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Political Financing Handbook for Candidates and Official Agents (EC 20155) – June 2015 – ARCHIVED CONTENT

This document is Elections Canada's archived guideline OGI 2015-10 and is no longer in effect.

The version replacing this document is available in the Registry.

Tables and Reminders

The tables and reminders in this section are quick reference tools for the use of candidates and official agents.

This section contains the following:

Important deadlines for the candidate's campaign

Important deadlines for the candidate's campaign
Text version of "Important deadlines for the candidate's campaign" image

1 Must be appointed before contributions, transfers or loans are accepted or expenses are incurred.

2 Required before contributions, transfers or loans are accepted or expenses are incurred.

3 If paper-form tax receipts were used, the official agent has to return all unused or cancelled tax receipts as well as a copy of each used tax receipt to Elections Canada.

4 Required if gifts or other advantages received from any one entity exceed a total of $500.

5 Required if the campaign has unpaid claims and loans.

Contributions, loans and loan guarantees limits

Limits on Contributions, Loans and Loan Guarantees
Political entity 2015 annual limit Limit per election called between Jan 1, 2015 and Dec 31, 2015
To each registered party $1,500* n/a
In total to all the registered associations, nomination contestants and candidates of each registered party $1,500* n/a
In total to all leadership contestants in a particular contest $1,500* n/a
To each independent candidate n/a $1,500*

Notes:

  • The contribution limits apply to: total contributions, the unpaid balance of loans made during the contribution period and the amount of any loan guarantees made during the contribution period that an individual is still liable for. The sum of these three amounts cannot at any time exceed the contribution limit.
  • A nomination contestant is permitted to give an additional $1,000 in total per contest in contributions, loans and loan guarantees to his or her own campaign.
  • A candidate is permitted to give a total of $5,000 in contributions, loans and loan guarantees to his or her campaign.
  • A candidate is also permitted to give an additional $1,500 in total per year in contributions, loans and loan guarantees to other candidates, registered associations and nomination contestants of each party. (This includes contributions to the registered association in the candidate's electoral district and contributions to the candidate's own nomination campaign.)
  • A leadership contestant is permitted to give a total of $25,000 in contributions, loans and loan guarantees to his or her campaign.
  • A leadership contestant is also permitted to give an additional $1,500 in total per year in contributions, loans and loan guarantees to other leadership contestants.

* The limits will increase by $25 on January 1st in each subsequent year.

Transfers – types and rules

This table shows the allowable monetary and non-monetary transfers between related registered political entities.

FROM TO
Nomination Contestant Leadership Contestant Candidate Registered Electoral District Association Registered Party
Monetary Non- monetary Monetary Non- monetary Monetary Non- monetary Monetary Non- monetary Monetary Non- monetary
Nomination Contestant No No No No Yes1 No Yes2 No Yes No
Leadership Contestant No No No No No No Yes No Yes No
Candidate Yes3 Yes3 No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Registered Electoral District Association No Yes4 No Yes4 Yes7 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Registered Party No Yes4 No5 Yes4 Yes7 Yes Yes6 Yes6 N/A N/A

1 A nomination contestant may transfer funds (but not property or services) to a candidate of the same party in the electoral district in which the nomination contest was held.

2 A nomination contestant can only transfer funds to the registered electoral district association that held the nomination contest.

3 Candidates may transfer property, services and funds to their own nomination contestant campaign for the same election.

4 Non-monetary transfers must be offered equally to all contestants.

5 Directed contributions are the only exception: they may be transferred to the leadership contestant.

6 Registered parties may transfer property, services and funds to electoral district associations, whether registered or not.

7 Monetary transfers other than trust funds are allowed. After election day, monetary transfers are allowed only to pay claims and loans related to the candidate's campaign.

Note: Independent candidates may not send or accept transfers of funds, property or services to or from other political entities.

Reporting requirements for the candidate's campaign

Reporting requirements for the candidate's campaign
Text version of "Reporting requirements for the candidate's campaign" image

1 Applies to paper-form tax receipts obtained from Elections Canada.

2 Chapter 4, Reporting Requirements, explains details and conditions that apply to the reporting of gifts and other advantages.

3 If a claim or loan is paid any time after the campaign return is filed, the official agent must send an updated campaign return to Elections Canada within 30 days.

4 Required if the campaign has unpaid claims and loans.

Note: The auditor needs to have sufficient time to properly audit the Candidate's Electoral Campaign Return before the deadline. Therefore it is advised to give the completed return to the auditor well before the deadline of four months after election day.


When sending any original documents by mail, please ensure that you keep a copy for your records.

Important reminders for candidates and their official agents

Before Election Day
DO DON'T
  • Appoint an official agent, who must open a bank account to be used exclusively for the campaign before any contribution, transfer or loan is accepted or any expense is incurred.
  • Appoint an auditor who is accredited under provincial law to perform accounting services (CPA, CA, CGA, CMA).
  • Ensure that only the official agent, the candidate or a person authorized in writing by the official agent incurs electoral campaign expenses.
  • Ensure that all monetary transactions go through the campaign bank account.
  • Issue receipts for each contribution over $20.
  • Place election advertising, with a mention that it is authorized by the official agent.
    For example: "Authorized by the official agent of [candidate's name]."
  • For any expense of $50 and over, keep the original invoice and proof of payment. For any expense of less than $50, keep proof of payment plus a record of the nature of the expense.
  • Do not allow anyone other than the official agent, candidate or a person authorized in writing by the official agent to incur electoral campaign expenses.
  • Do not issue official tax receipts for contributions received before the candidate is officially confirmed by the returning officer.
  • Do not allow anyone other than the official agent to pay for electoral campaign expenses.*
  • Do not accept contributions:
    • from any source other than an individual who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada
    • that exceed an individual's contribution limit
    • in cash that exceed $20
  • Do not accept loans or loan guarantees from any source other than a financial institution, the registered party, a registered association of the registered party, or an individual who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada.
  • Do not accept a loan or loan guarantee from an individual if it exceeds the individual's contribution limit.

* Exceptions: A person authorized by the official agent can pay expenses out of petty cash. The candidate can pay the candidate's personal expenses.

After Election Day
DO DON'T
  • Return all official tax receipts issued by Elections Canada within 1 month after election day, including unused receipts and copies of receipts that were issued.
  • Provide the Candidate's Statement of Personal Expenses to the official agent no later than 3 months after election day even if it is a nil statement.
  • Ensure all claims and loans are paid within 36 months after election day. After that, an authorization from Elections Canada or a judge will be required for late payments.
  • Submit the Candidate's Electoral Campaign Return and related documents within 4 months after election day.
  • Ensure that all loan, overdraft and line of credit conditions, including repayment schedules, are submitted with the candidate's return.
  • Allow your auditor sufficient time before the submission deadline to review financial documents and prepare the audit report.
  • After the campaign has met all its financial obligations, dispose of any surplus in compliance with the Canada Elections Act. Notify Elections Canada within 7 days of the disposal.
  • After all financial obligations are met and any surplus is disposed of, have the official agent close the campaign bank account and provide Elections Canada with the final statement.
  • Do not pay unpaid claims or loans later than 36 months after election day without first obtaining Elections Canada's or a judge's authorization.
  • Do not close your campaign bank account until all financial obligations are met, the final reimbursement has been received (if applicable) and any surplus has been disposed of.