Guidelines for Campaigning during COVID-19

Download the printable Information on How to Campaign Safely during COVID-19.

The content and resources on this page were prepared by Elections BC in consultation with the Office of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO). Providing public health guidance is outside our mandate, but given the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are providing this information on behalf of the PHO to help political campaigns conduct their activities safely. Campaigns with questions are encouraged to contact the PHO directly to discuss their safe campaigning plans.

Campaigning often involves in-person activities such as rallies, fundraising functions, candidate nomination meetings, door-to-door canvassing and voter engagement. Due to the public health risks presented by COVID-19, these activities will need adjustment to align with public health requirements.

There are three areas that political campaigns should consider when planning for safe campaigning during the election:

  • campaign events
  • community engagement
  • campaign offices

Campaign events

If physical interactions must take place, all orders, notices and guidance regarding COVID-19 issued by the Office of the Provincial Health Officer must be adhered to.

Examples include providing barriers (plexiglass screens), physical distancing, a maximum of 50 properly distanced people at any event (smaller spaces require a smaller number of participants), assigned seating, maintaining distance between groups, collecting contact information for inside and outside events, and holding events outside or virtually where possible.

Virtual events are the safest option. There is nothing in the Election Act that prevents an event from being held virtually, provided all other requirements are met (including requirements around fundraising and financial disclosure).

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, candidates can record an oral declaration from their nominators instead of a written signature. See the candidate nomination booklet for more information.

For more information on how public health orders impact campaign events, see the PHO’s order on gatherings and events.

Community engagement

Political participants should be aware that there is heightened public anxiety with regard to in-person interactions, and typical campaign activities, such as door-knocking, canvassing and town halls, may cause concern.

The Election Act has rules for canvassers during provincial elections. Canvassers are individuals that attempt to influence how voters vote through activities like talking to voters in the community or by making phone calls. Read our Canvassing Guidelines for more information. Canvassers should also be aware that landlords and stratas may put temporary restrictions in place in common areas due to health and safety concerns.

Campaign teams should also be sensitive to the health and safety concerns of Indigenous communities that may limit the number of visitors from outside the community. Campaigns should contact Indigenous communities directly to plan their outreach and engagement.

Campaign Offices

As with all businesses, political parties must create a WorkSafeBC COVID-19 safety plan that will cover how the office will limit occupancy, create physical barriers, ensure physical distancing, provide virtual operational options, prevent those who are ill from attending, and provide safety equipment such as hand sanitizer. The plan may also include steps to minimize face-to-face interactions and find alternative ways to accomplish objectives.

The Election Act does not require campaign offices to be accessible to the public, so political parties and candidates may wish to consider virtual ways to interact with voters. For example, campaign offices may be used as a phone bank to canvass voters. Booked appointments are also helpful to minimize the number of people in the space. For more information and guidance, visit the WorkSafeBC website.