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Compendium of Election Administration in Canada: A Comparative Overview

G. Election Financing and Advertising

Public funding

All jurisdictions provide indirect public funding through a tax credit for political contributions to a candidate or a political party. The maximum tax credit varies by province, though the most common limit is $500. Most jurisdictions also provide direct public funding, usually by reimbursing part of the election expenses of political parties or candidates, or both. Nine jurisdictions reimburse part of a candidate's election expenses (all but Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut). Five of them also reimburse part of the election expenses of political parties (Canada, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan). In all cases, the reimbursement is issued on the condition that the political party or candidate has obtained a certain percentage of the popular vote.

Another form of direct public funding is the allowance for a political party. Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Manitoba pay such allowances. One variable in calculating the allowance is the number of valid votes received by the party's candidates in the last general election. In Canada, there has been no direct public funding to political parties since April 2014. In Quebec and Manitoba, the allowance is determined by the Chief Electoral Officer or the Commissioner, who decides on the amounts to be paid to registered parties while considering factors such as number of votes, expenses incurred, and so forth.

Finally, in some jurisdictions there are provisions for ensuring that a political party can broadcast its political message. In New Brunswick and Quebec, network operators may make free time available to political parties on an equitable basis. In Nunavut, community or educational broadcasting services must make equal broadcasting time available to all candidates. Federally, every broadcaster must make 6.5 hours during prime time available to political parties for purchase. Free time must also be made available, and shared among political parties based on their allocation of paid time. All broadcasting time is allocated by the Broadcasting Arbitrator (appointed by the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada) according to a formula in the Canada Elections Act.

Contributions

All jurisdictions restrict in some way the contributions that political entities may receive. Generally, a contribution may be monetary or non-monetary, although volunteer labour is not usually included. Nine jurisdictions limit the amount of money that may be contributed to political entities. This is the case in Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Anonymous contributions are allowed in eight jurisdictions – Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Those contributions are allowed up to a specified amount ranging from $20 to $250. For any contributions over those amounts, the identity of the contributor must be disclosed or the contributions remitted to the Chief Electoral Officer or Supervisor of Political Financing.

Seven jurisdictions – Canada, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut – prohibit foreign contributions or contributions from outside the jurisdiction. Canada, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Alberta also prohibit contributions from a corporation or a trade union, so only contributions from an elector (Quebec) or an individual (Canada, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Alberta) are allowed. In Quebec, since 2011, contributions are made directly to the Chief Electoral Officer, who remits them to the entity concerned after verifying that the contribution is in compliance with the law.

Expenses

The definition of election expenses varies from one jurisdiction to another; however, they typically include all costs incurred to promote or oppose the election of a candidate or a political party. In most jurisdictions, both direct and indirect expenses are covered, but in Canada, Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, only direct expenses are covered. Usually, the personal expenses of a candidate, such as for food and lodging, are not included in the definition of election expenses if they are reasonably incurred, except in Yukon. To ensure a level playing field among participants, most jurisdictions limit the election expenses that may be incurred by a political party or a candidate. Alberta and Yukon are the only two jurisdictions that do not impose limits on the amount political parties or candidates may spend during an election campaign. Limits are usually established according to a formula based on the number of electors – for a party, in the electoral districts where it endorses candidates, and for a candidate, in the electoral district where he or she is running. Some jurisdictions, however, have fixed amounts (British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut).

Jurisdictions that register third parties (Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia) also establish a limit on election advertising expenses incurred by them (with the exception of Alberta and Ontario). The limit is a fixed amount specified in the legislation and is not linked to the number of electors in the electoral district.

Canada is the only jurisdiction to regulate nomination campaign expenses. Nomination contestants are allowed 20% of the amount allowed for candidates' election expenses in that electoral district, during the immediately preceding general election, if the boundaries for that electoral district have not changed. In any other case, maximum nomination campaign expenses are as determined by the Chief Electoral Officer. In New Brunswick, expenses of leadership and nomination campaigns are not limited; however, contributions and other forms of financial support to the campaigns are restricted.

Reporting

To ensure transparency and compliance in election financing, all jurisdictions require candidates and political parties to report to the Chief Electoral Officer all contributions received and expenses incurred. Candidates must submit an election expenses report, but political parties in most jurisdictions are required to submit both an expenses return for any election campaign and an annual report on their finances. Local associations, leadership contestants, nomination contestants and third parties, where required to register, must also submit a financial report. In Canada, nomination contestants (through their financial agents) must submit a nomination campaign return reporting contributions accepted (if they total $1,000 or more) and expenses incurred (if they total $1,000 or more), within four months after the selection date. In New Brunswick, the official representative of a nomination contestant must submit a financial return with 30 days of the nomination convention. The contents of the reports, as well as the deadlines for submitting them, vary from one jurisdiction to another. In most cases, an auditor's report confirming the accuracy of the candidate's or political party's report must also be submitted. Almost all jurisdictions require the name and address of each donor who contributed more than a specified amount. Some jurisdictions also require all receipts and vouchers to be submitted with the financial report.

Advertising and surveys

To ensure fair competition, all jurisdictions regulate election advertising. In all jurisdictions, election advertising must identify the person or party on whose behalf the advertisement was produced. This is also true of leadership and nomination contestant advertising in New Brunswick. It is true of third party advertising in Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Nunavut. In Alberta, election advertising includes advertising via electronic media such as telephone, fax, Internet, e-mail and text messaging. In Nunavut, election advertising includes advertising via social media, including Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

Several jurisdictions also impose a blackout on election advertising broadcasts either on polling day (Canada, Quebec and British Columbia) or on polling day and the previous day (Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Ontario). An additional blackout period is imposed at the beginning of the election period in Ontario, from the day the writ is issued until the 22nd day before polling day, unless it is a fixed date election, and in Quebec, for the seven days following the issuance of the writ. In Manitoba, there is a ban on government advertising for 90 days prior to a fixed-date election, while in Saskatchewan it is for the 27-day period before polling day.

Five jurisdictions – Canada, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia – regulate the transmission to the public of the results of an election survey or opinion poll. In Canada, Nova Scotia and Alberta, anyone who transmits the results of an election survey to the public within 24 hours of the first transmission is required to provide the name of the sponsor, the name of the organization that conducted the survey and statistical information related to the population sample and the margin of error. Canada, Nova Scotia and Alberta also require survey sponsors to produce a report on the survey upon request. In Canada, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, an individual or organization must not publish, broadcast or transmit to the public, in an electoral district on general voting day before the close of all of the voting stations in the electoral district, the results of an election opinion survey that have not previously been made available to the public.

Table G.1 Public funding and reimbursement

Jurisdiction Reimbursement of election expenses to political party Reimbursement of election expenses to candidate Reimbursement of auditor fees Allowances to political parties Tax credit for political contributions Reimbursement of candidate's deposit
Canada Receives 50% of expenses incurred, if obtains 2% of valid votes overall or 5% of valid votes in electoral districts where it ran a candidate
  • If obtains 10% of valid votes, then receives 15% of expenses limit
  • If also incurs more than 30% of expenses limit, then receives lesser of 60% of actual expenses (minus 15% above), or 60% of expenses limit (minus 15% above)
  • Candidates (electoral campaign returns):
    The greater of: engaged amount for audit (up to the lesser of 3% of election expenses or $1,500) or $250
  • Registered associations: $1,500
–
  • Up to $400: 75%
  • Over $400 and up to $750: $300 plus 50% of amount by which contribution exceeds $400
  • Over $750: lesser of $650, or $475 plus 33.33% of amount over $750
  • Amount eligible for a tax credit: total contribution minus the value of the advantage received by the contributor
Yes, to candidate who files required financial documents, including candidate who withdraws before close of nominations
Newfoundland and Labrador – If obtains 15% of popular vote, receives 1/3 of actual expenses, to a maximum of 1/3 of expenses limit
  • Fees for election expenses statement
  • The lesser of $500 or the auditor's account
–
  • Up to $100: 75%
  • Over $100 and up to $550: $75 + 50% of amount over $100 but less than $550
  • Over $550: $300 + 33.33% of amount over $550
  • Maximum deduction: $500
Yes, to candidate who files required financial documents, when writ is withdrawn, or candidate is acclaimed
Prince Edward Island – If obtains 15% of popular vote, receives the lesser of total election expenses reported, or $0.75 per elector on official list; minimum payment of $1,500, maximum payment of $3,000 –
  • Annually, to each registered party with one or more seats
  • Calculation: number of valid votes for party's candidates at last general election x amount fixed by Lieutenant-Governor in Council, adjusted for inflation (maximum $2.00)Footnote 1
  • Up to $100: 75%
  • Over $100 and up to $550: $75 + 50% of amount over $100
  • Over $550: lesser of $300 + 33.33% of amount over $550, or $500
Yes, to candidate who files the required financial documents within the legislated time frame, or candidate who dies before close of the polls
Nova Scotia – If obtains 10% of valid votes, receives amount of election expenses not exceeding $1.43 per elector on final list If candidate's actual election expenses are greater than $150, reimbursement of audit expenses are actual audit cost to a maximum $459.50, or 2% of candidate's actual election expenses to a maximum $766.50 $1.53 for each vote received by candidates representing a political party in the most recent general election, to be paid in two equal instalments in April and October, adjusted for inflation at the beginning of each year
  • Up to $100: 75%
  • Over $100 and up to $550: $75 + 50% of amount over $100
  • Over $550: lesser of $300 + 33.33% of amount over $550, or $500
Yes, if candidate declares in prescribed manner that he or she has destroyed all lists of elector information and complies with expenses provisions, including meeting filing deadline, or when by-election is superseded by general election or candidate diesFootnote 2
New Brunswick – If obtains 15% of valid votes overall, receives lesser of actual expenses incurred or $0.35 per elector on the preliminary list of electors for the electoral district + cost of mailing 1 oz. first-class letter to each elector Political parties: $2,000 For each fiscal year, an annual allowance will be paid in quarterly instalments to each party in Legislature or a party that ran at least 10 candidates in last general election

Calculation: (A-B) x (C/D)

Where:

A = amount of appropriation authorized

B = amount to be paid for audit fee reimbursements to all parties during fiscal year

C = total number of valid votes cast for all candidates of that political party in preceding general election

D = total number of votes cast for all official candidates of all qualifying political parties in preceding general election
  • Up to $200: 75%
  • Over $200 and up to $550: $150 + 50% of amount over $200
  • Over $550: lesser of $325 + 33.33% of amount over $550, or $500
Yes, to candidate once candidate's official agent submits statement of election expenses to the Supervisor of Political Financing
Quebec If obtains 1% of valid votes, receives 50% of incurred expenses, to a maximum of $0.71 (indexed) per elector for all electoral divisions in which it ran candidates If obtains 15% of valid votes, receives 50% of incurred expenses, to a maximum of $1.23 (indexed) per elector in electoral division
  • Political parties: half of the cost incurred for audit of financial report, up to $15,000
  • Candidates: audited by the political party
  • Determined annually by the Chief Electoral Officer
  • Calculation: $1.50 x the number of electors on the lists of electors used in the last general election (indexed) x the percentage of valid votes obtained by the party in that election
  • An allocation calculated in accordance with the aforementioned terms, replacing the amount indicated by $1.00, would be paid within 10 days of the publication of the general election writ
  • Additional maximum amounts based on received contributions of $20,000 to $200,000 can be paid to the authorized parties
  • An additional maximum annual allowance of $800 specifically for independent candidates and members
  • Calculation: percentage of valid votes obtained by party at last general election x $1.50 (indexed) x number of electors on lists for that election adjusted for inflation each January 1
  • An additional allowance calculated following the modalities above mentioned by replacing the amount therein by $1.00 would be given within 10 days of the order instituting the holding of a general election
  • Political parties: $2.50 for each dollar raised as a contribution, up to $20,000, for an amount of $50,000 paid by the CEO
  • Plus $1.00 for each dollar raised as a contribution between $20,000 and $220,000 paid by the CEO
  • The same terms are used for additional matching revenues during elections
  • Independent member or candidate: $2.50 for each dollar raised as a contribution up to $800 for an amount of $2,000 paid by the CEO
No deposit required
Ontario Receives $0.05 per elector in any electoral district where it received 15% of popular vote If obtains 15% of popular vote, receives lesser of 20% of incurred expenses or 20% of expenses limit
  • Candidates: the lesser of $1,000 plus the indexed factor and rounded to the dollar, or the auditor's account
  • Political parties: the lesser of $1,200 plus the indexed factor and rounded to the dollar, or the auditor's account
  • Constituency associations: the lesser of $600 plus the indexed factor and rounded to the dollar, or the auditor's account
  • Leadership contestants: the lesser of $800 plus the indexed factor and rounded to the dollar, or the auditor's account
– 75% of the first $399 of total contributions; 50% of the amount between $399 and $1,330; and 33 1/3% of the amount between $1,330 and $3,026 No deposit required
Manitoba If obtains 10% of valid votes, receives a maximum of 50% of its expenses that are within the expenses limit minus the over-expenditure
  • If the candidate receives at least 10% of the valid votes cast, he or she may be reimbursed 100% of reasonable childcare and disability expenses, and a maximum of 50% of his or her election expenses or election expense limit (whichever is less), minus the over-expenditure
  • Up to 50% of the candidate's reimbursement amount may be paid in advance under certain circumstances
  • Candidates and leadership contestants (annual report): $1,500 or a reasonable lesser amount decided by the Chief Electoral Officer
  • Political parties:
    • Annual report: $16,000 or a reasonable lesser amount decided by the Chief Electoral Officer
    • Election expenses report: $30,000 or a reasonable lesser amount decided by the Chief Electoral Officer
Determined by an allowance commissioner
  • Up to $400: 75%
  • Over $400 and up to $750: $300 + 50% of amount over $400
  • Over $750: lesser of $475 + amount over $750/3, or $650
No deposit required
Saskatchewan If obtains 15% of valid votes, receives 50% of incurred expenses If obtains 15% of valid votes, receives 60% of incurred expenses
  • Candidates: lesser of $650 or the auditor's account
  • Political parties: lesser of $2,000 or the auditor's account
–
  • Up to $400: 75%
  • Over $400 and up to $750: $300 + 50% of amount over $400
  • Over $750: lesser of $475 + 33% of amount over $750, or $650
Yes, to candidate after final count by returning officer, candidate where election is found void, and candidate whose nomination is refused by returning officer. An expense return and auditor's report must be filed
Alberta – – – –
  • Up to $200: 75%
  • Over $200 and up to $1,100: $150 + 50% of amount over $200
  • Over $1,100: lesser of $1,000, or $600 + 33.33% of amount over $1,100
Yes, one half of deposit to elected candidate, candidate who receives at least half the number of votes received by elected candidate, and candidate who withdraws within 48 hours of filing his or her nomination paper; and one half of deposit to candidate who files required financial statement
British Columbia – – – –
  • Up to $100: 75%
  • Over $100 and up to $550: $75 + 50% of amount over $100
  • Over $550: lesser of $300 + 33.33% of amount over $550, or $500
Yes, to candidate who receives at least 15% of total votes counted, and when candidate's electoral district is disestablished before election
Yukon – – – –
  • Up to $100: 75%
  • Over $100 and up to $550: $75 + 50% of amount over $100
  • Over $550: lesser of $300 + 33.33% of amount over $550, or $500
  • Yes, to candidate who receives at least 25% of number of votes received by elected candidate
  • Every candidate who files a completed election financing return shall be refunded their deposit
Northwest Territories No political parties – – –
  • Up to $100: 100%
  • Over $100: lesser of $100 + 50% of amount over $100, or $500
Yes, to candidate who files required financial documents before deadline, and when writ is withdrawn
Nunavut No political parties – – –
  • Up to $100: 100%
  • Over $100: lesser of $100 + 50% of amount over $100, or $500
Yes, to candidate who files required financial documents, when writ is withdrawn, or when candidate dies before close of polls

Footnote 1 Allowance has not been paid to political parties since 1993.

Footnote 2 Comes into force on proclamation or on January 1, 2016, if not proclaimed in force before that day. Until that time, reimbursements are issued in the following cases: to elected candidates and candidates who receive at least 10% of valid votes if they comply with expenses provisions; when a by-election is superseded by a general election; or when the candidate dies.

Table G.2 Contributions – limits; allowable sources

Jurisdiction Limit on contributions Contributors outside jurisdiction Individuals Corporations Trade unions Anonymous contributors Testamentary contributions
Canada
  • From an individual, $1,500 total per year to each registered party; $1,500 total per year to the registered associations, nomination contestants and candidates of each registered party; $1,500 total to each candidate for a particular election not of a registered party; and $1,500 total to the leadership contestants in a particular leadership contest
  • Limits are adjusted for inflation
No Yes No No Yes (up to $20) One time contribution of $1,500
Newfoundland and Labrador – Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (up to $100) –
Prince Edward Island – Yes Yes Yes Yes No –
Nova Scotia $5,000 total per year from an individual to each registered party and all electoral district associations and candidates of that party, as well as to independent candidates and registered third parties No, unless resident outside of province temporarily Yes No No No Up to $5,000 per year. Principle cannot be used as collateral for a loan
New Brunswick $6,000 per year from an individual, corporation or trade union to each registered political party or its district associations and to one independent candidate Yes Yes Yes Yes No –
Quebec
  • $100 in total from same elector in same year to each party, independent member and independent candidate
  • An additional contribution of $100 from same elector to each party, independent member and independent candidate during a general election or by-election
  • Only cash contributions amounting to $50 or less can be directly remitted to the official representatives of the party or the candidates. Otherwise, they have to be given to the Chief Electoral Officer for the benefit of an authorized party
  • $500 in total per elector during a leadership campaign
No Yes (only electors) No No No –
Ontario From a person, corporation or trade union:
  • To each party: $7,500 per year x indexation factor
  • To each constituency association: $1,000 per year x indexation factor
  • To constituency associations of any one party: aggregate amount of $5,000 per year x indexation factor
  • To each candidate: $1,000 per campaign x indexation factor
  • To candidates endorsed by one party: aggregate amount of $5,000 per campaign x indexation factor
No (must normally reside or conduct business in Ontario) Yes Yes (except registered charities) Yes No –
Manitoba $3,000 total in a calendar year from an individual to candidates, constituency associations or registered political parties or any combination of them; and $3,000 total in leadership contest period to one or more contestants No (must normally reside in Manitoba) Yes No No Yes (up to $10) –
Saskatchewan – Yes (must be from a Canadian citizen) Yes Yes Yes Yes (up to $250) –
Alberta From individuals ordinarily resident in Alberta:

In a year –
  • To a party: $15,000
  • To a constituency association: $1,000
  • To constituency associations of each party: $5,000 in aggregate
During a campaign –
  • To a party: $30,000 less amounts contributed in the year
  • To a candidate: $2,000
  • To candidates of each party: $10,000 in aggregate
No (must normally reside in Alberta) Yes No No Yes (up to $50) –
British Columbia
  • Political parties and constituency associations must not accept more than $10,000 in anonymous contributions in a calendar year
  • Candidates, leadership contestants and nomination contestants may only accept up to $3,000 from anonymous sources in relation to any one election or contest
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes – at fundraising functions only (up to $50) –
Yukon A candidate or registered political party shall not accept a contribution of more than $50 from an unincorporated group unless it is accompanied by a statement disclosing the necessary information Yes Yes Yes Yes No –
Northwest Territories
  • An official agent or authorized person must not accept more than $1,500 in anonymous contributions in a calendar year
  • From an individual, association or organization to a candidate during a campaign: $1,500.Footnote 1 May not make a contribution before the beginning of a campaign period
No Yes Yes Yes Yes (up to $100) –
Nunavut From an individual, corporation, association or organization to a candidate during a campaign: $2,500Footnote 1 No Yes Yes Yes (unincorporated organizations or associations if statement is included) Yes (up to $100) –

Footnote 1 Political parties are not recognized in the Northwest Territories or Nunavut.

Table G.3 Limits on expensesFootnote 1

Jurisdiction Political parties – election expenses Candidates – election expenses Third parties – advertising expenses
Canada
  • $0.735 x number of names on preliminary or revised lists of electors (whichever is greater) in electoral districts where party endorses a candidate x inflation index factor
  • By-election: same as above
Aggregate of:
  • $2.1735 x first 15,000 electors on preliminary or revised lists of electors (whichever is greater)
  • $1.092 x next 10,000 electors
  • $0.546 x number of remaining electors
By-election: same as above
  • No more than $150,000 during an election period relating to a general election. Of that, no more than $3,000 shall be incurred to promote or oppose the election of one or more candidates in a given electoral district
  • No more than $3,000 in a given electoral district during the election period for a by-election
Newfoundland and Labrador
  • $3.125 x number of names on revised list of electors in electoral districts where party endorses a candidate; minimum $12,000 for each electoral district
  • By-election: same as above
  • $3.125 x number of names on revised list of electors; minimum $12,000
  • By-election: same as above
–
Prince Edward Island
  • $6.00 x number of electors entitled to vote in electoral districts where party endorses an official candidate
  • By-election: same as above
  • $1.75 x number of electors entitled to vote
  • By-election: same as above
–
Nova Scotia
  • $2.29 x number of electors in electoral districts where party endorses an official candidate
  • By-election: $5,723.20
  • Plus CPI
Aggregate of:
  • $5.72 x first 5,000 electors
  • $4.86 x next 5,000 electors
  • $4.29 x number of remaining electors
By-election: same as above

Plus CPI
  • No more than $10,000 during an election period relating to a general election. Of that, no more than $2,000 shall be incurred to promote or oppose the election of one or more candidates in a given electoral district
  • No more than $2,000 in a given electoral district during the election period for a by-election
  • Plus CPI
New Brunswick
  • $1.00 x number of electors in electoral districts where party endorses a candidate
  • By-election: $7,000
  • $1.75 x number of electors; minimum $11,000, maximum $22,000
  • By-election: $2.00 x number of electors; minimum $11,000, maximum $22,000
1.3% of election expenses limit of registered parties; only 10% of this amount may be spent on election advertising that relates to a single electoral district.
Quebec
  • $0.65 (indexed) x number of electors in electoral divisions where party endorses an official candidate
  • By-election: political parties may not incur expenses
  • $0.70 (indexed) x number of electors
  • Duplessis, Rouyn-Noranda–Tιmiscamingue, Renι-Lιvesque and Ungava: $0.90 (indexed) per elector; Iles-de-la-Madeleine: $1.55 (indexed) per elector
  • By-election: $1.35 (indexed) x number of electors
Up to $300 per authorized private intervenor
Ontario
  • $0.60 x indexation factor x number of electors on list of electors or number of electors entitled to vote, whichever is greater, in an electoral district where a party endorses an official candidate
  • By-election: same as above
  • $0.96 x indexation factor x number of electors on list of electors or number of electors entitled to vote, whichever is greater; increased by $7,000 in specified districts
  • By-election: same as above
–
Manitoba
  • $1.92 (adjusted) x number of names on final voters lists in electoral divisions where party endorses a candidate
  • By-election: $3.45 (adjusted) x number of names on final voters listsFootnote 2
Electoral divisions with
  • less than 30,000 square milesFootnote 3: $2.91 (adjusted) x number of names on final voters lists
  • more than 30,000 square miles: $4.64 (adjusted) x number of names on final voters lists
By-election: same as above
Up to $5,000 during an election period
Saskatchewan
  • $673,783 (adjusted)
  • By-election:
    • Northern constituencies (2 constituencies): $39,082 (adjusted) per candidate endorsed
    • Southern constituencies: the greater of $32,567 (adjusted) or $2.60 (adjusted) x number of names on voters list, per candidate
  • Northern constituencies: the greater of $52,108 (adjusted) or $5.21 (adjusted) x number of names on voters list
  • Southern constituencies: the greater of $39,082 (adjusted) or $2.60 (adjusted) x number of names on voters list
  • By-election: same as above
–
Alberta – – Election advertising contributions made by any person, corporation, trade union, employee organization registered as a third party cannot exceed, in aggregate:
  • $15,000 in any calendar year in which there is not a general election
  • $30,000 in any calendar year in which there is a general election
British Columbia
  • During campaign period, expenses must not exceed $4.4 million
  • By-election: total value of expenses incurred by a party during campaign period must not exceed $70,000
  • During campaign period, expenses must not exceed $70,000
Per sponsor, no more than $3,000 in relation to a single electoral district and $150,000 overall
Yukon – – –
Northwest Territories No political parties $30,000 cumulative limit for the pre-election and campaign periods –
Nunavut No political parties $30,000 plus travel and living expenses, childcare expenses, and expenses approved in advance by the Chief Electoral Officer and related to a disability suffered by the candidate –

Footnote 1 All jurisdictions except Alberta, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut adjust spending limits according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Footnote 2 Election expenses include advertising.

Footnote 3 1 square mile = 2.59 km2.

Table G.4 Deadline for reporting contributions and expenses

Jurisdiction Candidates Political parties – annual fiscal return Political parties – election expenses return Local associations Other
CanadaFootnote 1 4 months after polling day 6 months after end of fiscal year 8 months after polling day 5 months after end of fiscal period
  • Third parties: 4 months after polling day
  • Leadership contestants: 6 months after end of leadership contest
  • Nomination contestants: 4 months after selection date
Newfoundland and Labrador 4 months after polling day On or before April 1 4 months after polling day – –
Prince Edward Island 120 days after return of writ On or before May 31 120 days after return of writ – –
Nova Scotia 80 days after return of writ 120 days after end of fiscal year 120 days after return of writ Annual; on or before March 31 Third parties: 4 months after election day
New Brunswick 60 days after return of writ Semi-annual; on or before October 1 and April 1 120 days after return of writ Annual; on or before April 1
  • Third parties: 90 days after polling day
  • Leadership contestants: 60 days after leadership convention
  • Nomination contestants: 30 days after leadership convention
Quebec 90 days after polling day On or before April 30 120 days after polling day Annual; on or before April 1
  • Third parties: 30 days after polling day
  • Leadership contestants: 90 days after vote
  • Chief Electoral Officer: Shall publish no later than April 1 each year, in the Gazette officielle du Quιbec, a summary statement of every amount paid to the official representative of a political party, an independent member or an independent candidate under this division
Ontario 6 months after polling day On or before May 31 6 months after polling day
  • Annual: on or before May 31
  • Election: 6 months after polling day
Leadership contestants:
  • For period beginning at official call until 2 months after vote: within 6 months after leadership vote
  • For 12-month period beginning 2 months after vote: within 20 months
Manitoba 4 months after election day On or before March 31 4 months after election day On or before January 31
  • Third parties: 90 days after election day; if there is money remaining, shall produce a report 31 days after end of year
  • Leadership contestants: 30 days after end of leadership contest period
Saskatchewan 3 months after polling day 4 months after end of fiscal year 6 months after polling day – –
Alberta 4 months after polling day (unless annual revenue and expenses do not each exceed $1,000) On or before March 31 (unless annual revenue and expenses do not each exceed $1,000) 6 months after polling day Annual; on or before March 31
  • Third parties' election advertising reports: 6 months after polling day, or, if third party accepts or incurs election advertising expenses outside of an election, it must submit an annual report on or before March 31 the following year
  • Leadership contestants: 4 months after polling day
British Columbia 90 days after polling day On or before March 31 90 days after polling day
  • Annual: on or before March 31
  • Election: 90 days after polling day
  • Third parties: 90 days after polling day
  • Leadership contestants: 90 days after vote
Yukon 90 days after return of writ On or before March 31 90 days after return of writ – Official agent of a candidate: shall issue to each of the candidate’s contributors a receipt no later than the last day of the campaign period
Northwest Territories 60 days after polling day No political parties No political parties – –
Nunavut 60 days after polling day No political parties No political parties – –

Footnote 1 A registered party that received at least 2% of valid votes or at least 5% of valid votes in electoral districts where it endorsed candidates in the last general election must provide the Chief Electoral Officer with a return within 30 days after the end of each quarter of the fiscal period.

Table G.5 Entities required to report

Jurisdiction Candidates Political parties Local associations Third parties Leadership contestants Nomination contestants
Canada Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Newfoundland and Labrador Yes Yes – – – –
Prince Edward Island Yes Yes – – – –
Nova Scotia Yes Yes Yes Yes – –
New Brunswick Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Quebec Yes Yes Yes Yes – –
Ontario Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes –
Manitoba Yes Yes Yes – Yes –
Saskatchewan Yes Yes – – – –
Alberta Yes Yes Yes Yes – –
British Columbia Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Yukon Yes Yes – – – –
Northwest Territories Yes Footnote 1 – – – –
Nunavut Yes Footnote 1 – – – –

Footnote 1 Political parties are not recognized in the Northwest Territories or Nunavut.

Table G.6 Requirements of financial reports

Jurisdiction Auditor's report Personal expenses (candidates only) Donations by class Amount of contribution that requires detailed disclosure Name and address of donor Receipts and vouchers
Canada Candidates, political parties, leadership contestants (if required), nomination contestants (if required), registered association (if required)Footnote 1, third parties (if incurred $5,000 in expenses) Yes Third parties Over $200 All Candidates, nomination contestants and leadership contestants include receipts and vouchers with auditor's report; third parties (if requested by CEO)
Newfoundland and Labrador All Yes – Over $100 All –
Prince Edward Island All – – Over $250 Annual returns of political parties All
Nova Scotia Candidates, political parties, electoral district associations (if incurred $10,000 in expenses)Footnote 2 – – $200 or more All Candidates, political parties
New Brunswick
  • Registered political parties
  • If appointed by Supervisor, independent candidates, district associations, leadership contestants, nomination contestants and third parties
– Leadership contestants, nomination contestants and third parties Over $100 All All
Quebec Political parties (only for the annual financial report) – – All contributions All All
Ontario Candidates, political parties, constituency associations, leadership contestants, third parties – – Over $100 All Tax receipt information from candidates, parties and constituency associations
Manitoba Candidates, political parties, leadership contestants, constituency associations Yes – $250 or more Candidate must submit statement listing each contributor's name and total amount he or she contributed Leadership contestants
Saskatchewan All Yes All Over $250 Name only for all reports All
Alberta Political parties, third partiesFootnote 3 – – Over $250 All Third parties: if requested by CEO (over $50)
British Columbia Candidates, political parties, constituency associationsFootnote 4 Yes All Over $250 All Candidates, political parties, registered constituency associations
YukonFootnote 5 – – – Over $250 All All
Northwest Territories – – – Over $100 Candidates Candidates
Nunavut Candidates (independent auditor working for Elections Nunavut) – – Over $100 Candidates Candidates

Footnote 1 An auditor's report is required from nomination contestants whose expenses or contributions exceed $10,000; and from leadership contestants and registered electoral district associations that accept contributions or incur expenses of $5,000 or more in a fiscal period.

Footnote 2 Comes into force on proclamation or on January 1, 2016, if not proclaimed in force before that day. Until that time, a report is necessary if $5,000 in expenses is incurred.

Footnote 3 Third parties in Alberta are required to provide an audited financial statement within 6 months after polling day if their election expenses are over $100,000.

Footnote 4 Only if the value of contributions, election expenses or contestant expenses is $10,000 or more.

Footnote 5 Donations made at a meeting or rally held for political purposes are deemed not to be anonymous contributions but shall be reported in either or both of the annual revenue return under section 383 of the Elections Act and the election revenue return under section 386 of the Elections Act.

Table G.7 Specific provisions governing advertising and opinion polls

Jurisdiction Limit on advertising spending Blackout period Government advertising Authorization Restrictions on
opinion polls
Canada Third party: (adjusted) $3,000 per electoral district, to a maximum of $150,000 nationally per election period Polling day until close of all polls in electoral district No transmission through government means Any advertising must indicate that it was authorized by candidate's official agent or registered agent of political party
  • Upon first release and upon release within 24 hours of first release, any opinion poll or survey must publish identifying information, dates, number of people contacted and margin of error. For published surveys, must provide wording of questions, and more detailed and statistical information upon request
  • On election day, no person is authorized to publish the results of an election survey that has not previously been released to the public before all the polls close in an electoral district
Newfoundland and Labrador – Polling day and day before polling day – Authorizing person, union, corporation, candidate or political party, as well as sponsor of the advertising, must be identified in writing to publisher –
Prince Edward Island – – – Authorizing person, union, corporation or political party, as well as sponsor of the advertising, must be identified in writing to publisher or broadcaster, and all election advertising must make reference to this information –
Nova ScotiaFootnote 1 Third party: $2,000 to promote or oppose a candidate in a given electoral district, to a maximum of $10,000 provincially in an election period – Every advertisement must indicate that it was authorized by the official agent of the candidate or registered party
  • Upon first release and upon release within 24 hours of first release, opinion poll or survey must provide sponsor's name, person or organization that conducted it, dates, population from which sample was drawn, number of people contacted and margin of error
  • Published surveys must provide wording of questions and how to obtain survey report
  • On election day, no person is authorized to publish the results of an election survey not previously released to the public
New Brunswick Outside election period:
  • Political party: $35,000 per year
  • District association or independent candidate: $2,000 per year
Third party during general election:
  • Cannot exceed 1.3% of the election expenses limit for political parties, and only 10% of this amount may be spent on advertising relating to a single electoral district
Polling day and day before polling day – Every printed advertisement must bear the name and address of the printer and the name of the political party, leadership contestant, nomination contestant or candidate on whose behalf it was ordered. Where not ordered by a chief or official agent, it must also bear the name of the person who ordered its publication. Third parties must identify themselves and provide the name, telephone number and address of the person responsible for the books and records –
Quebec Authorized private intervenor: $300 The 7 days following election order; polling day – All election advertising must mention name and title of the official agent or deputy who has it disseminated, along with name of printer or manufacturer, if applicable –
Ontario – From issue of writ until 22nd day before polling day, polling day and day before polling day; does not apply:
  • to fixed-date elections
  • to official Web site of registered candidate or registered constituency association
– – On election day, no person, corporation, trade union, third party, constituency association or political party is authorized to publish, broadcast or transmit to the public the results of an election survey that has not previously been released to the public before all the polls close in an electoral district
Manitoba Political party: (adjusted)
  • During a general election: $0.99 x number of names on voters lists for all electoral divisions in which party endorses candidates
  • During a by-election: $1.72 x number of names on voters lists for electoral division
  • In the year of a fixed date election but outside of the writ period: Total advertising expenses of party shall not exceed $268,000
Candidate: (adjusted)
  • During any election: $0.60 x number of names on voters lists for electoral division
  • In the year of a fixed date election but outside of the writ period: A candidate shall not exceed $6,500 per yearFootnote 2
Third party:
  • Must not incur election communication expenses of more than $5,000 during an election period, whether in a general election or a by-election. Cannot in any manner circumvent or attempt to circumvent this limit
– No government department or Crown agency may publish or advertise any information about its programs or activities in the last 90 days before polling day, and on polling day, in the case of a fixed date election, or during the election period for any other general election or by-election. This does not apply to government advertising that is required by law, or that relates to public safety or ongoing programs No advertising may be printed, published or distributed without written authorization of official agent or chief financial officer of political party, candidate or constituency association, which must be displayed with advertisement –
Saskatchewan Political party: (adjusted) $195,407 per year for a registered political party, including its associations, candidates, and members of Legislative Assembly who are members of registered political party and using funds provided by registered political party –
  • During the 27-day period before polling day (the "election period") and for 30 days prior to this period, no government ministry shall advertise in any manner with respect to the activities of the ministry
  • 90 days prior to the election period, there is a restriction on advertising any information other than that which is intended to inform the public about programs and services for the public benefit
  • 120 days prior to the election period, no government ministry will be allowed to spend more than the amount spent on advertising during the corresponding 120-day period in the previous year
No person may distribute advertising that does not indicate that it was authorized by candidate's or party's business manager or official agent to be produced, published or distributed –
Alberta Third party: Election advertising contributions made by any person, corporation, trade union, employee organization registered as a third party cannot exceed, in aggregate:
  • $15,000 in any calendar year in which there is not a general election
  • $30,000 in any calendar year in which there is a general election
– –
  • Every printed, telephonic or electronic advertisement must bear the name and address of the person who sponsored it; this includes third parties
  • Chief Electoral Officer's website shall publish guidelines on advertisement
  • Chief Electoral Officer can remove or discontinue any advertisement that is not in compliance with the legislation
  • Upon first release and within 24 hours of first release, any opinion poll or survey must publish: name of sponsor, name of organization that conducted survey, date(s) survey was conducted, population from which sample was drawn, number of people contacted and margin of error
  • Published surveys must provide wording of questions, and more detailed and statistical information upon request
  • First person who transmits to public results of an election survey not based on recognized statistical methods during an election period, and any person who transmits them within 24 hours after they are first transmitted to public, must indicate that survey was not based on recognized statistical methods
  • On election day, no person is authorized to publish results of an election survey not previously released to public before all polls close in an electoral district
British Columbia Third party: $3,000 per electoral district, to a maximum of $150,000 provincially, per election period Polling day, until the close of all of the voting stations in the electoral district – All election advertising must identify name of sponsor or financial agent, indicate that it was authorized by that person, and give telephone number or mailing address of that person An individual or organization must not publish, broadcast or transmit to the public, in an electoral district on general voting day before the close of all of the voting stations in the electoral district, the results of an election opinion survey that have not previously been made available to the public
Yukon – – – All advertising must bear the name and address of person who sponsored it. No person may post or display in, or on the exterior surface of, a polling place any campaign literature or other material that could be taken as an indication of support for or opposition to a political party or the election of a candidate –
Northwest Territories – – – Any advertisement must bear the name and telephone number of sponsor or official agent –
Nunavut – – – All campaign material must identify the candidate and the campaign manager, sponsor or financial agent in accordance with Chief Electoral Officer's guidelines –

Footnote 1 The prohibition expands on campaign advertising to include advertising within 60 metres of the entrance to a polling station.

Footnote 2 Advertising is included in expenses limits for political parties and candidates. Excludes expenses for a leadership contest.