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Political Financing Handbook for Candidates and Official Agents (EC 20155) – July 2021

About This Document

Introduction to the handbook

This handbook is designed to help candidates and their official agents in administering the candidate's campaign before, during and after an election.

This document is a general guideline issued pursuant to section 16.1 of the Canada Elections Act. It is provided for information and is not intended to replace the Act.

Elections Canada will review the contents of this handbook on a regular basis and make updates as required.

Note: The term "individual" used in this handbook refers to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

What's new in this release?

Release Where Title Summary
July 2022 Chapters 1 and 16 Contact information

Submitting reports to Elections Canada
Local fax number discontinued and deleted.
July 2021 All n/a Contribution limits for 2021 updated in tables and examples. New examples brought in from other handbooks.
Chapter 1 Role and appointment process—auditor Added a reminder to ask auditors about their eligibility under provincial or territorial rules.
Important reminders for candidates and their official agents Corrected to state that anyone can pay the candidate's litigation expenses or personal expenses within certain limits.
Chapter 2 Volunteer labour is not a contribution Content added from OGI 2019-01, Volunteer Labour, about conditional compensation and capital assets as gifts. New content added on supporting documents. Examples added and amended. Standardized with compensation of workers in Chapter 8.
Activities conducted by others in coordination with the candidate's campaign may be contributions New section to clarify that a third party may be making a contribution when it acts to benefit a candidate.
Chapter 3 Types of loans Clarified that loans should have a term ending no later than three years after election day.
Chapter 4 Irregular transfers New section on consequences of irregular transfers, as per OGI 2020‑07, Irregular Transfers Between Affiliated Political Entities.
Chapter 6 Fundraising expenses New note on reporting fundraisers conducted by the registered association during an election period.
Regulated fundraising events Clarified when a leadership contestant ceases to be a prominent attendee.
  New content added on virtual events, as per OGI 2020-06, Regulated Fundraising Events.
Chapter 7 Who can incur expenses? Added a definition of what it means to incur an expense.
Chapter 8 Uncancellable advertising or activities New section on the exclusion of uncancellable advertising or activities from election expenses.
What qualifies as election advertising on the Internet? Clarified that boosting content originally posted for free is advertising.

New content on when a social media influencer's posts are advertising.
Mass text messaging New section on telecommunications rules for text messages.
Rental of a campaign office Added example of installation expenses and prorated expenses.
Cell phones New section on election expenses related to personal and campaign cell phones.
Campaign workers and related expenses New position that return trips after the election period may be election expenses. New details on election expenses related to campaign workers. Standardized with volunteer labour in Chapter 2.
High-profile campaigners and invited guests New section on election expenses related to the participation of high-profile campaigners.
Chapter 9 Candidate's Personal Expenses (various sections in the chapter) New position that personal expenses over the limits set by Elections Canada should continue to be reported as personal expenses rather than other electoral campaign expenses.
Childcare Added examples of childcare expenses that may and may not be claimed as personal expenses.
Chapter 10 Use of travel reward points Content added on candidates using reward points for campaign travel.
Meals and incidentals Clarified that a candidate's per diem can be an election expense if it is part of their compensation.
Chapter 13 What are "other" electoral campaign expenses? Clarified when the early rental of a campaign office by a registered association is the candidate's electoral campaign expense.
Replacement or repair of damaged property New section on excluding some expenses for damaged property from election expenses.
Chapter 15 Interacting with Third Parties in the Pre-election and Election Periods New chapter on allowable and prohibited interactions with third parties in the pre-election and election periods.
  Chapter 16 Requesting a filing deadline extension Content added on requesting an extension from a judge.
  Chapter 17 Reimbursements and overpayments Clarified which sources an expense can be paid from to be eligible for reimbursement.
Auditor's subsidy Deleted the statement that campaigns mistakenly filing an auditor's report are never eligible for a subsidy.
  Chapter 19 Repayment of a surplus to independent or non-affiliated candidates New content on repayments of surplus for missed electoral campaign expenses.
  Chapter 20 By-elections Superseded by a General Election (various sections in the chapter) Updated with technical changes from Bill C-76.
  Chapter 21 Cancelled Election or Postponed Election Day New chapter on financial administration when a writ is withdrawn or election day is postponed.

Contact information

Telephone Political Entities Support Network

Regular Hours
Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Eastern time)

Elections Canada General Enquiries
Fax Political Financing
1-888-523-9333 (toll-free)
Mail Elections Canada
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0M6
Email General Enquiries

Political Financing Enquiries

Electronic Financial Return (EFR)—Enquiries and Submissions