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Compendium of Election Administration in Canada: A Comparative Overview

G. Election Financing and Advertising

Public funding

All jurisdictions, with the exception of Quebec, 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 Ontario 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, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Those contributions are allowed up to a specified amount ranging from $10 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, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick 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, New Brunswick, Ontario, 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. Yukon is the only jurisdiction that does 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, Alberta and British Columbia) also establish a limit on election advertising expenses incurred by them. The limit is a fixed amount specified in the legislation and is not linked to the number of electors in the electoral district.

Canada and Alberta are the only jurisdictions 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 Alberta, nomination contestants must file a campaign return within four months of the nomination 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, and 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 Ontario, political advertising includes advertising via broadcast, print, electronic or other medium. In Nunavut, election advertising includes advertising via social media, including Twitter, Facebook and other social media. In Alberta, third party advertising is defined in two ways: election advertising, which takes place during the 28-day election period; and political advertising, which takes place at any point outside of the 28-day election period.

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; in Ontario it is 60 days, 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:
$7,000 and is indexed to inflation
For each fiscal year, an annual allowance will be paid to each qualifying political party in accordance with the following formula
: (A - B) × (C + D x 1.5) /
(E + F x 1.5)
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
E = total number of valid votes cast for all of the male official candidates of all the qualifying political parties at the preceding general election
F = total number of valid votes cast for all of the female official candidates of all the qualifying political parties at the 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 $0.68 (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 $0.74 (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: $1.56 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
Quarterly allowance determined by the Chief Electoral Officer.
Allowance is payable to registered party whose candidate received at least 2% of the valid votes cast or 5% of the valid votes cast in the districts where the party endorsed a candidate.
Calculation:
  • In the 2017 calendar year, $0.678 multiplied by the number of valid votes cast for the party's candidates in the election
  • In the 2018 calendar year, $0.636 multiplied by the number of valid votes cast for the party's candidates
  • In the 2019 calendar year, $0.594 multiplied by the number of valid votes cast for the party's candidates
  • In the 2020 calendar year, $0.552 multiplied by the number of valid votes cast for the party's candidates
  • In each subsequent calendar year, $0.510 multiplied by the indexation factor determined for the calendar year and further multiplied by the number of valid votes cast for the party's candidates in the election
A merged party is entitled to the aggregate of the allowances to which the merging parties of which it is composed would have been entitled if they had not merged
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 cast, 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
  • 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 $1100: lesser of $1,000, or $600 + 33.33% of amount over $1,100
Yes, if the registered candidate files the campaign financial statement by the filing deadline
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
  • every candidate who files a completed election financing return by the legislated deadline, or requests an extension by the legislated timeline, 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


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. Principal cannot be used as collateral for a loan
New Brunswick $3,000 per yearFootnote 1 from an individual to each registered political party and/or any combination of its district associations and to one independent candidate Yes YesFootnote 2 No No 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 individuals:
  • To a single fundraising event, registered party, constituency association, nomination contestant, candidate, non-party candidate or leadership contestant: $1,200, multiplied by the indexation factor
No (must normally reside in Ontario) Yes No No No
ManitobaFootnote 3
  • $5,000 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
  • Cash contributions are limited to $25 or less
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)
AlbertaFootnote 4
  • $4,000 per calendar year, in aggregate, to any registered political parties, registered constituency associations, registered leadership contestants, registered candidates and registered nomination contestants
  • Contributions by a person ordinarily resident in Alberta shall not exceed in any year $4,000
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 5 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 5 No Yes Yes Yes (unincorpor-ated organizations or associations if statement is included) Yes (up to $100)

Footnote 1 Effective January 1, 2018; $6,000 per year prior to this date.

Footnote 2 Expenditures incurred from personal funds or credit and not reimbursed by an official representative or chief/official agent are deemed to be contributions and are subject to the annual limit for individuals.

Footnote 3 The number of names on the preliminary voters list (not the voters list from the previous general election) is to be used to determine the minimum election expense limits for candidates and parties. Constituency associations are now required to file unaudited financial statements with the Chief Electoral Officer.

Footnote 4 Any payments made on a loan as a result of a guarantee are not considered contributions in that year, but if eligible, a receipt will be issued for tax purposes. Additionally, any existing loans that are secured by collateral or guarantee must be renegotiated in consultation with the Chief Electoral Officer in order to become compliant.

Footnote 5 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
  • $9.06 x number of electors entitled to vote in electoral districts where party endorses an official candidate
  • By-election: same as above
  • $2.64 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
  • Annual political advertising limit is $200,000 per registered political party and $3,000 per registered district association, subject to an aggregate limit of $200,000 for a party and its associations
  • $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
  • $0.68 (indexed) x number of electors in electoral divisions where party endorses an official candidate
  • By-election: political parties may not incur expenses
  • $0.74 (indexed) x number of electors
  • Duplessis, Rouyn-Noranda–Témiscamingue, René-Lévesque and Ungava: $0.94 (indexed) per elector; Îles-de-la-Madeleine: $1.65 (indexed) per elector
  • By-election: $1.42 (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
  • The total political advertising expenses during the six-month period before issue of a writ for a general election cannot exceed $1,000,000, multiplied by the indexation factor
  • $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
During election period, cannot exceed:
  • $4,000 in any electoral district in a by-election or general election, multiplied by the indexation factor
  • $100,000 in total during any election period for a general election, multiplied by the indexation factor

Non-election period, cannot exceed:

  • $24,000 in any electoral district during the six-month period before issue of the writ
  • $600,000 in total multiplied by the indexation factor
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
Third-party spending for election communications: $25,000 during the election period for a general election, $100,000 during the 90-day period before the election period of a fixed-date election, and $5,000 for a by-election. These limits are indexed for inflation
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
  • $2,000,000 for political parties
  • $23,000 for any one electoral division for a by-election
$50,000 for individual candidates Election advertising contributions made by any person, corporation, trade union, employee organization registered as a third party cannot exceed, in aggregate:
  • $150,000 during a general election and no more than $3,000 to oppose candidates in a particular constituency or during a by-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
  • Mid-year return: on or before September 30;
    and
  • Full-year return: on or before May 31
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
  • Person authorized by a chief agent or an official agent to incur election expenses: if person incurs election expenses using his or her own money or credit, the person shall submit to the chief agent or official agent, as the case may be, not later than 20 days after polling day a detailed statement of all election expenses incurred by the person
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 Québec, 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 On or before March 31 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
  • Third-parties' political advertising 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 Yes Yes
Ontario Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Manitoba Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Saskatchewan Yes Yes
Alberta Yes 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
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 (unaudited) 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 partiesFootnote 3, third partiesFootnote 4, leadership contestantsFootnote 5 Over $250 All
  • Third parties: if requested by CEO, for every advertising contribution
  • Parties, candidates and nomination contestants: if requested by CEO to support election expense reports
British ColumbiaFootnote 6 Candidates, political parties, constituency associationsFootnote 6 Yes All Over $250 All Candidates, political parties, registered constituency associations
YukonFootnote 7 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 Registered political parties and registered constituency associations are required to file with Elections Alberta a complete listing of all contributions over $50 for the quarter and in aggregate across all quarters.

Footnote 4 Third parties in Alberta are required to provide an audited financial statement within six months after polling day if their election expenses are over $100,000.

Footnote 5 Only those who spend in excess of $25,000 on their campaign.

Footnote 6 Only if the value of contributions, election expenses or contestant expenses is $10,000 or more.

Footnote 7 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 election advertising spending Limit on third-party political advertising spendingFootnote 1 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 2 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: $200,000 per year
  • District association: $3,000 per year, subject to aggregate limit of $200,000 for party and its associations
  • Independent candidate: $3,000 per year
Third party during general election period:
  • 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 Third party during election period: Cannot exceed $4,000 in any electoral district in a by-election or general election, multiplied by the indexation factor. Cannot exceed $100,000 in total during any election period for a general election, multiplied by the indexation factor Cannot exceed $24,000 in any electoral district during the six-month period before issue of the writ, or $600,000 in total, multiplied by the indexation factor Polling day and day before polling day; does not apply:
  • to official website of registered candidate or registered constituency associationFootnote 3
Government advertising is prohibited 60 days before the issue of writ for scheduled general elections 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 and 90-day period before the election period of a fixed-date election: 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 and 90-day period before the election period of a fixed-date election: A candidate shall not exceed $6,500 per yearFootnote 4

Third party:
  • $25,000 during the election period for a general election, $100,000 during the 90-day period before the election period of a fixed-date election, and $5,000 for a by-election. These limits are indexed for inflation
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
  • Not more than $150,000 in the aggregate, in relation to a general election
  • $3,000 is applicable to support or oppose any individual in a specific electoral division
No spending limit outside of the 28-day election period
  • 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 Refers to advertising outside of the electoral period.

Footnote 2 The prohibition expands on campaign advertising to include advertising within 60 metres of the entrance to a polling station.

Footnote 3 The first advertising blackout period for unscheduled elections, set out in the Election Finances Act, is eliminated.

Footnote 4 Advertising is included in expenses limits for political parties and candidates. Excludes expenses for a leadership contest.