For more than 15 years voters' lists for municipal elections in Ontario have been put together by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, an organization that assesses the value of homes for tax purposes, but that will soon change.

The clerks for both the Town of Fort Frances and the City of Thunder Bay are a part of a provincial working group that they hope will remove issues faced by voters the next time residents go to the polls for municipal elections.

Thunder Bay City Clerk Krista Power says MPAC often doesn’t update the lists, so many who have died, moved away to another community or province or become of age to vote since a previous municipal election hasn’t been removed or added to the list, which can cause problems when voting.

“This is not MPAC’s role, they collect information that is based on assessed value and property values, this is not what they do. We use that list for the voters' list and that’s not the best list to use.”

Power adds the inaccurate data provided by MPAC can lead to problems at the polls, which is why she, alongside Fort Frances Town Clerk Gabrielle Lecuyer and several other clerks across the province are working towards an end goal of municipalities having access to the lists from Elections Ontario, who has up to date lists of voters for all 444 municipalities in Ontario.

Which to Power, just makes sense, as voters will only have to make one change.

Currently, both the Ontario Legislature and the terms of council for municipalities across Ontario are matched to have voters go to the polls in the same year.

“We had a provincial election in June and a municipal election in October. so we received a lot of phone calls and people at polling stations frustrated to say ‘I just voted, I just voted in June and I updated my information because I’ve moved or I’ve turned 18’ but we don’t have that data.”

Power’s first priority, she says, is getting people out to polling stations whether they be virtual or in person.

MPAC is set to stop handling municipal voter list responsibilities in 2024, which Power believes will be plenty of time to get accustomed to the lists from Elections Ontario, before the 2026 municipal election.