Policy Priorities of Municipal Candidates in the 2014 Local Ontario Elections


  • Nicole Goodman University of Toronto
  • Jack Lucas University of Calgary


candidates, policy, municipal elections, Ontario


This paper reports the results of a survey on the policy priorities of municipal candidates in the 2014 municipal elections in Ontario. As part of a survey of municipal candidates in 47 Ontario municipalities, we asked a series of questions relating to perceived policy priorities, election issues, and electoral success to shed light on the extent to which municipal political candidates are “policy seekers,” and the extent to which their policy priorities vary across municipalities and municipal types, successful and unsuccessful candidates, and urban and rural candidates. We find that reported policy priorities tend to fall into two major categories: fiscal issues and economic development or administration and good governance. The prominence of these fiscal and procedural priorities is steady across a range of local candidate types, including successful and unsuccessful candidates, incumbent and non-incumbent candidates, and even urban and rural candidates. Only in very large municipalities, according to our findings, does the structure of candidate priorities begin to diverge from this standard emphasis on finance and procedure.

Author Biographies

Nicole Goodman, University of Toronto

Munk School of Global Affairs

Jack Lucas, University of Calgary

Department of Political Science