2014 Winnipeg Civic Election

A Citizen Created Election Resource

Municipal Election Basics

Electoral Participation

Municipal Official Basics

School Trustee Basics



Municipal Election Basics

Why is the City of Winnipeg having an election?

The City of Winnipeg Charter states that the City of Winnipeg must hold an election on the “fourth Wednesday of October 2002, and in each fourth year thereafter.” The next general election in Winnipeg is to be held Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014.

The City of Winnipeg Charter is a piece of legislation passed by the Province of Manitoba, which sets out the powers given to the City of Winnipeg and the responsibilities that the City of Winnipeg must follow.

Source: City of Winnipeg Charter – Section 19


What is a Municipal Election?

A municipal election is an election for a city, town, or rural municipality, as opposed to a provincial election or a federal election. The City of Winnipeg will have a municipal election on October 22nd, 2014. This will be a general election, which is an election held in October once every four years for all the offices of councillor and mayor.

Municipal elections in Manitoba are held the same day as school board elections.

Source: Municipal and School Board Elections 2014


How does a municipal election differ from a provincial election and a federal election?

Municipal Election: A general election is held to select members of Council to represent each geographic area of Winnipeg. In addition, voters select a mayor to represent the entire City of Winnipeg. Each voter has the choice to select one council candidate to represent their area, and one mayoral candidate to represent the city. The councillors and mayor create and vote on bylaws at City Hall, which fall under the City of Winnipeg. There are no political parties registered at the municipal level in Winnipeg.

School Board Election School Board Elections are held the same day in Winnipeg as the Muncipal Election. Voters also choose one or more school trustee candidates. The number of School Trustees to be elected in each ward is not consistent between the various School Divisions. School Trustees create and vote on bylaws in the School Division they represent.

Provincial Election: A general election is held to select Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to represent each geographic area of Manitoba. These members create and vote on laws in the Manitoba Legislature, which fall under provincial jurisdiction. Unlike municipal elections, voters do not directly vote for their provincial leader (the Premier). The Premier is generally the leader of the political party that has more elected members than any other party.

Federal Election: A general election is held to select Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent each geographic area of Canada. These members create and vote on laws in Parliament, which fall under federal jurisdiction. Unlike municipal elections, voters do not directly vote for their federal leader (the Prime Minister). The Prime Minister is generally the leader of the political party that has more elected members than any other party.

Canada’s constitution is the document that outlines what areas of law the provinces and federal government have the power to create. For instance, an MLA may create laws relating to how education is delivered, since education falls under the provincial government. Similarly an MP may create laws relating to what is in the Criminal Code, since the Criminal Code falls under the federal government.

Municipalities and municipal elections fall under the authority of the provincial government. Provincial legislation in Manitoba dictates how elections are to be held, and what the powers of the mayor and councillors are. Similarly, school board elections are under provincial authority. The Municipal Act, The City of Winnipeg Charter, and The Municipal Councils and School Boards Election Act are pieces of legislation that dictate how municipalities ans school boards may conduct themselves.

Source: City of Winnipeg Charter – Sections 128 – 173

Source: The Municipal Act – Section 232

Source: The Manitoba Act, 1870

Source: The Constitution Act, 1867 – Sections 91 – 93


What is the difference between a general election and a by-election?

A by-election is "an election that is not conducted as part of a general election" (Gov of MB). By-elections can be held for both school boards and municipalities. A by-election may be held if an office of mayor, councillor, or school trustee is left vacant between general elections.

Source: The Municipal Councils and School Boards Elections Act – Definitions


How do I find out what the candidates stand for?

Determining who is a good candidate is a judgment call that you get to make as a voter. You can make this decision in whatever way you choose. Our website provides you with several ways to contact your candidates so that you may ask him or her your questions. We list links to candidate websites, Facebook pages, Twitter and Youtube accounts, phone and email. Most candidates have a short bio on their websites and / or their Facebook 'About' page that helps you get a sense of who they are.

You may also view recent news articles relevant to each candidate on the candidate pages and most candidates have responded to our candidate questionnaires. Simply click on the candidate name in order to view this information.

The Manitoba School Boards Association has put together a list of helpful questions you can ask of your school board candidates, which is available here.

Questions that were asked of candidates:

  • Why did you decide to run in the 2014 (Winnipeg Civic Election / School Board Election)?
  • What experience will you bring to compliment your role as (Mayor / Councillor / School Trustee)?
  • What are some issues that you would like to stand for in your role as (Mayor / Councillor / School Trustee), and why are these issues important to you?
  • What is one thing in particular that you appreciate about the (City of Winnipeg / the ward / the school ward or school division) you wish to represent?
  • Do you have any other comments regarding your candidacy?


What is a ward?

A ward is a geographic area that a candidate will represent if elected. Wards can refer to Council Wards or School Division Wards.

The City of Winnipeg is divided into 15 different wards, each of which is represented by a councillor. Each ward had between approximately 30,000 to 50,000 residents at the time of the 2006 Census. Each of these councillors, along with the mayor, make the governing body called Council. The mayor represents the entire city, rather than a ward or group of wards. On election day, the candidate that receives the highest number of votes in each ward will become the next councillor representing that ward.

Each School Division is also divided into several wards, although the number of School Trustees to be elected in each ward is not consistent between the various School Divisions. The total number of trustees in each division is between eight and nine. Each ward will have between one and four elected candidates, depending on the School Division. Some divisions have more smaller wards represented by one or two candidates, while others have fewer larger wards represented by three or four candidates each.

The breakdown of trustees to be elected is as follows:

Louis Riel School Division (9 trustees)

  • Ward 1 – Two trustees to be elected
  • Ward 2 – Two trustees to be elected
  • Ward 3 – Three trustees to be elected
  • Ward 4 – Two trustees to be elected

Pembina Trails School Division (9 trustees)

  • Ward 1 – Three trustees to be elected
  • Ward 2 – Three trustees to be elected
  • Ward 3 – Three trustees to be elected

River East Transcona School Division (8 trustees)

  • Ward 1 – Two trustees to be elected
  • Ward 2 – Two trustees to be elected
  • Ward 3 – Two trustees to be elected
  • Ward 4 – Two trustees to be elected

St. James – Assiniboia School Division (9 trustees)

  • King Edward – Deer Lodge Ward – Three trustees to be elected
  • Kirkfield – St. Charles Ward – Three trustees to be elected
  • Silver Heights – Booth Ward – Three trustees to be elected

Seven Oaks School Division (8 trustees)

  • Ward 2 – Four trustees to be elected
  • Ward 3 – Four trustees to be elected

Winnipeg School Division (9 trustees)

  • Ward 1 – One trustee to be elected
  • Ward 2 – One trustee to be elected
  • Ward 3 – One trustee to be elected
  • Ward 4 – One trustee to be elected
  • Ward 5 – One trustee to be elected
  • Ward 6 – One trustee to be elected
  • Ward 7 – One trustee to be elected
  • Ward 8 – One trustee to be elected
  • Ward 9 – One trustee to be elected

Source: City of Winnipeg – School Division Names and Boundaries

Source: City of Winnipeg Charter – Sections 20 – 21

Source: City of Winnipeg Council Ward Profiles – 2006 Census



Electoral Participation

What will I be voting for?

As a voter, you have the opportunity to vote for at least three candidates: one candidate for mayor, one candidate for councillor, and one or more candidates for school trustee. If you know your ward you may view the available candidates on the mayor, councillor, and school trustee pages for that ward. The school trustee candidates page for your ward has the number of candidates to be elected displayed at the top. If you don’t know the council and / or school division ward in which you reside, you can find out by using this address look-up tool on the City of Winnipeg website here.


Where do I vote?

You can find out where to vote by using the City of Winnipeg address look-up tool here.


What will I see on the ballot?

If you don’t know your wards, find out what ward you reside in on the City of Winnipeg address look-up tool here.

Once you know your council and school division wards you can find out who your candidates are by clicking on each of the following: mayor, councillor, school trustee.

The order of names listed for each candidate race is available on the City of Winnipeg website here.

A sample ballot with instructions on how to mark the ballot is available on the City of Winnipeg website here.


What is the Voter’s List?

The City of Winnipeg uses a list which is used to allow eligible voters to vote. The original list is called the National Register of Electors compiled by Elections Canada. Additions are made in order to keep the list up-to-date. The list contains voters’ names and addresses.

Source: Are you on the voters list? – City of Winnipeg

Source: The Municipal Councils and School Boards Elections Act – Sections 23 – 31


What can I do if I am not on the Voter’s List?

You can present your ID and take an oath at the voting location. The City of Winnipeg website states the following about acceptable ID at the voting place:

"A valid driver's license as well as an Enhanced Identification card will be accepted. In the absence of a driver's license or enhanced identification card, any two documents that together show the person's name and current address will also be accepted." (Frequently Asked Questions - City of Winnipeg).

More information is available on the City of Winnipeg website here.

Source: Frequently Asked Questions - Voting - City of Winnipeg


How can I get involved in an election campaign?

You can use the contact information provided for any candidate in the 2014 municipal and school trustee elections on this site. Simply go to the appropriate mayoral, councillor, or trustee ward to view the candidate contact information.



Municipal Official Basics

What is a mayor?

In Winnipeg, the mayor is the head of council and is chief officer of the city. Winnipeg’s mayor is elected separately from council, but on the same ballot, during a general election. While individual councillors represent wards (geographic areas of the city), the mayor represents the entire city.

Winnipeg has a Strong Mayor system, which is a subset of the mayor-council model. Different cities can have different models determined by the respective provincial government in which the city is located. In the strong-mayor model, the mayor is the chief executive officer, with the power to appoint department heads. The council under this model does not oversee day to day operations of the city.

Source: City of Winnipeg Charter – Section 57

Source: How to Mark the Ballot – City of Winnipeg

Source: National League of Cities – Mayoral Powers


What does the mayor do?

Winnipeg’s mayor appoints the deputy and acting deputy mayors, chairpersons for the committees of council, and members of the Executive Policy Committee (EPC). The mayor may remove a councillor from one of these positions at any time.

The mayor may hire staff for “strategic analysis, research, communications, and support in such areas as the mayor determines are required” (City Organization By-law). In addition, the Office of Policy Development and Communications provides “fiscal, intergovernmental affairs, policy and strategic analysis, research, communication and support” to the mayor’s office and the EPC. The mayor has direct powers to suspend the Chief Administrative Officer for a period of up to three days, which may be extended by the EPC.

The mayor is one of sixteen members of council and may propose and vote on bylaws, along with other members of Council.

Source: City of Winnipeg Charter – Sections 57 – 60, 98

Source: City Organizational By-law – Section 16


What is a City Councillor?

A city councillor is one of fifteen members of council, other than the mayor. Each Councillor represents a different area of the city called a ward. A council candidate may become a city councillor if he or she receives more votes than any other candidates, in the ward he or she is nominated.

Source: City of Winnipeg Municipal Manual – City Council and Committees – Page 46


What do Councillors do?

Councillors together with the mayor form Council, which is the governing body of the city. Councillors act through proposing and voting on by-laws, which sets out the direction of the city under which the city administration must operate. Councillors are also on Community Committees, where they make decisions affecting their particular region of the city. Councillors may also be appointed by the mayor to be a chair of a committee of council, each governing different departments or areas of city policy.

Source: City of Winnipeg Municipal Manual – City Council and Committees – Page 46


What is Council?

Council is the governing body of the city. It consists of the mayor and 15 city councillors, each councillor representing a different part of Winnipeg. Council’s governance of the city is limited by provincial laws, such as the City of Winnipeg Charter. Each councillor and the mayor get one vote on council decisions, with a total of 16 votes on council. Council sets the overall direction of the city, which must be followed by the City Administration.

The City of Winnipeg Charter identifies several general areas over which Council may create bylaws (subject to restrictions), including:

  • Public convenience
  • Health, safety and well-being
  • Activities in Public Spaces
  • Streets
  • Activities of businesses
  • Buildings, equipment and materials
  • Historic buildings, land and areas
  • Condominium conversions
  • Construction in floodway and floodway fringe areas
  • Waterways
  • Water
  • Waste
  • Public transportation
  • Ambulance services
  • Fire protection
  • Police, and
  • Arbitration in collective bargaining with police services

The City’s Organization By-Law ensures council does not delegate several specific matters, including operating and capital budgets, the city’s mill rate (used for property taxes), and the appointment of key city officers, among other things.

Source: Municipal Manual – City of Winnipeg – Page 46

Source: City of Winnipeg Charter – Sections 128 – 173

Source: City Organizational By-law – Section 3 – Page 2


How do I find out what my councillor / mayor has done?

You may watch 2013 or 2014 Council Meeting videos on the City of Winnipeg website here. You may view Council Meeting Minutes here. Many votes with significant media attention are ‘recorder votes’. You can see what councillor voted which way. You can search meetings here by entering key words.


What is a bylaw?

A bylaw is a rule established by an organization, in this case the City of Winnipeg, to regulate itself. Bylaws are voted on and passed by Council. Bylaws may be passed or amended by vote at Council meetings.

Some major bylaws in the City of Winnipeg include the Zoning Bylaw, the Neighbourhood Liveability Bylaw, and the Traffic Bylaw.

City of Winnipeg Bylaws may be viewed through this page.

The default view is of Major By-Laws, but a list of all bylaws is available on this page through using the list filter. The list of all bylaws is very large.

Source: City of Winnipeg Charter – Sections 54 & 55

Source: List of Bylaws – City of Winnipeg



School Trustee Basics

What is a school board election?

A school board election is an election during which school trustees are elected. School trustee candidates are elected on the same day and on the same ballots as councillor and mayoral candidates.

The Manitoba School Boards Association has put together an assortment of information, which may be helpful in building a better understanding of trustees and school board elections. You can view the webpage here.

Source: The Public Schools Act - Section 21.50


What is a School Board?

A school board is the group of school trustees that create and vote on policies that set out the direction of a school division.

Source: Guide to School Boards and Trusteeship – Page 8


What is a school trustee?

A School Trustee is an elected representative that votes on and develops policies under which a School Division must operate. Each School Division in Winnipeg has between eight and nine elected trustees. Together all the School Trustees in one School Division form the School Board for that division.

Source: Guide to School Boards and Trusteeship – Page 8


What does a school trustee do?

School Trustees, together as the School Board, set policy through decisions at public meetings that are held regularly. The policies they create set the direction of the School Division.

In the creation of policies for a school division, the school board must follow the provincial laws, such as the Public Schools Act, that outline their roles, responsibilities, and limitations.

Source: Guide to School Boards and Trusteeship – Page 8


What is a School Division / District?

A school division is the administrative organization that manages day-to-day school business within its geographic area. A school division is responsible for providing for elementary and secondary public school education.

The School Board sets out the overall direction of these schools and the school division enables schools to follow this direction.

Source: Guide to School Boards and Trusteeship – Page 8

Source: The Public Schools Act – Definitions


What can help me make a decision about which school trustee to vote for?

Determining who is a good candidate is a judgment call that you get to make as a voter. You can make this decision in whatever way you choose. Our website provides you with several ways to contact your candidates so that you may ask him or her your questions.

You may also view all recent news articles relevant to each candidate on the candidate page by clicking on a candidate's name, or you can see how they responded to our candidate questionnaire.

You may also review the information candidates provide about themselves on their website, Facebook page, or through their Twitter and Youtube accounts. Most candidates have a short bio that allows you to learn a little bit about their background.

The Manitoba School Boards Association has put together a list of helpful questions you can ask of your school board candidates, which is available here.


What are School Division wards?

Each School Division is split into several geographic areas called Wards. Each Ward has one or more School Trustees to be elected, sometimes as many as four. You can view the listing of how many trustees in each ward, organized by school division, here.

Source: School Division Names and Boundaries


How does somebody become a School Trustee?

Somebody becomes a school trustee through being elected. Each School Division ward has between one and four candidates to be elected. If there are the same or fewer candidates than the number to be elected, then they are acclaimed, meaning they become elected without the need for a vote. If there are more candidates than the number to be elected, then the candidates with the highest number of votes get elected until the number of spots fills up. For example, if there are five candidates competing for three trustee positions, only the three candidates with first, second, and third highest number of votes will fill the position. The fourth and fifth placed candidates will not become school trustees in this election.

In order to be on the ballot, a person must:

  • Be a Canadian Citizen;
  • Be 18 years old or older on Election Day, October 22, 2014;
  • Be a resident in the School Division since April 22, 2014; and
  • Not be disqualified by law.

In addition, the candidate must comply with the nomination process, which includes the appropriate paperwork, including 25 signatures from voters whose names appear on the Voters List in the School Division ward within which the person wishes to be elected. The nomination papers must be submitted between September 10th and September 16th.

Source: Candidates for School Trustee – City of Winnipeg

Source: Municipal Councils and School Boards Elections Act – Section 48