5 things to know about the Municipal election

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The City of Winnipeg election was last held on October 26, 2022. What was this election for and what does it mean for you as a newcomer?

  1. What is a municipal election?

    A municipal election is a process where people belonging to a certain area or municipality choose an individual or several individuals to hold public office. Based on the City of Winnipeg Charter, the City holds an election on the fourth Wednesday of October every four years.

    list of what city governments do

  3. Who are Winnipeggers voting for in a municipal election?

    Winnipeggers will choose who will occupy the offices of Mayor, Councillor, and School Trustee for the city.

    The Winnipeg City Council consists of 15 councillors and the Mayor. Each councillor represents an individual ward while the mayor is elected by a vote of the city-at-large. As part of the City Council, councillors can enact by-laws and make major decisions on matters affecting the whole city and their respective communities. The mayor, on the other hand, is the chief officer of the city. The mayor’s list of responsibilities is detailed under Sections 57 to 60 of The City of Winnipeg Charter, while councillors’ responsibilities are legislated under Part 3 of the same charter.

    Meanwhile, the Board of Trustees of the Winnipeg School Division (WSD) is comprised of nine trustees (WSD has nine wards, with one trustee elected per ward). Once elected, a trustee represents the Division as a whole, not only their own ward. Trustees’ main responsibility is to set policy regarding the provision of educational services. To learn more about School Boards, School Trustees and their role in the educational needs of the community, go to School Boards, Manitoba School Boards Association.

  4. Who can vote?

    To vote for Mayor/Councillor, you must be:

    • a Canadian citizen
    • 18 years of age or older on election day
    • an actual resident or property owner in the City of Winnipeg for at least six months.

    To vote for School Trustee, you must be:

    • a Canadian citizen
    • 18 years of age or older on election day
    • an actual resident of the school division for a period of at least six months
    • an actual resident of the school division ward on election day

    For more detailed information about voter eligibility, go to: Part 3 of the The Municipal Councils and School Board Elections Act.

Not a citizen yet?

Newcomers who are not eligible to vote can still participate in the process. You can follow developments closely by reading election news or by supporting a candidate. This way, you’ll learn more about the community’s priority issues and have a greater understanding of the importance of your role as a resident.

Another way you can participate is to become an Election Officer. The City hires temporary election workers to support voting locations throughout the city on Election Day. If you are over the age of 18 and eligible to work in Canada, you can apply as an Election Officer. Other available positions may include senior voting officer, voting place clerk, voting record officer, clerk for oaths, voting machine clerk, location clerk, and safety officer. To know the duties of each position, requirements, qualifications, and how to apply, go to the City of Winnipeg page (applicants need to fill out an online form). Successful applicants also receive training to prepare for the role.

Where to vote and what to bring

Eligible voters receive a voter’s notice months before the election. The notice will contain information on the date, time and place the person is to vote. They will be asked to bring identification showing their name and current address. A voter’s notice is not necessary to be able to vote. If you are eligible but did not receive the notice, you can:

  1. Request to be added to the voter’s list – You can do this either by filling out an online form, contacting 311, or requesting it in person or in writing (go or send it to the City Clerk’s Department, 510 Main St. in Winnipeg).
  2. Go to your polling place – Vote on the day itself by presenting an ID and taking an oath before casting your vote. Look for your polling place here: Where do I vote?

All polling places are accessible for persons with disabilities. Election officers are also authorized to help if you need assistance in filling out your ballot. If you prefer to receive assistance from a friend or family member, they must take an oath of secrecy at the polling place before they can help you. Learn more about accessible voting options here: Accessible voting

Ways to vote

Aside from going to the polling place in person on Election Day, you can also vote by mail. Eligible voters can request this if they:

  • are unable to go in person to a voting location
  • expect to be absent from the city on election day and the days of advance voting
  • do not feel comfortable attending a voting location in person due to health risks

In the weeks leading up to Election Day, eligible voters may also take advantage of advance voting. The City will announce the dates and locations where eligible voters can vote ahead of Election Day.

Sources: 2022 Municipal Council and School Boards Election, Government of Manitoba; 2017 Municipal Manual, School Boards and Trusteeship in Manitoba, School Boards Association; and Government, Canada portal. Accessed June 20, 2022.

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