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Recall & Initiative

Recall and Initiative

Recall

Elections BC’s forms and guides are being updated to reflect amendments to the Recall and Initiative Act affecting recall rules. The new rules are outlined in this bulletin. For more information, contact Provincial Electoral Finance at 1-800-661-8683 or electionsbc@elections.bc.ca.

Recall is a process through which a registered voter can petition to remove a Member of the Legislative Assembly from office. A voter can only petition to recall the Member for the electoral district in which they are registered to vote. The voter must collect signatures from more than 40% of voters eligible to sign the petition in that electoral district. Applications for recall petitions cannot be submitted to Elections BC during the 18 months after the Member was elected. In Canada, the recall process is unique to B.C. – no other province or territory has a system in place for removing elected representatives from office between elections.


Previous petitions

The Chief Electoral Officer has approved 26 recall petitions since the Recall and Initiative Act came into force in 1995. Six of those petitions were returned to Elections BC for verification. Of the six, five did not have enough valid signatures and one was halted during the verification process because the Member resigned. View Elections BC’s Summary of Recall Petitions (PDF) and visit our Reports page for more information about past recall petitions.


Recall process

The Chief Electoral Officer administers the recall petition process according to the rules established in the Recall and Initiative Act. View the Recall Petition Timeline (PDF) for key dates and deadlines in the recall process.

 

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Applying for a petition

The application period to recall an MLA elected in the 2017 Provincial General Election began on Tuesday, November 13 at 8:30 a.m.

The applicant:

  • must be a registered voter
  • must be petitioning for the recall of the Member for the electoral district in which the applicant is registered to vote
  • must wait until 18 months following the election of the Member before applying

Applications will be processed by Elections BC in the order that they are received. Recent legislative changes require that there can only be one active recall petition per district at a time.

Applications must be received at Elections BC headquarters in Victoria.

An application submitted to Elections BC must include all of the following elements to be considered “received”:

If the application meets the requirements of the Recall and Initiative Act, the Chief Electoral Officer will notify the applicant (called the proponent), the Member and the Speaker that approval in principle has been granted and that a petition will be issued within seven days.

Note: The first complete application received by Elections BC will be accepted.


Collecting signatures (canvassing)

When the petition is issued, the proponent has 60 days to collect signatures from more than 40% of voters who:

  • were registered to vote in the Member’s electoral district when the Member was last elected, and
  • are currently registered as voters in B.C.

Canvassers can help collect the signatures and:

The proponent is responsible for registering canvassers with Elections BC, who will provide approved canvassers with identification cards. Canvassers have legal obligations to follow, which are outlined in the Recall Petition Canvasser Guide and Application.


Signing a petition

The recall petition can only be signed by individuals who:

  • were registered to vote in the Member’s electoral district when the Member was last elected, and
  • are currently registered as voters in B.C.

Individuals unsure of their eligibility should contact Elections BC. Individuals who sign a petition:

  • must only sign once (signing more than once is an offence)
  • must include their home address
  • must have their signature witnessed by the canvasser


Advertising

Anyone other than the proponent or Member who wants to conduct advertising that opposes or supports a recall petition must first register with Elections BC by submitting the Recall Advertising Sponsor Application for Registration form.

Elections BC’s forms and guides are being updated to reflect amendments to the Recall and Initiative Act affecting recall rules. The new rules are outlined in this bulletin. For more information, contact Provincial Electoral Finance at 1-800-661-8683 or electionsbc@elections.bc.ca.


Financing

A recall proponent and the Member must each appoint financial agents by submitting the Appointment of Financial Agent form. Alternatively, they may act as their own financial agent by submitting a written statement to that effect to Elections B.C. Financial agents may appoint one or more assistant financial agents by submitting the Appointment of Assistant Financial Agent form to Elections BC. Only financial agents or assistant financial agents may accept recall contributions and incur recall expenses.

A recall financing report must be filed with Elections BC within 28 days of the end of the recall petition period.

Elections BC’s forms and guides are being updated to reflect amendments to the Recall and Initiative Act affecting recall rules. The new rules are outlined in this bulletin. For more information, contact Provincial Electoral Finance at 1-800-661-8683 or electionsbc@elections.bc.ca.


Submitting and verifying a petition

The proponent:

  • must submit the petition to the Chief Electoral Officer within 60 days from the date it is issued
  • must submit all petition sheets at once
  • must submit only the original petition sheets

Upon receiving the petition, the Chief Electoral Officer has 42 calendar days to complete the verification process. If the required number of eligible voters have signed the petition and if all financing rules have been met, the Member ceases to hold office and a by-election must be called. The Member can run as a candidate in the by-election.


Public inspection of recall petition sheets

The Recall and Initiative Act allows for public inspection of recall petition sheets for up to one year after the petition is submitted to the Chief Electoral Officer. To inspect a petition, individuals must meet the eligibility requirements established in the Recall and Initiative Act, and must first sign a declaration that they will not use the personal information contained on the petition sheets for any purpose except as permitted under the Recall and Initiative Act or the Election Act and file an acceptable privacy policy. Individuals must submit a completed Record of Request for Public Inspection of Documents and Privacy policy template for individuals (00155) to the Chief Electoral Officer.


Recall forms submission

The PDF forms on this page can be downloaded and filled out using Adobe Reader and submitted to Elections BC via email, fax, mail, or in person. They are also available at Elections BC’s Victoria office at 1112 Fort Street or by calling toll-free 1-800-661-8683 / TTY 1-888-456-5448 or by emailing electionsbc@elections.bc.ca.