Most municipal candidates own homes, live locally and are over 40, according to responses from 103 candidates
Demographic details from Capital Daily’s candidate database reveal those running are older and wealthier, on average, than the populations they hope to represent
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Capital Daily’s growing candidate database now includes 103 candidates running in 12 of the 13 municipalities across Greater Victoria.
We’ve analyzed their responses to our demographic questions about age, household income, home ownership and place of residence, and some trends have emerged: the information we’ve received so far suggests council candidates tend to be older, wealthier and more likely to own their home than the average Greater Victoria resident. They’re also highly likely to have lived in the municipality they’re running to represent—most respondents said they have lived in their community for more than five years.
Median age for candidates ranges from 42 in Central Saanich to 70 in View Royal
Age is a bit of a touchy subject for a notable number of candidates across Greater Victoria. About 10% of candidates declined to answer our question regarding their age—a move especially common among responding incumbents.
Of the 92 candidates who did provide their age, 20 are younger than 40. Seventeen candidates are 65 or older. The median age of Greater Victoria residents in 2020 was 43, according to census data. Just four municipalities have candidates with a median age close to that: Victoria, Saanich and Langford, where the median candidate age is 44 and Central Saanich, where the median candidate age is 42.
Colwood council candidate Steven MacAskill is the youngest municipal hopeful and—at 19 years old—is more than 50 years younger than the two oldest candidates who provided their ages, Richard Novek in Sidney and Karen Harper in Saanich, both of whom are 72 years old.
Candidates in View Royal have the highest median age (70) while Central Saanich has the lowest (42).
Candidates have higher-than-average incomes but many did not disclose what they earn
The survey question that candidates were least inclined to answer was asking about their annual household income. A total of 48 candidates—including all four respondents from Central Saanich—picked the “Prefer not to disclose” option when asked to indicate the range of their household income.
Of the 55 candidates who did provide an answer, 20 said they earn less than $70,000, 14 chose $70,000 to $100,000, and 20 reported a household income over $100,000. Just one candidate, Stephen Hammond, who is running in Victoria, reported a household income higher than $200,000.
The median household income in Victoria in 2020 was $43,200, according to census data.
If elected, most council members will earn less than $30,000 with mayors typically earning double what councillors do. The issue of council pay—and who can afford to run for local office as a result—is a controversial one for councils and the public alike, as Capital Daily has previously reported.
All incumbents and most candidates own their homes and live locally
The vast majority of candidates own their homes, including all 30 incumbents who have responded to our survey so far. All responding candidates from Central Saanich, Esquimalt, Highlands, Langford, Oak Bay, Sidney, and Sooke are homeowners.
Just 14% of candidates said they rent their homes, and one of those—Victoria council candidate Gary Beyer—owns an investment property.
Saanich and Victoria are the only municipalities where more than one candidate running for office is a renter, with about one-third of council hopefuls in each saying they rent their home. That’s still well below the proportion of Greater Victoria households who rent their homes—39 per cent, according to 2021 census data. In the City of Victoria, 61% of households rent.
Almost all of the candidates running this year live in the municipality they hope to represent, with most respondents saying they have lived in the community for more than five years.
Only two municipalities—Victoria and Sooke—have non-resident candidates running: mayoral hopefuls Marianne Alto and Brendan Marshall in Victoria, and Sooke council candidates Anne Russell and Nick Dickinson-Wilde.
—With files from Michael John Lo