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Political Financing Handbook for Leadership Contestants and Financial Agents (EC 20195) – February 2020

15. Disposing of Surplus

This chapter explains what a surplus of campaign funds is, the rules for disposing of a surplus after all financial obligations have been met, and how to report the disposal. It covers the following topics:

  • What is a surplus?
  • Sale of capital assets
  • Notice of surplus from Elections Canada
  • If the financial agent is aware of a surplus
  • How to dispose of a surplus

What is a surplus?

The surplus amount of leadership campaign funds is the amount by which the contestant's leadership campaign revenues exceed the total of the leadership campaign expenses paid from the campaign bank account and transfers made by the contestant's campaign.

What is a surplus?
Text Description "What is a surplus?"

The amount of the surplus should equal the money left in the campaign bank account after all the financial obligations have been met.

Leadership campaign revenues Leadership campaign expenses Transfers made
  • Monetary contributions made to the leadership contestant
  • Any other amount deposited into the campaign bank account that was received by the leadership contestant for their leadership campaign and is not repayable, including bank interest and refunds from suppliers
For the purpose of calculating the surplus, this includes all expenses paid using funds from the campaign bank account Any funds the leadership contestant's campaign transfers to:
  • the registered party, or
  • a registered association of the party

Note: Surplus only relates to transactions that went through the campaign bank account. If some personal or litigation expenses were paid using outside funds, exclude them from the calculation.

Sale of capital assets

A capital asset is any property with a commercial value of more than $200 that is normally used outside a leadership contest other than for the purposes of a contest.

If the campaign has any capital asset whose acquisition constitutes a leadership campaign expense, the financial agent must sell the asset at fair market value and include the funds in the surplus disposal.

Note: Capital assets must be sold and the funds transferred to a specified political entity. The assets themselves cannot be transferred.

Notice of estimated surplus from Elections Canada

After Elections Canada reviews the leadership contestant's return and pays the auditor's subsidy, it may determine that the leadership contestant has a surplus of campaign funds. Elections Canada sends a notice about the estimated amount of the surplus to the leadership contestant's financial agent.

The financial agent has to dispose of the surplus within 60 days of receiving the notice.

If the financial agent is aware of a surplus

If the financial agent is aware of a surplus of campaign funds but has not yet received a notice from Elections Canada, the financial agent has to dispose of the surplus within 60 days after filing the Leadership Contestant's Campaign Return.

How to dispose of a surplus

Surplus leadership campaign funds have to be transferred to:

  • the registered party, or
  • a registered association of the party

The financial agent has to report the disposal by submitting the Leadership Contestant's Statement of Surplus / Amended Campaign Return within seven days after disposing of the surplus.

The financial agent might also use this form to report financial transactions that occurred since the original contestant's return was submitted. Elections Canada will treat new transactions reported in the Leadership Contestant's Statement of Surplus / Amended Campaign Return as a request to correct or revise the Leadership Contestant's Campaign Return and will update the return accordingly.

Note: Elections Canada publishes the notice referring to the disposal of the surplus on its website.

For details about closing the leadership contestant's campaign, please see Closing the leadership contestant's campaign in Chapter 1, Reference Tables and Timelines.