Local government elections in British Columbia are held
every three years. This includes elections for mayors, councillors, regional
district electoral area directors, and trustees for the
While provincial elections are administered by
local government elections are managed by chief election officers that are appointed
independently by each local government.
In most provinces, the eligibility for voting in local government
elections is limited to residents only. In British Columbia,
residents can vote as well as persons that own property in a local
government, even if they do not reside there. Further information
about eligibility can be found in the
Guide to Local Elections in British Columbia
Elections are the most visible way for the public to directly
influence their local government. During the election process, the
candidates generally outline their platforms and objectives if they
are elected. By choosing the candidates with the ideals and
qualities that are most acceptable to the electors, they can
directly influence the type of community where they reside or own property. See
Guide to Supporting a Candidate for Local Elections in B.C.
(736 KB) for additional information about supporting candidates.
The majority of ballots cast by the electors decides who will be the
successful candidate. For municipalities, the voters choose from a
list of candidates to fill the councillor positions. The electors
vote from a separate list of candidates to fill the position of
mayor. In regional districts, a candidate is elected from each of
its electoral areas to the regional board. However, the chair is
elected by and from the directors on the regional 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
There are very strict rules regarding the conduct of local
government elections to ensure that they are fair, open and honest.
These procedures are established in
of the Local Government Act.
Candidates seeking office in local government elections must complete a
Statement of Disclosure (193 KB)
which is required under the Financial Disclosure Act. For more information, a
Fact Sheet (40 KB)
is available. Following the election, candidates must ensure that full disclosures are made
about the individuals or organizations that finance their election
campaign. Failure to file campaign financing disclosure statements within the time
allotted may result in disqualification from holding office or being a candidate until
after the next local government election. The Inspector of
Municipalities maintains a List of Disqualified Candidates.
Further information for candidates can be found in the
Candidate's Guide to Local Elections in B.C.
For those considering engaging in campaign activities in relation to a local government election, the Campaign Organizer and Elector Organization Guide to Local Elections in B.C. (1.05 MB) provides an overview of the election process in British Columbia and a summary of the steps needed to run a campaign in a local election supporting or opposing a candidate or an elector organization. This includes campaigns related to elections for a municipal council, a regional district board, a local community commission or a local trust committee of the Islands Trust Council. Candidates, campaign organizers and elector organizations are subject to specific rules regarding the disclosure of campaign financing details. Further information about completing a campaign financing disclosure statement can be found in the Campaign Financing Standard Forms Booklet (1.2 MB) for Local elections in B.C.
For a complete list of available election resources
The Local Government Department is involved with local government elections in three main ways:
For a complete list of available election resources visit http://www.cscd.gov.bc.ca/lgd/elections_home.htm
Please contact Advisory Services Branch
if you have questions or comments.