An upcoming city information session will tell you all you need to know about running for an elected position in St. Albert.
Prospective candidates can run this fall to be the city's next mayor, city councillor or school trustee. While the election itself isn't until Oct. 18, people interested in a seat at city council or the school board can file their nomination papers any time between now until 12 p.m. on Sept. 20.
The City of St. Albert is offering a virtual candidate information session through Zoom on March 3 from 12 to 1 p.m. Send an email to [email protected] by 12 p.m. on March 2 to register. The session will also be livestreamed on the city's YouTube channel.
A city spokesperson said they have yet to receive any nomination papers as of Feb. 22. So far, 12 people are registered for the info session.
The city's 2021 Candidate Handbook includes information on positions available, changes to this election cycle, the nomination process, voting information, campaign signage rules and financial disclosure. Visit stalbert.ca/election and click on “Information for Candidates” to download the guide.
For school trustees, visit the Greater St. Albert Catholic School's Information for Candidates webpage, or download the elections fact sheet for a trustee position with St. Albert Public.
It's important to be familiar with provincial legislation as well, so make sure to review the Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA) and the Municipal Government Act (MGA) when considering filing nomination papers.
If you aren't sure where to start, don't worry. We've summarized a few key important points to keep in mind.
What positions are available?
In St. Albert, there are seven positions available at the city council table, including the mayor and six city councillor seats. Candidates who can secure the most votes win. Four Catholic school board and five Public school board trustee positions will also be filled.
Check out the the city's 2021 candidate handbook for more information on the mayoral and council positions, including salaries, expectations, time commitments and responsibilities.
Who can run?
You have to check off these boxes. Are you over the age of 18? Have you lived in St. Albert for at least six months as of this March? Are you a Canadian citizen who's eligible to vote? Congratulations, you can run for municipal office.
Individuals who aren't eligible include: an auditor of the municipality, a judge, a municipal or school board employee who hasn't taken an unpaid leave of absence, someone who owes more than $50 in taxes or is in default for any other debt to the city in excess of $500 for more than 90 days, an MP, senator or MLA.
Election Act changes
There have been a few changes since the last election in 2017 to the Local Authorities Election Act that candidates should be aware of.
- Candidates have to issue a receipt for every contribution they received, and must submit with their disclosure statement a list of contributor names and addresses for people who contributed $50 or more. As well, candidates need to make sure they submit campaign disclosure statements by March 1, 2022.
- Before, candidates could accept contributions from corporations. Now, contributors must be individuals who live in Alberta.
- Candidates must now open a campaign bank once they have accepted more than $1,000 of campaign contributions, including contributions from the candidate's own funds.
- Third-party advertisers are now required to register with the city once they have spent or plan to spend at least $1,000, accepted contributions or plan to accept contributions of at least $1,000.
Where do I file nomination papers?
The returning officer, who is city legal and legislative director David Leflar, will receive each candidate’s nomination form. Nomination papers may be submitted by using the secure drop box beside the front entry doors of St. Albert Place, or by mail/courier to the City of St. Albert.
Nominations will not be accepted after 12 p.m. on Sept. 20. The form must be signed by the candidate and witnessed by a Commissioner for Oaths in Alberta. You've also got to have at least five signatures from people to nominate you. Fax transmissions and emails of scanned documents will not be accepted.
Nomination forms for mayor and council are available on the city’s website. If you get cold feet, a candidate may withdraw their nomination if they file it in writing to the returning officer by noon on Sept. 21.
Local school boards will be taking their own nomination this year. If you want to apply to be a Catholic school board trustee, call 780-459-7711 to organize an appointment to pick up a package at 6 St. Vital Ave., or download it from their website. Completed nomination forms will be accepted by appointment only during operational days.
Those considering becoming a Public school board trustee can download the forms from their website, or call 780-460-3712 for an appointment to review the package over the phone. Call 780-418-6663 for an appointment to submit your nomination papers.