To provide direction to Idea Exchange Board members, staff and volunteers on the administration of organizational resources with respect to election-related matters.
The right to vote is one of the greatest rights of a free society and is vital to democracy. Thus, Idea Exchange will provide library resources within our capacity and legal limitations to support the democratic process. Idea Exchange will encourage and support discussion on civic and social issues in a manner that is non-partisan, fair and equitable to all those seeking elected office to increase voter awareness. Idea Exchange will maintain a neutral environment and will not make any contribution (including money, goods and services) or use library resources to promote a political party, platform, candidate or support a question on a ballot. Public funds are not to be used for any election-related purposes, including the promotion of or opposition to the candidacy of a person for elected office.
Policy Scope and Purpose
The organization must act and appear to act in a non-partisan way at all times, but especially during elections, while supporting the democratic process, freedom of expression and informed discussion on political issues. This policy applies to municipal, provincial, and federal elections.
Nothing in this policy prohibits:
- Board Members from performing their duties;
- City Councillors from performing their duties, including representing the interests of their constituents in a manner consistent with their duties as Elected Officials; and/or,
- The Library from advocating on issues that affect the Library specifically and/or the public library sector in general.
The organization must comply with legislation related to elections. These regulations are included in the Municipal Elections Act, 1996. Specifically, Clause 88.18 Use of municipal, board resources states:
Before May 1 in the year of a regular election, municipalities and local boards shall establish rules and procedures with respect to the use of municipal or board resources, as the case may be, during the election campaign period.
This policy applies to Board members, employees and volunteers of Idea Exchange in their dealings with candidates and political parties and the use of library and gallery resources during the campaign periods for municipal elections, but these rules and procedures will also be used for provincial and federal elections.
The library will comply with legislation on campaign contributions at all levels.
- Municipal Elections
The Board may not contribute to the campaign of any candidate or political party in the form of money, goods or services. This is in accordance with the Municipal Elections Act, Section 88.8.
- Provincial Elections
The Board may not contribute to the campaign of any candidate of a provincial election, constituency association, nomination contestant, candidates, and leadership contestant of provincial political parties in the form of money, goods or services in accordance with the Ontario Elections Finances Act, Section 16(1).
- Federal Elections
The Board may not contribute to the campaign of any candidate of a federal election, a registered party, a registered association, nomination contestant, and leadership contestant of federal political parties in the form of money, goods or services in accordance with the Canada Elections Act, Section 363(1).
Use of Idea Exchange Resources and Property
- All candidates and political parties have equal access to publicly available resources and services of the library and gallery. No candidate, registered third-party advertiser or political party will be provided an unfair advantage in the use of library resources at any time.
- Candidates cannot use equipment, supplies, staff or other operational resources of the library and gallery, nor may they use the Idea Exchange logo in any campaign material.
- All-candidates meetings can be held at Idea Exchange, either as a program or sponsored by another group, provided that all candidates are invited to attend such meetings. A candidate cannot be featured or promoted in association with any other regular Idea Exchange program or event. Idea Exchange will not rent meeting rooms, study rooms or other spaces to a candidate, political party, registrant or supporter of a question on a ballot. Partisan political events are not allowed.
- Election candidates or their representatives are not allowed to campaign in Idea Exchange facilities as a public place as it is deemed to be incompatible with the function and purpose of the place.
- A candidate, political party, registrant or supporter of a question on a ballot during an election is permitted to distribute campaign materials on public right-of-way sidewalks and thoroughfares at public libraries only as permitted by City of Cambridge policies and by-laws. They cannot distribute such materials on Idea Exchange property or in Idea Exchange facilities or through the organization’s outreach services.
- No election sign or poster specific to a candidate or political party can be posted on the grounds of Idea Exchange or in the Idea Exchange buildings. Signs or posters providing information about upcoming election dates, availability of polling stations, or general information about the election process are permitted.
Employee and Volunteer Participation in Election Campaigns
- Any Idea Exchange employee running as a candidate in the municipal election will comply with the entirety of Section 30 of the Municipal Elections Act which reads in part:
“30 (1) An employee of a municipality or local board is eligible to be a candidate for and to be elected as a member of the council or local board that is the employer if he or she takes an unpaid leave of absence beginning as of the day the employee is nominated and ending on voting day. 1996, c. 32, Sched., s. 30 (1); 2002, c. 17, Sched. D, s. 9 (1).”
- Any Idea Exchange employee or volunteer must be politically neutral in carrying out their duties during working hours and must not participate in campaign or election activities, including wearing articles of clothing or displaying items in a workplace that support an individual candidate, question on a ballot, platform or political party, or voting advocacy during his or her working hours.
Board Members as Candidates
Board members may continue their board responsibilities when they are running for office.
Requests for information about Idea Exchange
- The CEO will coordinate requests for information about the library and gallery received from candidates or political parties.
- Information that is provided by Idea Exchange to one candidate or political party will be provided to all other candidates and political parties upon request during an election.
- Any candidate or political party may request a meeting with the CEO or a tour of Idea Exchange.
Adopted: April 25, 2018, Board Motion: 18.37
Amended: April 27, 2022, Board Motion: 22.24