Candidate Guide

So you want to run for St. John’s City Council. Congratulations! We here at Happy City St. John’s welcome more engagement with municipal politics and to aid you in your quest have put together some must-know information. This guide will cover the basics of running a municipal election campaign, with a focus on the legislative requirements that will keep you eligible! Knowing rules and deadlines is important if you want to focus on policy, not fine print.

Click below to learn more about:

  1. Eligibility
  2. Contributions and Expenses
  3. Nomination
  4. Signage
  5. Campaign Teams
  6. Important Dates
  7. Contact Information

Something missing? Let us know!

Note: While we strive for accuracy and comprehensibility, Happy City St. John’s is not affiliated with the City of St. John’s and takes no responsibility for the accuracy of this information. Relevant legislation and City material is linked for your verification. We also recommend getting in touch with the election coordinator directly. Good luck!


Relevant legislation: Municipal Elections Act

An early step in your campaign should be to determine whether you are eligible to run for municipal office. There are not many requirements, but they are boxes that must be ticked. Reasonable or not, they are mandated at the provincial level and it would take some extra campaigning to change them.

To be eligible for nomination as a candidate in St. John’s, an individual must:

  • be eligible to vote in an election in St. John’s;
    • be a Canadian citizen;
    • be at least 18 years old;
  • be up-to-date on all their municipal taxes and fees; and
  • be resident in St. John’s for at least 30 days prior to the start of the nomination period.

A person is ineligible for nomination if:

  • they are an employee of the City or city council;
  • they are the head of a municipally established and funded agency;
  • they have been dismissed as councilor in the past 2 years; or
  • they are a sitting MHA, MP, Senator, or judge.

Still with us? Great! Now that you are eligible for nomination, how exactly does it happen?


Relevant legislation: Municipal Elections Act

Nomination is the formal process for getting on the ballot. Candidates must be nominated by people eligible to vote in their ward (in the case of ward councilors) or the greater City of St. John’s (in the case of at-large, deputy mayoral, and mayoral seats) and a form will be available during the nomination period, August 22-29, for this purpose. A complete nomination is comprised of:

  1. A nomination form including the candidate’s name and address, the signatures of a proposer and seconder, and the signature of the candidate accepting the nomination.
  2. A declaration of qualification form with which the candidate declares their eligibility.
  3. A non-refundable deposit of $50.

Contributions and Expenses

Relevant legislation: St. John’s Election Finance By-Law

Candidates must track all donations to their campaign. All individual donations above $250 must also be identified on your campaign contribution and expense form. Individual contributions are capped at $1,000 and business or organizational contributions at $2,000.

Candidates have specific spending limits based on the race in which they are running. Candidates running for mayor, deputy mayor, or at-large seats may spend up to $10,000 + $1/eligible voter, or approximately $80,000. Candidates running for ward seats may spend up to $10,000 + $1/eligible voter in that ward, or approximately $22,000-24,000.

Campaign contribution and expense forms must be submitted within 90 days of the election.


Relevant legislation: St. John’s Sign By-Law, St. John’s Heritage Area Sign By-Law, St. John’s Mobile Sign By-Law

Signs may be posted no more than 60 days prior to the election (ie. after July 28th, 2017). Signs must be removed by the candidate within 3 days of election day. Signs should not be posted too close to roads or intersections or they may be removed.

Important Dates

These are the key dates for the 2017 municipal election. See our calendar for a timeline of these and other election-related dates!

City of St. John’s 2017 Municipal Election – Key Dates
Residency required to qualify as candidate Sunday, July 23, 2017
Residency required to qualify as a voter Sunday, August 27, 2017
First day for nominations Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Last day for nominations Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Last day to withdraw nomination Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Mailing Day for Vote by Mail Kits Friday, September 8, 2017
Last day to mail return envelope Friday, September 22, 2017
Election period Friday, September 8 to Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Election day Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Last day to apply for a recount Friday, September 29, 2017
Swearing-in ceremony Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Last day to file campaign contribution and expense declaration form Monday, December 25, 2017

Contact Information

Candidates should direct their questions to Karen Chafe, Elections Coordinator for the City of St. John’s.

Karen Chafe
Elections Coordinator
City of St. John’s
P.O. Box 908
St. John’s NL A1C 5M2
Tel: (709) 576-8619
Fax: (709) 576-8474