Election legislation, by-laws and rules

Municipal elections within the Halifax Regional Municipality are governed by several provincial and municipal acts, legislation and by-laws.

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The following documents are available for download in PDF format:

Name Description Download
Name Description Download
Municipal Elections Act Provincial legislation that governs municipal elections across the Province of Nova Scotia. Download the Municipal Elections Act
Education Act Provincial legislation that governs public education in the Province of Nova Scotia and outlines Conseil scolaire acadien provincial (CSAP) membership. Download the Education Act
Administrative Order 2019-001-GOV Respecting Elections A municipal administrative order that outlines regulations specific to current Members of Council who are candidates in municipal elections. Download Administrative Order 2019-001-GOV
By-law A-400 Respecting Alternative Voting A municipal by-law that speaks to how the municipality conducts advance and alternative voting during municipal elections. Download By-law A-400
By-law C-1100 Respecting Campaign Financing A municipal by-law that outlines rules and regulations related to how municipal candidates collect and spend finances as part of their campaigning. Download By-law C-1100
By-law S-801 Respecting Licensing of Temporary Signs A municipal by-law that outlines rules and regulations related to election signage. Download By-law S-801

Important information for candidates

In addition to the municipality’s candidate information guide, which features an overview of the process related to running for public office within the municipality, candidates should familiarize themselves with all relevant acts, legislation and by-laws related to municipal elections.

Corrupt practices

All individuals participating in any part of the municipal and CSAP election process are expected to comply with the Municipal Elections Act, including (but not limited to):

  • candidates
  • official agents
  • poll agents
  • election staff and poll officials 
  • voters

Sections 149-156 of the Municipal Elections Act outline corrupt practices.

Election signage

The municipality, Bell Aliant, Nova Scotia Power and the Department of Public Works have different rules related to posting election signs.

Halifax Regional Municipality

Election signage rules are outlined in By-law S-801 Respecting Licensing of Temporary Signs. Most importantly, campaign signs must be restricted to private property and can only be placed with the permission of the property owner until:

  • Sept. 1, in the year of a municipal and school board election;
  • for a special election, the day council set the date for the election; or
  • the day the writ is issued for a federal or provincial election.

Signs must not:

  • obstruct the view of any crosswalk, traffic at intersections and driveways, center medians of streets;
  • be installed on utility poles or street trees; or
  • be installed within the street right of way except as listed in By-law S-801.

All signs must be removed within one week following the election.

Should an election sign be found to be posing a safety risk, it will be removed immediately. Should a sign be found to be in violation of the regulations but is not causing an immediate risk, it will be ordered to be removed within 48 hours. For any signs not removed within the prescribed time, the municipality may remove the sign at the cost of the candidate. For any signage-related questions or concerns within the municipality, please contact 311.

Bell Aliant

Bell Aliant does not permit the unauthorized installation of signs, banners or posters on their telephone poles. These attachments, as well as the associated means of fastening the signage to the pole, pose a safety hazard to all utility technicians who climb the poles. 

Nova Scotia Power

Nova Scotia Power does not permit the unauthorized installation of signs, banners or posters on power poles. These attachments, as well as associated protruding nails and staples, pose a safety hazard to power line technicians, as well as employees with other utilities, who work on these poles. 

Department of Public Works

The Department of Public Works has established the following practice regarding election-related signage near provincial roadways:

Controlled access highways
Controlled access highways, such as 100-series highways, have specific regulations. Election signs are not permitted:

  • within 1,000 metres of the centre line of a controlled access highway; or 
  • within 60 metres of the end of ramps or controlled access connectors onto connector/non-controlled access highways.

Non-controlled access highways
Non-controlled access highways describe most highways in the province of Nova Scotia. You should have approval of adjacent property owner before posting any signs along highways. Elections signs on these highways: 

  • should not cause hazard by obstructing sight distance at intersections, parking lots, driveways and to posted traffic control signs;
  • should be behind ditch line or a minimum of three metres behind the curb; and 
  • cannot be attached to Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal signs, guardrails, or guide posts.

For any election signs that violate these provincial guidelines, the Department of Public Works will automatically remove signs under 1.2 x 1.2 meters. For any signs larger than this, the Department will contact the Election Office and allow 24 hours for the candidate’s office to remove the sign (after which time the department will remove it). All removed signs will be taken down with as little damage as possible and stored until the candidate’s office picks them up. 

Questions about election rules? 

Contact the Election Office with any questions related to municipal elections within the Halifax Regional Municipality: