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Municipal election information session readies candidates


Municipal Advisor, Tim Ryall, discusses an eligibility during a candidate information session hosted last Thursday evening.

by Adam Gault

With around six months to go before voters across Ontario head to the polls to cast their ballots in October’s municipal elections, a candidate information session was hosted at the Essex Civic Centre last Thursday to provide information to potential candidates seeking office later this year.

The County of Essex, in conjunction with the local municipalities, hosted the free session, to provided those in attendance with information on eligibility to run for election, changes to campaign rules, financing outlines, as well as a breakdown on the role and duties of a municipal council.

“Probably one of the largest things that candidates are going to have to adjust to is the change in the nomination period,” guest speaker, Municipal Advisor from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Tim Ryall, explained. “Under the previous piece of legislation, the campaign period started the first business day after the new year. [Now,] campaign periods start May first. Former councillors and people who have been involved in the municipal business for a long time have had to adjust to the shortened campaign period.”

This election will also introduce changes to the composition of the Town of Essex’s municipal council, with the introduction of voters electing a Deputy Mayor at large. Previously, the Deputy Mayor was determined by secret ballot of elected councillors and the mayor. The Town’s ward boundaries will remain unchanged, as will the number of councillors elected to each respective ward. The seat of the Deputy Mayor was added to the decision-making table to accommodate the change as this role will no longer be shared by an elected councillor.

Ryall has travelled to different municipalities across the province to host similar talks ahead of the October election date. He explained interest in the shortened campaign period has been of common interest during his information sessions, as well as the new requirement of garnering 25 signatures to endorse campaigns.

Those interested in running as a school board trustee also had an opportunity to learn about the function and responsibilities that the role plays in the education system. Ryall highlighted that general role of a school board trustee is to establish policy direction, participate in the decision-making process that will benefit the school board while representing the interests of the constituents, as well as their accountability to the Ministry of Education, and their communities at large.

The 2018 Municipal Election takes place on Monday, October 22.

The general nomination and campaign period will begin on May 1, with nominations to be filed or withdrawn by July 27.

For full details and candidate registration information, visit essex.ca.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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