Media Rules During an Election
Media must follow certain rules while reporting on provincial elections in Ontario and while distributing political advertising.
For more information, please contact the media relations team.
Rules for reporting during an election
You may not publish, broadcast or transmit election survey results on election day if those results have not previously been made available to the public. This rule also applies to websites, email and social media.
Cameras are not allowed in voting locations to ensure the secrecy of the vote.
Electronic communications devices, including cell phones, are not allowed inside voting locations without prior permission from the returning officer, or unless being used to show proof of identification or as an accessibility device.
Media can film inside a voting location while a candidate is voting. Candidates must make arrangements for the media event in advance, with the returning officer. Please note, no one else may vote while media is present.
Media are also allowed at returning offices and satellite offices after polls close on election day. Please contact the returning officer to make arrangements.
Media can request the following information from returning officers after the close of polls:
- Numbers of polling locations reporting;
- Number of votes cast for each candidate; and
- Cumulative totals.
Media may not post information to social media while in the voting location.
Please remember that results reported on election night are unofficial. Find more information about election results.
Rules for distributing advertising during an election
No broadcaster or publisher may charge more for political advertising at election time than it would normally charge anyone else for an equivalent amount of space or time during the same period.
A broadcaster or publisher charging less for space or time than it would normally charge anyone else for an equivalent amount of space or time over the same period must have the difference between the normal rates and what they charge considered a contribution. In this case, the contribution rules regarding eligible contributors and the contribution limits apply.
A broadcaster may provide time without charge to registered political parties and candidates in accordance with the policies of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and the provisions of the Broadcasting Act (Canada). The provision of such free time to political parties or candidates is not considered a contribution or an election expense for the purposes of the Election Finances Act.
Media, publishers and broadcasters should not publish, broadcast or transmit political advertising during the blackout period. The blackout period is the day before election day and election day.
The blackout period does not apply to genuine news reporting.