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Changes introduced by Municipal Elections Modernization Act (MEMA)

The Municipal Elections Modernization Act, 2016, or Bill 181, received Royal Assent on June 9, 2016. The Municipal Elections Modernization Act, 2016 introduced a number of changes to the Municipal Elections Act, 1996. Review these changes at Municipal Elections Act Review and the Municipal Elections Act, 1996.

This page outlines some significant changes for the 2018 municipal election in the City of Kitchener below. For more information, please refer to the Municipal Elections Act.

 25 signatures required for candidate nomination

When a candidate files nomination forms, 25 endorsement signatures and declarations from eligible electors anywhere in the municipality must also accompany the nomination forms. Anyone endorsing a candidate must be eligible to vote in the municipality on the date they endorse a candidate. Individuals can endorse more than one candidate.

NOTE: The requirement of 25 endorsement signatures and declarations does not apply to school board trustee candidates.

Third-party advertisers 

Third-party advertising will be regulated for the 2018 municipal election. For more information on third-party advertising please review the guide prepared by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

Third-party advertising includes any advertisement in broadcast, print, electronic or other medium that has the purpose of promoting, supporting or opposing:

  • A candidate.
  • A municipal question on the ballot.

Third-party advertising does not include:

  • An advertisement placed by, or under the direction of, the candidate.
  • When no expenses are incurred by the person, corporation or trade union, in relation to the advertisement.
  • Advertising or communication given to, or transmitted by, an individual to employees, by a corporation to its shareholders, directors, members, or employees, or by a trade union to its members or employees.

Third-party advertising does not apply to “issues.” This allows advocacy groups to continue their issue-based advocacy and community work during the municipal election.

Third parties who wish to advertise in the election must register in each municipality where they intend to advertise. Registration allows a third party to promote or oppose any candidate or question on the ballot in the local election.

NOTE: Candidates may not direct a registered third-party advertiser. For clarification, candidates may not coordinate, organize or govern how a registered third-party advertiser displays and/or produces election advertisements.

Who may register as a third-party advertiser?

The following are eligible to register as a third-party advertiser:

  • An individual who is normally a resident in Ontario;
  • A corporation that carries on business in Ontario;
  • A trade union that holds bargaining rights for employees in Ontario.

The following are not eligible to register as a third-party advertiser:

  • A municipal candidate;
  • A federal political party registered under the Canada Elections Act (Canada) or any federal constituency association or registered candidate at a federal election endorsed by that party;
  • A provincial political party, constituency association, registered candidate or leadership contestant registered under the Election Finances Act;
  • The Crown in right of Canada or Ontario, a municipality or local board.

Filing a registration:

1) Registrations can only be made using the prescribed form and signed by the third party advertiser registering. Registration forms must be filed in the Legislated Services, 2nd floor, City Hall, 200 King Street West, Kitchener:

a) During the hours 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on any day from May 1 to Oct. 19, 2018 when the office is open to the public.

2) Facsimile transmissions, emailed or mailed-in registration forms are not permitted.

3) A completed Declaration of Eligibility form is required when filing a registration.

 Third-party advertiser resources

Registration Form 

Third party advertiser - Declaration of Eligibility 

Financial Statement - Auditor’s Report Third Party 

2018 Guide for Third Party Advertisers for Ontario Municipal Council and School Board Elections

Third Party Advertisers Reference Manual No. 1 (City of Kitchener)

Certificate of Maximum Expenses as of Filing Registration

Corporate Resources Policy

City wide map

City of Kitchener Sign By-law (Article 9)

Region of Waterloo Sign By-law (Part IV)

Regional Roads by Name - Kitchener


Municipal Act, 2001

Municipal Elections Act, 1996

Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, 1990

Notice of Registration - Third Party - Form 7

New voting locations 

Please visit here to learn about the new voting locations for the 2018 municipal election.

Accessibility plan 

The clerk must create a plan and make it available to the public prior to voting day. The plan addresses the identification, removal and prevention of barriers that affect electors and candidates with disabilities. Read the 2018 Municipal Election Accessibility Plan. 

The Clerk must also publish an accessibility report by January 21, 2019 that identifies how barriers affecting electors and candidates with disabilities were removed or prevented. Read the 2018 Municipal Election Accessibility Report.

Please email your accessibility questions or feedback.

Interesting facts

Voter Turnout

Voter turnout for Kitchener municipal elections has ranged from 23% to 60%

  • The turnout percentage for 2000 was 27.89%
  • The turnout percentage for 2003 was 21.48%
  • The turnout percentage for 2006 was 25.48%
  • The turnout percentage for 2010 was 27.41%
  • The turnout percentage for 2014 was 30.66%


  • The first Warden of the Village of Berlin after its incorporation was John Scott in 1854
  • The first Council of the Village of Berlin in 1854 was comprised of G.W. Bowman, G. Jantz, J. Scott, H. Stroh and E. Ziegler
  • The first Mayor of the Town of Berlin (1870) was Hugo Kranz
  • The first Mayor of the City of Berlin (1912) was W. H. Schmalz
  • The first Mayor of the City of Kitchener (1916) was J.E. Hett
  • The first woman elected to Council was Bette Swartz in 1963, followed by Edith MacIntosh in 1966 and Grace Stoner in 1970
  • The first televised Council meeting in the new Council Chamber (current City Hall) took place on September 27, 1993
  • The first webcasting of a Council meeting took place on August 12, 2013
  • The first recount in Kitchener's history occurred in 2010 for Ward 9 - the recount confirmed the original election day results - Debbie Chapman 1688 votes and Frank Etherington 1689 votes
  • The Province of Ontario moved the municipal election day from the second Monday in November to the last Monday in October

Council Composition

  • 1926 election - the citizens of Kitchener were asked to vote for a Mayor and 2 Aldermen for each Ward in the City; a change from the previous election where a Mayor and 15 Aldermen were elected by general vote
  • In 1978 the City was divided into 10 Wards with a Council of a Mayor and 10 Aldermen (1 per Ward) - 8 of the Aldermen also sat on Regional Council as selected by a vote of City Council
  • Council decreased to a mayor and 6 councillors in 2000
  • 2010 saw an increase in the number of councillors to 10 to correspond with the increase in the number of wards

Council Terms

  • 1-year terms of Council were in place until 1963
  • 3-year terms of Council came into effect in 1982
  • 4-year terms of Council came into effect in 2006

Members of Council

  • Past members of council who served for more than 20 years:
  • Dominic Cardillo - 1963-1982; 1983-1994 (Mayor)
  • Geoff Lorentz - 1989-2010
  • C. Siebert - 1932; 1937-38; 1940-45; 1947-56; 1961
  • John Smola - 1984 (Apr. 30) - 2010
  • Henry Sturm - 1924-26; 1928; 1930-32, 1933-34 (Mayor); 1936-42; 1944-53
  • Jim Ziegler - 1981-2002


  • Between 1922 and 1924, 3 referendum votes on specific money by-laws pertaining to construction of a new City Hall were held, all with positive results, which enabled the City to borrow monies for the construction and acquisition of lands - the new building was completed in 1924 at a total cost of $700K (including interest) and is today affectionately referred to as "The Old City Hall".
  • The 1930 referendum asked voters to pass a by-law for market improvements and passed
  • Daylight savings time was put to the voters in 1930, 1936 and 1957 when it finally passed
  • During the 1956 election voters were asked about the change for municipal elections to take place every two years - it was narrowly defeated by 84 votes and the change was rejected
  • Movie theatre openings was put to the public in 1960, 1962 and 1965 when it finally passed
  • Voters were asked to vote on the fluoridation of water in 1967 and did not pass
  • On Election day December 6, 1971, by Order of the Ontario Municipal Board, residents voted for or against the City entering into an agreement with Oxlea Investments Limited which would provide for the existing City Hall (c.1924 - "The Old City Hall") and adjacent Farmers' Market (c.1907) to be demolished in favour of new construction - the result of the vote was 55% in favour of entering into the agreement; consequently the City Hall and Farmers' Market buildings were demolished in 1973 to make way for the new development known as the Oxlea Tower and Market Square.
  • The question of amalgamation was once again put to the voters in 2010
  • In 2010 voters in Bridgeport were asked to vote on the issue of water fluoridation

Election Method

  • 1978 was the 1st year a "computerized" election system was used when the Votomatic Vote Recorder system was utilized at an approximate cost of $61,500. US
  • 2010 saw the use of decentralized electronic tabulators complete with memory cards at the polling stations
  • In 2014 a new software program by Datafix, “Municipal VoterView”, was implemented to shorten wait times for voters and contribute to a more positive voting experience by introducing electronic strike off.
  • 2014 saw the first use of full electronic voter strike off at Advanced Polls and partial electronic voter strike off on Election Day.

 Sign identification

Under the changes made to the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 (MEA), candidates and third party advertisers are now required to provide identification information on advertisements.

Candidate election campaign sign:

  • A "traditional" election campaign sign that states "Elect [Candidate X]", "Re-elect [Candidate X]", or simply "[Candidate X]" will meet the identification requirements as set out in the MEA.
  • No additional identification information is required on the sign.

Third party advertiser sign:

  • Specific identification is required on the sign, as described in the MEA, section 88.5 (1).
  • This information includes the name of the registered third party, the municipality where the third party is registered, and a telephone number, mailing address or e-mail address at which the registered third party may be contacted regarding the advertisement.


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