributor and direct contacts (e.g., handshakes) have been avoided when greeting a person.
  • The canvasser wore a face covering, in accordance with the health guidelines in force.

As of August 1, 2021, the following items also appear on the list of health guidelines:

  • The meeting with contributors took place either:
    • on the exterior grounds of a private residence, while complying with the rules in effect regarding the maximum number of persons permitted;
    • in a predetermined location that allows for limiting gatherings to the number of persons currently permitted (e.g., outdoors, preferably by appointment).
  • Disinfectant was provided to allow the contributor to disinfect his or her hands both before and after handling any forms.
  • The contributor was encouraged to wear a face covering, in accordance with the health guidelines in force.
  • The contributor was encouraged to use his or her own pen.
  • Applicable hand hygiene rules were respected when handling any forms completed by a contributor.

This list is also available on the Élections Québec website.

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.

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

7. I have completed the list of health guidelines when soliciting contributions. What should I do with this document?

You must submit the completed list of health guidelines to the director general of the English-language school board, along with the contribution receipts.

8. Can I organize an election-related event to raise funds?

Élections Québec would like to remind all stakeholders of the importance of respecting the measures established by the government and public health authorities as part of activities related to the election campaign, particularly with respect to indoor and outdoor gatherings. To learn more, you can visit the website of the Government of Québec: Measures in effect. Note that remote activities are preferred.

As of August 1, 2021, the measures to be respected, varying by type of activity, are as follows:

  • Private activities of an event or social nature
    • In a public outdoor location: maximum of 50 people. A distance of 1 m must be respected, otherwise wearing a mask is recommended;
    • In a rented hall or indoor public place: maximum of 25 people. The distance of 1 m and the wearing of a mask or face covering are mandatory.
  • Meetings and conventions
    • People remain seated;
    • In a rented or community hall: maximum of 250 people;
    • In a public outdoor location: maximum of 500 people;
    • Distancing and wearing of a mask or face covering must be respected according to the health guidelines in effect.

Where the entrance fee is considered a contribution, consult the health guidelines for soliciting set out in point 6 of the summary table.

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

You may solicit contributions by email or telephone. When making a contribution by email 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 email, 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.

10. 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 terms of answering 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.

At this appointment, the director general of the English-language school board must comply with the following health guidelines:

  • Post applicable health guidelines at the entrance to the meeting location;
  • If possible, install a physical barrier (solid transparent partition) where distancing cannot be maintained, along with any appropriate floor signage (direction of movement, compliance with the physical distancing rule);
  • Remind the candidate that he or she must wear a face covering;
  • Provide the candidate with hand sanitizer;
  • Avoid handshakes;
  • Wear personal protective equipment (e.g., a procedure mask and, if a physical barrier has not been installed, eye protection), in accordance with the health guidelines in effect;
  • Disinfect any equipment used (e.g., a chair), both before and after the meeting, in accordance with the health guidelines in effect;
  • Avoid sharing objects with the candidate (e.g. a pencil).
  • Disinfect hands before and after handling any documents;
  • Regularly disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as tables, counters and door handles, in accordance with the health guidelines in effect.

Expenses

11. 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 stakeholders, Élections Québec authorizes the payment of expenses by transfer of funds, provided that all supporting documents are submitted with the return of election expenses.

Depending on the service used, the relevant supporting documents are as follows:

  • Internet payment (standardized payment services): the confirmation of payment issued by the financial institution or payment log history including the supplier reference number.
  • Internet payment (customized payment services): the confirmation of payment issued by the financial institution or payment log history including the bank account number (or folio) of the payee.
  • Payment by electronic transfer (e.g., Interac transfer): the confirmation of payment issued by the financial institution or payment log history including the phone number or email address of the payee.

Note that the use of the debit card is also permitted. The bank statement must be provided.