Municipal Elections and Your Museum

Municipal Elections and Your Museum


Municipal Elections and Your Museum
Ontario Museum Association (OMA)

The OMA has prepared a toolkit of tips for advocacy and steps to engage all candidates through social media in advance of Ontario’s municipal government elections on Monday October 24, 2022.
2022 Election Toolkit for Museums
Municipalities are a major funder for many museums in the province. For the 94% of museums in Ontario with annual revenue under $2 million, municipalities contribute 50% of total funding (Ontario’s Museums 2014 Profile). Municipalities matter to museums, and museums matter to their communities.

Steps to Museum Advocacy with Municipal Elections

Why advocate? 
  • Building relationships with candidates in the municipal election ensures that candidates are aware of the important role museums have in their community, and the role of their municipality in supporting those museums
  • Municipalities can help museums retain and grow stable funding, build partnerships and provide better service and reach wider audiences
  • With municipal support, museums can help revitalize downtown areas, improve local quality of life, attract and retain a skilled workforce, and enhance feelings of belonging in the community
1. Make a list of the ways you benefit your local community:
  • what programs do you run?
  • how do your exhibitions help tell local stories?
  • what role do you play as a local tourism advocate?
  • how do you serve as a place of education for children, youth, and adults?
  • how do you engage with specific groups (seniors, newcomers, etc.)?
2. Tell candidates what your museum does for your community!

The main ways of engaging with all candidates include in-person meetings and social media:

a) Engage in-person
  • For all in-person meetings, bring along copies of the OMA’s Museums and Your Municipality Handout and any facts you have about your museum
  • Town Hall / Open Forum Meetings - For any opportunities to ask candidates questions in an open forum, here are some example questions:

1. How would you support the contribution of museums in our community?

2. Do you support museum funding?

3. How could museums work with your government to create opportunities and benefits for your constituents?

4. Do you believe museums have value? How has a museum positively impacted your life?

  • Meetings in your museum - You can also invite all candidates to meet with you! If you are able to meet with a candidate, ask permission to take a photograph together and post it to social media.
b) Engage through social media:
  • Post content about the priorities/successes for your museum (Step 1)
  • Tag all local candidates in posts
  • Use #MuseumsConnectON and tag the OMA @MuseumsOntario on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
  • Use pictures whenever possible
  • OR share OMA's sample posts with fast facts and graphics HERE.
2022 Election Toolkit for Museums
Sample Posts - “Museums, galleries, and heritage sites are found across every region of the province. That means there are more than 700 institutions in Ontario that are committed to their local community and economy. #MuseumsConnectON @MuseumsOntario” Read more HERE.

Registered charities must stay nonpartisan. Registered charities are not allowed to support or oppose a candidate for office and this includes municipal elections. However, registered charities can still engage in a wide variety of nonpartisan advocacy activities like:

  • All-candidates debates
  • Pledges that candidates can sign on to
  • Petitions, flyers, and other issue-based awareness raising tools

To learn more about the rules, read this guide put out by the Canada Revenue Agency.

Who is eligible to vote: You can find more information about who is eligible to vote, how to vote and how you can support candidates in Ontario municipal council and school board election HERE.


OMA - Municipal Elections and Your Museum


City of Toronto

  • ArtsVote 2022 Report Card -  Art Vote (All mayoral and councilor candidates were requested to complete a survey outlining key policy areas pertinent to the health of the arts and artists in Toronto)
The Ontario Museum Association is the province’s only professional association dedicated to museums and those who work and volunteer in them. The Ontario Museum Association is a registered non-profit and does not endorse a specific candidate or party.


Free Resources to Create Infographics, Fact Sheets, or Social Media Images: