Dear CUPE Ontario Locals, Bargaining and District Councils,
As we’re sure you’re aware, Ontario’s Conservative government amended the Election Finances Act (EFA) in March of this year to extend limits on third party advertising for an entire year before an election. After the amendments were ruled unconstitutional by a Superior Court judge, Doug Ford and his MPPs used the Constitution’s “notwithstanding clause” for the first time in our province’s history to push it through.
CUPE Ontario remains opposed to these changes, and the fight to restore decent election laws that respect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that reverse the silencing of public debate continues. In the meantime, however, the EFA as amended is the law.
And as you are no doubt aware, the Ontario provincial elections are scheduled to occur on June 2, 2022.
We need a new government in Ontario, and CUPE will be active in campaigning for the kind of progressive government we deserve—one that strengthens public services and respects the workers who provide them.
While June 2022 may seem far off, the EFA governs political activities by third parties (including unions) beginning now and continuing until the elections next June.
All of us have a responsibility to speak up in the public sphere on behalf of our members, including during election periods. CUPE Locals, district councils, and bargaining councils are encouraged to participate in political campaigns that advance our union’s priorities and values!
For those looking to participate with the help of advertising, please find a Q&A linked here that lays out the guidelines for doing this important political work within the legal parameters set out by the EFA.
If you have further questions or want to talk through your ideas for political advertising and campaigning, please contact our Government Relations Representative Ryan Culpepper ([email protected]) or our Campaigns Coordinator Dan Mackenzie (dmackenzi[email protected]).
The purpose of this Memo is to outline the rules and requirements related to third party advertising so that your Local is able to engage in political organizing between now and June 2, 2022. You are encouraged to advocate for members on political issues that affect them. In fact, given what we have experienced as public sector workers over the last year and a half, it is our DUTY to engage our members in politics. As set out above, there are many ways to do this freely and creatively without interacting with the EFA at all!
If you do choose to spend on political campaigning and advertising, CUPE is here to help you navigate the legal requirements of doing so. Do not hesitate to reach out if you have further questions or want to talk through some of your ideas.
President, CUPE Ontario