Political Financing Handbook for Candidates and Official Agents (EC 20155) – February 2018
Note: This handbook is to be used for elections called before June 13, 2019. For later elections, please use the November 2019 version of the handbook.
9. Candidate's Personal Expenses
This chapter discusses the candidate's personal expenses and reporting requirements. It covers the following topics:
- What are the candidate's personal expenses?
- What are the reporting requirements, including when expenses are nil?
- Travel and living expenses
- Care and disability expenses
- Compensation of candidate's representatives
- Other personal expenses
What are the candidate's personal expenses?
Personal expenses of the candidate include the following types of expenses listed in the Canada Elections Act and reasonably incurred in relation to the candidate’s campaign:
- travel and living expenses
- child care expenses
- expenses related to the provision of care for a person with a physical or mental incapacity for whom the candidate normally provides such care
- in the case of a candidate who has a disability, additional personal expenses that are related to the disability
- expenses incurred to pay candidate's representatives at a polling station or at the office of a returning officer
- other personal expenses—that is, all personal expenses other than those in the preceding categories. There is currently a $200 limit set by Elections Canada on other personal expenses.
The candidate's personal expenses do not count against the election expenses limit.
The candidate's personal expenses have to be incurred as an incidence of the election. They may include new expenses or increases in normally incurred expenses. In other words, they have to be expenses that the candidate would not normally incur if there was no election.
The expenses of day-to-day meals in the candidate's home are not related to the campaign because meals are consumed regularly outside the election period. On the other hand, if the candidate has to travel because of the campaign, she might incur meal expenses during the trip. A $50 dinner consumed by the candidate while travelling in the riding is recorded as the candidate's personal expense.
What are the reporting requirements?
The candidate is responsible for keeping invoices and other documents in relation to their personal expenses.
All invoices and receipts have to accompany the Candidate's Statement of Personal Expenses statement. The candidate has to prepare the statement and submit it to the official agent within three months after election day.
Note: The candidate has to submit the Candidate's Statement of Personal Expenses even if the personal expenses were nil.
Candidate's personal expense categories
The following are examples of typical personal expenses that the candidate might incur in relation to their campaign.
Travel and living
If the candidate travels to meet constituents during the campaign, the travel and living expenses incurred for the trips are personal expenses of the candidate. If the candidate relocates temporarily to their electoral district during the campaign, the rental and the travel expense to reach the electoral district are personal expenses of the candidate.
If the candidate uses a personal vehicle for travel, the candidate may submit receipts for gas and other expenses, or may submit a mileage log. The mileage log should contain the following information: the date, the point of origin, the destination, the kilometres travelled and the purpose of travel. Elections Canada follows the kilometric rates established by the Treasury Board of Canada.
An important point is that the expenses of campaign workers and volunteers accompanying the candidate during the election period on trips, or assisting the candidate during events, are considered election expenses—not the candidate's personal expenses.
Expenses incurred for return trips of campaign workers and volunteers after the election period are not election expenses.
Note: The travel claim has to be either for actual expenses, such as fuel and rental costs, or else for mileage. The claim cannot be for both.
The candidate rents a car to travel in the riding and meet with voters during the election period. The car rental and fuel costs are recorded as personal expenses of the candidate. In addition, the cost of the candidate's lodging and meals during the trip are also personal expenses. The candidate travels with his campaign manager, who is a volunteer. The expenses associated with the campaign manager's lodging and meals during the trip are election expenses.
During the election campaign, the candidate might engage in campaign activities during the daytime or evenings, or on weekends. Child care expenses incurred as an incidence of the election are incremental expenses because they would not normally occur if there was no election. The additional child care cost is a personal expense of the candidate.
Care for a person with a physical or mental incapacity
If the candidate normally provides care for a person with a physical or mental incapacity, additional care might be needed during the campaign for the times when the candidate is engaged in campaign activities. The cost of additional care is a personal expense of the candidate.
Expenses related to a disability
In the case of a candidate with a disability, the additional personal expenses that are related to the disability, and are reasonably incurred as an incidence of the candidate's campaign, are personal expenses of the candidate.
The candidate has a disability that requires the services of a caregiver when the candidate travels. This person accompanies the candidate on trips in the candidate's riding. The expenses of this additional care are personal expenses of the candidate.
Expenses to pay candidate's representatives
Unremunerated candidate's representatives at the polls provide volunteer labour, which is not considered an election expense.
However, if the candidate decides to pay for the compensation of their representatives at the polls or at the office of the returning officer when electors receive special ballots, these expenses are personal expenses of the candidate.
Other personal expenses
This category includes personal expenses other than those in the preceding categories. Unlike the previously discussed categories of personal expenses, this category has a limit of $200 established by Elections Canada.
Other personal expenses in excess of the $200 limit that were reasonably incurred as an incidence of the election are electoral campaign expenses other than election or personal expenses.
This is the category in which to report items such as costs of dry cleaning, personal grooming or the candidate's cellphone use. All the items reported must be for expenses that the candidate would not normally incur if there was no election.
The candidate makes and receives calls related to the campaign on her own cellphone. The candidate can claim any expenses in excess of her normal cellphone expenses as other personal expenses, to a maximum of $200 in total other personal expenses. Amounts in excess of $200 reasonably incurred as an incidence of the election are reported as electoral campaign expenses other than election or personal expenses.