Ontario NDP to Elect New Leader in March 2023

ontario legislature

THUNDER BAY – POLITICS – Ontario’s New Democrats will elect a new permanent leader the first week of March, 2023, after the party’s provincial council voted Friday to set the rules of its leadership race.

With rules now in place, leadership hopefuls will have until early December 2022 to register as candidates in the contest.

“It’s an exciting time to be a New Democrat in Ontario,” says party president Janelle Brady. “Our party is stronger than ever, and in 2023 we’ll be electing not only the next leader of the NDP, but the next premier of Ontario. We’re ready to show Ontarians that they can finally have a premier who fights for families and workers — fixing health care, lifting wages up, and tackling the cost of living.”

Peter Tabuns has been selected to serve as interim leader of the Ontario NDP until the party elects its new permanent leader. Tabuns takes up the mantle temporarily from long-serving leader Andrea Horwath, who helmed the party as it secured Official Opposition status in back-to-back elections.

Ontario NDP Leadership contest rules

The Ontario NDP provincial council has adopted a full book of leadership contest rules, including a set of foundational principles. Among those principles, the leadership contest must generate enthusiasm for the Ontario NDP, its ideas and principles; be positive, inclusive and accessible; and grow the membership of the party including prioritizing growth in equity-deserving communities. Detailed highlights of the leadership contest include:

  • The Ontario NDP’s next leader will be elected the first week of March, 2023.
  • The registration deadline will be in early December, 2022
  • The new Ontario NDP leader must be elected with greater than 50 per cent plus-one vote from all ballots cast. Ranked balloting will be used, and multiple rounds are possible until a candidate reaches that majority.
  • Per the Ontario NDP constitution, the election will be one-member-one-vote weighted to 75 per cent; and votes from affiliate organizations weighted to 25 per cent.
    • Each affiliated organization is entitled to a number of votes based on the number of its members — two votes for the first 100 members or any portion thereof, and one additional vote for each additional 300 members or major fraction thereof.
  • Candidates need to submit signatures from 100 NDP members that support their candidacy.
    • A minimum of 20 signatures must come from NDP members who live in at least four of six geographic regions.
    • At least 50 per cent of each candidates’ signatories must be women.
    • At least 25 per cent of each candidates’ signatories must be equity-seeking NDP members, including Black, Indigenous and racialized members.
  • The party will host two official leadership debates, and livestream both.
  • The party will host two official meet-and-greet events with the leadership candidates.
  • The party will host one showcase event for the candidates before the voting period opens, and livestream that showcase.
  • The spending limit for each leadership campaign will be $900,000. That number does not include spending on child care costs for the candidate or their team, any accommodations made due to a disability, or the registration fee.
  • The registration fee will be $5,000 on registration, plus another $50,000 paid in installments. This figure is expected to be fundraised from supporters, and is substantially lower than the approximately $100,000 registration fee for the most recent Ontario Liberal Party and Ontario PC Party leadership contests.
  • The party will distribute content provided by each leadership candidate to all NDP members at least once, and leadership candidates will have access to the Ontario NDP’s updated membership list regularly throughout the campaign.
  • The full and detailed contest rules will be available online, and dovetail with both the Ontario NDP’s constitution, and Elections Ontario’s rules and finance requirements for leadership contests.
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