Effective Date: April 30, 2018

1. Purpose

This policy allows Toronto Public Library to balance the need for freedom of expression and assembly of candidates and its legal responsibility to ensure that no candidate, registered third-party advertiser or political party is provided with an unfair advantage.

This policy sets out provisions for the use of Library facilities, resources and infrastructure during an election period by Board Members and candidates. This is in order to preserve the public trust, to maintain the neutrality of the Toronto Public Library during election campaigns, and to ensure that the Toronto Public Library complies with the Municipal Elections Act, 1996. ("Act").

2. Legislative Authority

The Municipal Elections Act, 1996 requires local boards to establish rules and procedures for the use of resources during the election period (section 88.18). It also prohibits local boards from making a contribution (including money, goods and services) to any candidate, registered third-party advertiser or political party during an election (sections 88.8(4) and 88.12(4)).

The Election Finances Act, 1990 and the Canada Elections Act, S.C. 2000 impose contribution restrictions for provincial and federal election campaigns, respectively.

3. Underlying Principles

The Library’s mission is to “preserve and promote universal access to a broad range of human knowledge, experience, information and ideas in a welcoming and supportive environment.” The Library also values intellectual freedom – “Guaranteeing and facilitating the free exchange of information and ideas in a democratic society, protecting intellectual freedom and respecting individuals' rights to privacy and choice.” In keeping with this, the Library seeks to engage and encourage discussion in civic and social issues in a manner that is fair and equitable to all those seeking elected office.

4. Application

This policy applies to Toronto Public Library Board members and candidates, including City Councillors, registered third-party advertisers and political parties during an election period. This policy also applies to employees of the Toronto Public Library and their dealings with candidates, including City Councillors, during an election period.

This policy applies to municipal (including school board), provincial and federal elections or by-elections, and to questions on the ballot. References in the policy with respect to political parties refer to provincial and federal elections or by-elections and do not apply to the City of Toronto's municipal elections or by-elections.

This policy recognizes that Members of Council are holders of their office until the end of the term and supports them in continuing to fulfill their responsibilities as Members of Council, despite their candidacy in an election. This policy also recognizes that the Toronto Public Library Board continues to meet and conduct business during an election period. Nothing in this policy shall prohibit members of the Toronto Public Library Board from performing their duties or precludes a Member of Council from performing their duty as an elected official, nor inhibits them from representing the interests of their constituents.

5. Policy Statement

Toronto Public Library supports the principle of intellectual freedom, which is the free exchange of information and ideas in a democratic society. The Library seeks to engage and encourage discussion on civic and social issues in a manner that is neutral, fair, and equitable to all those seeking elected office. Toronto Public Library does not make contributions (including money, goods and services) or use Library resources to promote any candidate, registered third-party advertiser, political party, or supporters of a question on a ballot during an election.

6. Board Members

6.1 Citizen Board Members of the Toronto Public Library Board must inform the City Librarian immediately if they register to run for office in an election. Citizen Board Members should also contact the City Clerk’s Office immediately and abide by City policies which affect Citizen Board Members running for office.

6.2 Councillor Board Members must inform the City Librarian if they are running to become an MP or MPP.

6.3 Library Board Members may engage in political activity, including endorsing or opposing a candidate, political party, or a particular response to a referendum question, but not in a manner that would lead a member of the public to infer that they are acting in their capacity as a Library Board Member or on behalf of the Toronto Public Library.

7. Access to Library Facilities during an Election Period

7.1 Library facilities and Library infrastructure may not be used for any election-related purpose by a candidate, registered third-party advertiser or political party. In particular, signs may not be erected or displayed on a facility that is owned or operated by the Library.

7.2 Candidates, registered third-party advertisers or political parties in an election cannot use the facilities, equipment, supplies, programs and services (including online services, social media, and email), staff, or other resources of the Library for any election campaign or campaign-related activities (except for facilities rented in accordance with the Community and Event Space Rental Policy).

7.3 All-candidate meetings may be held at Library facilities for a nominal fee or other consideration provided that all candidates for an office are invited to attend such meetings.

7.4 Candidates, registered third-party advertisers or political parties may not distribute campaign materials on or in library facilities or at library events, but are permitted to distribute campaign materials on public right of way sidewalks and thoroughfares, and during all candidate meetings.

7.5 Candidates, registered third-party advertisers or political parties cannot undertake campaign-related activities on Library property (except for facilities rented in accordance with the Community and Event Space Rental Policy). Consistent with the Displaying and Distributing Information for the Public Policy, the Library will not permit the display and distribution of materials primarily political in nature (including election campaign materials) on library property.

7.6 Informal media scrums may be permitted in the public or common areas of library facilities. Informal media scrums may not include: apparatus, mechanisms or devices for the amplification of the human voice or any sounds. The activity may not disrupt regular library business. If the media scrum is disrupting library services, library staff may ask the participants to find an alternative location.

8. Access to Library Resources during an Election Period

8.1 The Library’s logo, crest, slogans, or other intellectual property may not be printed, posted or distributed on any election-related campaign materials or included on any election-related website.

8.2 Candidates may not post photographs of themselves with Library employees in uniform, including badges.

8.3 Photographic or video materials that have been or may be created by library employees or with library resources may not be used for any election purpose or in campaign materials.

8.4 Websites or domain names that are funded by the Library may not include any campaign materials, make reference to and identify any individual as a candidate, registered third-party advertiser or political party or profile any slogan or symbol associated with a candidate, registered third-party advertiser or political party.

9. Access to Library Information during an Election Period

9.1 Information provided to one candidate, registered third-party advertiser or political party that is of a general nature and may provide valuable guidance to all others will be provided to all candidates, registered third-party advertisers or political parties. The Library will post the information on the internet or through other mechanisms to ensure equal access to information.

9.2 Requests by a candidate, registered third-party advertiser or political party for personal meetings with the City Librarian or TPL Directors, as well as requests for tours of library facilities may not always be accommodated due to resource and time constraints. If a meeting or a tour is organized, the Library will organize a similar meeting or tour for any other candidate, registered third-party advertiser or political party, upon request.

9.3 Library databases may not be used by any candidate, registered third-party advertiser or political party, unless the database has already been released for public use.

10. Attending Library Events during an Election Period

10.1 Candidates, registered third-party advertisers or political parties are permitted to attend library events, or events held at library facilities, in either their capacity as elected representatives or as private citizens, but may not campaign while in attendance. No election signs may be posted and no campaign materials may be disseminated at Library events.

10.2 Elected officials are permitted to attend library-organized events or events held on library facilities and act as ceremonial participants in their capacity as elected officials, including speaking at the event and partaking in ceremonial activities. In provincial or federal elections, once the writ is issued, MPPs and MPs, with the exception of Ministers of the Crown, are no longer elected officials and therefore should not be invited to attend library events.

11. Restrictions to Services Provided to Members of Council beginning August 1 of an Election Year

11.1 Members of Council may also be candidates in a municipal election. Accordingly, after August 1 in the municipal election year, the Library will discontinue the following activities, irrespective of whether they are seeking election in the new term or not:

11.1.1 All forms of advertising and communication, including publications and social media accounts, that are operated or distributed by the Library will not reference the name or image of a Member of Council.

11.1.2 Signage for library events, including banners and posters, will not reference the name of a Member of Council.

11.1.3 The Library’s media releases or materials will not reference the name of a Member of Council. Where the Library would typically name a specific Member of Council or the Mayor in its communications or media materials, it will make reference to the generic term "Councillor Ward XX" or "Mayor of Toronto" without naming the specific Member of Council. This practice will be used for all library programs, events, and announcements.

12. Promoting Elections

12.1Nothing in this policy prohibits the Toronto Public Library from promoting awareness of or providing information on elections as long as no particular candidate, registered third-party advertiser or political party is promoted, supported or opposed at the event. This includes promoting awareness of activities or events in which all candidates in an election are invited to attend.

Accountability

The City Librarian and Directors are responsible for the implementation of this policy.

Definitions

"Campaigning" – means any activity by or on behalf of a candidate, registered third-party advertiser, political party or question on a ballot meant to elicit support during the election period. Campaigning does not include the appearance of elected officials, other candidates or registered third-party advertisers at an event in their personal capacity without the display of any signage or graphic that identifies the individual as a candidate or registered third-party advertiser(s) and without the solicitation of votes.

"Campaign Materials" – means any materials used to solicit votes for a candidate or question on the ballot in an election period, including, but not limited to: literature, banners, posters, pictures, buttons, clothing, or other paraphernalia. Campaign materials include, but are not limited to: materials in all media, such as print, displays, electronic, radio or television and online sources, including websites or social media.

"Candidate" – means any person who has filed and not withdrawn a nomination for an elected office at the municipal (including school board), provincial or federal level in an election or by-election.

"Contribution" – as defined in the Act:

"Elected Official" – means an individual elected to the House of Commons, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Toronto City Council or a school board.

"Election" – means an election or by-election at the municipal (including school board), provincial and federal level of government, or the submission of a question or by-law to the electors.

"Election Period" – means the official campaign period of an election:

"Library Information" – means any information in the custody and control of the Library, including databases that may be the repository of names, contact information, business records, financial information or other identifiers compiled and used by library employees to conduct Library business. An example of a library database is the Library patron database.

"Library Infrastructure" – means any physical or technology systems that support the operation of library programs and services, including but not limited to: fleet vehicles, computer network, telecommunications and email system, wireless equipment, computer hardware, software and peripherals, internet and intranet. Excludes public right-of-way including sidewalks, roads, laneways and boulevards.

"Library Resources" – includes but is not limited to library employees, library events, library programs and services (including online services such as online and social media channels), library facilities, library equipment and supplies, library funds, library information and library infrastructure. These are further defined as follows:

"Media Event" – means an event such as a press conference or photo opportunity to which the media is invited and the purpose of which is to promote, support or oppose a candidate, registered third-party advertiser, a political party or a position on a question on a ballot. Features of a Media Event can include, but are not limited to: the issuing of a media advisory stating date, time and location of briefing/press conference, use of backdrops, podiums or public address systems, the distribution of media releases, media kits, display of signage or other materials to promote, support or oppose a candidate, registered third-party advertiser or a position on a question on a ballot.

"Media Scrum" – means an unplanned encounter between a candidate, a registered third-party advertiser, their staff or with media.

"Member of Council" – means the Mayor and Members of Council, except where the Mayor acts as the Chief Executive Officer of the City.

"Political Party" – means political parties for provincial and federal elections that are registered under the Ontario Election Finances Act or in the registry of parties referred to in section 374 of the Canada Elections Act. Under the current legislative framework, political parties cannot participate in the City's municipal elections or by-elections.

"Question on a Ballot" – means any question or by-law submitted to the electors by Council, a school board, an elected local board, or the Minister of Municipal Affairs under the Act.

"Registered third-party advertiser" – means in relation to a municipal election, an individual, corporation or trade union that is registered with the City Clerk, as per section 88.6 of the Act, whose purpose is to promote, support or oppose a candidate for office, or an issue on a question on a ballot, and is not under the direction of a candidate.

"Third-Party Advertisement" – means an advertisement in any broadcast, print, electronic or other medium that has the purpose of promoting, supporting or opposing a candidate for office, or an issue on a question on a ballot, and is not under the direction of a candidate.

"Voting Day" – means the day the final vote is to be taken in an election.

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