open Secondary menu

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

21. Cancelled Election or Postponed Election Day

This chapter describes the differences in administering a campaign when an election is cancelled or election day is postponed in an electoral district. It covers the following topics:

  • Cancelled election: process, deemed election day, official agent and bank account, contribution and expenses limits, reimbursements, reporting and transfers
  • Postponed election day: process and effect

Cancelled election (withdrawal of the writ)

Note: The political financing rules in this section apply only to a candidate whose nomination was confirmed by the returning officer for a cancelled election.

Process to cancel an election

If the Chief Electoral Officer certifies that it is impracticable to administer the election in an electoral district because of a flood, fire or other disaster, the Governor in Council may order the withdrawal of the writ. This effectively cancels the current election in that electoral district.

Within three months after the Chief Electoral Officer publishes a notice of the withdrawal, a new writ must be issued for that electoral district by order of the Governor in Council. The new election period can be no more than 51 days.

Withdrawal date replaces election day

In the case of a cancelled election, the election is deemed to have taken place on the day that the writ is withdrawn. Reporting requirements and other obligations tied to the cancelled election apply as if election day were the date of the withdrawal. For example, a candidate's return is due within four months after the withdrawal of the writ.

Official agent and new bank account for new election

Candidates in any election must appoint an official agent before incurring expenses or accepting contributions, loans or transfers. The official agent must open a separate bank account to be used exclusively for that campaign.

Candidates in a cancelled election who decide to run when a new writ is issued will need to again appoint an official agent, who could be the same person as for the cancelled election. The official agent will need to open a new, separate bank account to be used exclusively for the new campaign.

Note: The financial transactions for the cancelled election and new election must be managed separately.

Limits on contributions, loans and loan guarantees for a new election

The table below displays the limit on contributions, loans and loan guarantees as it applies to a new election that replaces a cancelled election.

As indicated in the notes, the per-election limit resets for independent candidates and candidates contributing to their own campaigns. The annual limit applies to all other contributions made in the year, whether for the cancelled election or new election.

Political entity 2021 annual limit Limit per election called between Jan. 1 and
Dec. 31, 2021
Candidates endorsed by a registered party $1,650* n/a
Independent candidates n/a $1,650*
Notes
  • The contribution limits apply to total contributions, the unpaid balance of loans made during the contribution period, and the amount of any loan guarantees made during the contribution period that an individual is still liable for. The sum of these three amounts cannot at any time exceed the contribution limit.
  • Independent candidates may accept contributions, loans and loan guarantees up to the contribution limit from eligible contributors for the cancelled election. In addition, they may accept contributions, loans and loan guarantees up to the contribution limit from the same contributors for the new election. This is because, in the case of independent candidates, the contribution limit applies not per year, but per election.
  • Once confirmed, candidates can issue tax receipts for the contributions they receive.
  • All contributions received by confirmed candidates in the cancelled election can later be transferred and used for the new election.
There is an exception to the limits on contributions:
  • Candidates, whether they are independent or endorsed by a registered party, can make contributions, loans and loan guarantees of up to $5,000 in total to their campaign in the  cancelled election, as well as another $5,000 in total to their campaign in the new election.
  • A candidate is also permitted to give an additional $1,650* in total per year in contributions, loans and loan guarantees to other candidates, registered associations and nomination contestants of each party. (This includes contributions to the registered association in the candidate's electoral district and contributions to the candidate's own nomination campaign.)
*The limits increase by $25 on January 1 in each subsequent year.

Limit on election expenses

Candidates in the cancelled election are subject to the applicable election expenses limit. The limit is not affected by the fact that the length of the election period has been reduced.

Note: The election expenses limit for the new election may be slightly different. Candidates and their official agents must ensure that they respect the election expenses limits for both elections. Limits are published on the Elections Canada website.

Reimbursement of expenses and reporting

All confirmed candidates in a cancelled election are deemed to have received 10% of the valid votes and are entitled to receive an initial reimbursement equal to 15% of the election expenses limit.

Candidates must file their return within four months after the withdrawal of the writ. Because they are deemed to have received 10% of the votes, they must also file an auditor's report. As is the case for all elections, they will be eligible for a total reimbursement equal to 60% of their paid election expenses and 60% or 90% of certain other expenses.

Candidates whose final reimbursement amount is less than the initial reimbursement paid to their campaign will need to return the overpayment (for details, see Chapter 17, Reimbursements and Subsidies).

Note: Expenses are eligible for reimbursement only once, either in relation to the cancelled election or the new election.

Transfers to the campaign for the new election

The Canada Elections Act allows for the transfer of any money from the candidate's account for the cancelled election (including the initial reimbursement) to the account for the new election.

The Canada Elections Act also allows for the transfer of property or services acquired for the  cancelled election to the campaign for the new election. The ability to transfer property and services is important as it allows the campaign for the new election to account for such things as signs and office facilities that continue to be used from one election to the other.

The same property or services may be used during both elections. In that case, expenses for property or services transferred to the campaign for the new election must be reported for both elections are subject to the election expenses limit for both elections, if they meet the definition of an election expense.

Example

An election is cancelled because of a wildfire, and a new election is called a month later. A candidate's campaign had purchased signs for the cancelled election and now transfers them to their campaign for the new election. The expenses are election expenses for both campaigns.

Postponed election day

Process to postpone election day

The Chief Electoral Officer may certify that it is impracticable to administer the election in an electoral district because of a flood, fire or other disaster.

If the Governor in Council does not believe that withdrawing the writ is warranted, the Governor in Council may postpone election day by up to seven days. This does not cancel the current election but rather extends the election period.

Effect of postponement

When election day is postponed, all reporting deadlines are calculated in relation to the new election day. For example, a candidate's return is due within four months after the new election day.

Election expenses limits for candidates are increased by a prorated amount based on the length of the postponement. Elections Canada will publish the revised limits on its website.

There is no effect on the contribution limits.