General local election offences fall into one of two categories:
General local election offences include such activities as vote-buying, intimidation, providing or distributing false information, or contravening voting provisions.
Other election offences include:
Election offences are generally dealt with by the Supreme Court of B.C. Typically, these types of offences are prosecuted if Crown counsel chooses to proceed with laying charges after the police have undertaken an investigation and made a recommendation to Crown counsel.
Vote-buying, accepting an inducement to vote or intimidating an elector to vote for a particular candidate may result in penalties including fines of up to $10,000, imprisonment for up to two years and/or disqualification from holding elected office in a local government for up to seven years.
Individuals and/or elector organization representatives (for example, the financial agent) may be subject to penalties that include fines of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year if they are convicted of an election offence under section 163 of the Local Government Act, including:
The Chief Election Officer has the authority to enforce general local election rules, such as the challenge of a candidate’s nomination or elector eligibility and to maintain order at voting places. Election officials also have the authority to challenge an elector’s ability to vote on the basis that they are not entitled to vote or that they accepted an inducement to vote.
You will be required to provide evidence to support your allegation if you believe that an election offence has been committed. The Local Government Act and Vancouver Charter (in the City of Vancouver) provide that a person is not guilty of an election offence if they exercised due diligence to prevent the commission of the offence.
Contact your local police if you believe someone has committed an election offence. The police are responsible for conducting an investigation and recommending to Crown counsel whether charges could be laid. Crown counsel makes the determination as to whether to proceed with a prosecution. Election offences are prosecuted through the courts.
Campaign financing offences refer to contraventions of the rules under the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act. These types of offences may be committed by candidates, financial agents, elector organizations and third party sponsors.
Campaign financing offences are managed through Elections BC, a non-partisan and independent Office of the Legislature that administers, investigates and enforces the campaign financing disclosure requirements including expense limits, campaign contribution limits and election advertising rules under the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act.
Campaign financing penalties are typically determined by the Supreme Court of B.C. Automatic penalties, including disqualification of a candidate from office and administrative monetary penalties, can be imposed without Supreme Court involvement and at the discretion of Elections BC.
A candidate who failed to file a campaign financing disclosure statement or supplementary report with Elections BC by the filing deadline, and did not receive court relief from the requirement to do so, is automatically disqualified from being nominated for, elected to or holding office anywhere in B.C. until after the next general local elections.
Individuals, elector organizations and third party sponsors may be subject to penalties that include the following, depending on the nature of the offence, for:
Notify Elections BC if you believe someone has committed a campaign financing election offence. Elections BC is responsible for administering and enforcing local election advertising and campaign financing rules.