Region of Waterloo asks Ontario government to hide political donors’ addresses

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| Published , updated December 21, 2023

Raised by Councillor Jim Erb Notice of Motion seconded by Councillor James, Council of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo at their regular meeting held on April 19, 2023, approved a motion to request the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to protect the privacy of election candidates and their political donors by removing the requirement for their street name, number and postal code to be listed on publicly available forms.

Motion

WHEREAS the Municipal Elections Act requires all individuals wishing to be a candidate in a municipal or school board election to file Nomination Paper – Form 1 with the municipal clerk;

AND WHEREAS the Municipal Elections Act requires all candidates who sought election to a municipal council or school board to file Financial Statement – Auditor’s Report Candidate – Form 4 with the municipal clerk;

AND WHEREAS Form 1 requires candidates to provide their qualifying address;

AND WHEREAS Form 4 requires candidates to list the name and home address of any donor contributing over $100.00

AND WHEREAS the Municipal Elections Act specifies that these documents are not protected by the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and requires the municipal clerk to make Form 4 available on a website;

AND WHEREAS there has been concern expressed about those who hold public office and those who support them that they have been the subject of unnecessary attention and excessive scrutiny;

AND WHEREAS the requirement to publish the personal home address of donors to specific candidates may discourage individuals from engaging in the democratic process to elect municipal and school board politicians.

THEREFORE, BE RESOVLED THAT the Regional Municipality of Waterloo calls on the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing for the Province of Ontario to protect the privacy of candidates and donors by removing the requirement for their street name, number and postal code to be listed on publicly available forms.

AND FURTHER THAT for verification purposes, the addresses of all candidates and all donors over $100 be submitted to the municipal clerk on separate forms that are protected by the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and will not be published.

AND FINALLY, that this resolution be forwarded to the Area Members of Provincial Parliament, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario, the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association, and all Ontario municipalities.

Waterloo Region Record columnist Luisa D’Amato writes:

Anyone can look this up on the city’s website. The names and addresses of all the donors are right there. The address helps you know that you have the right person, and not someone else with the same name.

This information is important, because knowing who offers support to a politician can help explain — and in some cases predict — the voting behaviour and point of view of that politician.

The public has a right to know where elected officials and their supporters live

The request of support of the letter was not accepted by City of Belleville council.

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