Constituency office communications must be non-partisan in nature. For the purposes of the Guide, “partisan activities” means:
- the solicitation of money or votes to be given to a candidate or political party;
- the solicitation of memberships to be purchased for a political party;
- the distribution or display of materials that include references to or use of political party slogans, websites, or publications;
- activities that relate to the internal administration, organization, conventions, meetings, or communications of a political party or constituency association;
- activities that relate to a leadership contest or nomination contest for a political party; or
- activites that relate to a recall campaign.
Constituency office communications are intended to support content that has a parliamentary purpose, meaning all business relating to how a Member performs their role and functions as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. It is also meant to help constituents access services equitably, by providing contact information and content about constituency office services and activities. Communications must be relevant to a broad, non-discriminate audience, namely constituents or British Columbians.
Members have many roles, including parliamentary and political ones. With this reality in mind, while expressing partisan opinions, electioneering, and solicitation are reasonable activities undertaken by Members, the constituency office allowance cannot be used for these purposes.
Members cannot print, mail, publish, or distribute, at the expense of the Legislative Assembly, any material seeking financial support or containing any identification or information of a partisan or political nature. Constituency office communications cannot include political party or caucus logos/branding.
Eligible content includes advertisements and messages that:
- Outline constituency office activities.
- Distribute constituency office contact information.
- Describe the role played by the Member in the legislative process, in a factual and objective manner.
- Announce special events.
- Send greetings from the Member.
- Include party names and colours.
Eligible communication channels include:
- inserts in special event programs
- household flyers
- print or online communications
- social media (including boosting)
- bus shelter advertisements
- television advertisements
It is the responsibility of each Member and their staff to ensure that communications paid for using constituency office funds are in accordance with this Guide.
The role of Financial Services is not to review and approve constituency office communications. However, Financial Services may provide interpretive guidance, if requested by a Member or a Constituency Assistant, on the content of proposed constituency communications.
If a Member contracts for a service to facilitate communication, the Member shall, where reasonably possible, contract with a person who is licensed and insured to carry out that service.
Members are personally liable for the cost of any communications that are determined to be ineligible under this Guide by the Subcommittee on Administration and Operations of the Legislative Assembly Management Committee.
Members may utilize the Legislative Assembly’s visual identity in their communications. Alternatively, the provincial coat of arms may be used.
The following table provides some examples of eligible uses of constituency office funds:
|Greetings from the Members, both individually and collectively as part of a group, such as statements to constituents during holiday times (Christmas, Lunar New Year, Hanukkah, etc.), and support of local community events.|
|Announcing an event such as a town hall meeting, a constituency office open house, a constituency picnic, or a seminar or forum on a constituency topic.|
|Requesting feedback from constituents on any specific topics or issues.|
|An update report from the Member in regard to their work on various initiatives within the constituency.|
|An update report from the Member in regard to their work in the legislative process.|
|Sponsoring an event organization in exchange for some form of advertising received, such as an advertisement in an event program.|
|Advertising (i.e., the Member’s name and contact information) in a sports or community organization’s published material or online site.|
|Advertising (i.e., the Member’s name and contact information) on benches, billboards, buses, and at arena ice rinks.|
The following table provides some examples of ineligible uses of constituency office funds:
|Advertising/communications using party slogans*, political statements, or other identifiers (excluding names and colours).|
|Politically partisan advertising or communications.|
|Content that disparages any party or Member**.|
|Boosted social media links to partisan content and/or social media handles/links to social media party affiliations.|
|Links to partisan webpages, including but not limited to political party webpages.|
|Advertising which solicits funds or promotes constituency associations.|
|Conducting or commissioning of surveys about voting intentions.|
|Exclusionary advertisements (i.e., only specific individuals are invited to an event).|
|Content that promotes the personal interests of the Member (for example, their business).|
|Soliciting contributions or donations (including scholarships) in any form and for any organization, group or individual. During the holidays, Members may encourage constituents to donate to food banks or charities in general, but not specific organizations.|
|Providing financial assistance to organizations, groups or causes or their internet sites (i.e., golf tournaments, concerts, festivals, charitable activities, sports teams, etc.).|
*In this context, slogan refers to a descriptor that goes beyond the factual identification of a Member’s responsibilities by assessing their effectiveness in some way, for example, “Working hard for you”.
**Must not include negative comments or criticize another Member, caucus, or party’s policies, platforms, or actions.
During Election Periods
Members are not permitted to communicate/advertise using constituency office funds effective the date of dissolution of the Legislative Assembly. Any previously paid for communications must be completely through the system and no longer airing before dissolution. Any advertisements that have been pre-booked must be withdrawn even if they have been paid prior to the dissolution. Additional election period communications guidance is available in the Transition Guide.