Local Government Elections
Local government elections in British Columbia are held every four
years. This includes elections for mayors, councillors, regional
district electoral area directors, school trustees, trustees for the
Islands Trust, local community commisioners and park board comissioners.
The Local Elections Campaign Financing Act – enacted in 2014 – was created to enhance campaign financing rules and ensure greater accountability and transparency in local elections. The Local Elections Campaign Financing Act separates the rules that regulate election advertising and campaign financing disclosure from the more procedural rules that apply generally to local elections administration.
Under the current rules, local government elections are held on the third Saturday in November. However, that date will change to the third Saturday in October following the 2014 general local elections. Board of education trustees elections will also be held on the same four-year cycle.
Municipal councils and regional district boards appoint a local Chief Election Officer to ensure the process is run in accordance with the Local Government Act, the Vancouver Charter, the Community Charter, the School Act, the Offence Act and the local government election bylaw as applicable.
Elections BC is responsible for managing campaign financing disclosure
Participation in Elections
Elections are the most direct way for the public to directly influence their local government. During the election process, candidates generally outline their platforms and objectives if they were to be elected. By choosing the candidates with the ideals and qualities that are most acceptable to the electors, citizens can directly influence the type of community where they reside or own property. See the Guide to Supporting a Candidate for Local Government Elections in B.C. (PDF, 828 KB) for additional information about how to support candidates in local government elections. The Candidate's Guide to Local Government Elections in B.C. (PDF, 842 KB) provides detailed information for those considering running for elected office in B.C.
In most provinces, the eligibility for voting in local government elections is limited to residents only. In British Columbia, residents can vote, as can persons that own property in a local government jurisdiction, even if they do not reside there. Further information about voter eligibility can be found in the Voter's Guide to Local Government Elections in B.C. (available in multiple languages).
The majority of ballots cast by eligible electors determines the successful candidate for a given office. For municipalities, eligible electors choose from a list of candidates to fill the councillor positions. The electors also choose from a separate list of candidates to fill the position of mayor. In regional districts, a candidate is elected from each electoral area to the regional board. Together the electoral area directors and appointed municipal directors from the municipalities within the regional district then form the board.
In instances where there are only as many candidates as there are positions available in the local government, no election is necessary as the candidates are automatically declared elected by acclamation.
Rules and Requirements
There are prescribed rules regarding the conduct of local government elections to ensure that they are open and transparent. These procedures are established in Part 3 of the Local Government Act, the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act, the Vancouver Charter, the Community Charter, the School Act, and the Offence Act. The Local Government Act and Local Elections Campaign Financing Act also set out provisions related to election offences and penalties for non-compliance (e.g. being added to a disqualification list).
For a complete list of available election resources visit
For legislative questions about municipal, regional district or trust area elections please contact the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development:
For questions about election advertising, third party sponsors and campaign financing rules please contact Elections BC:
For questions about board of education elections please contact the Ministry of Education: