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Political Financing Handbook for Nomination Contestants and Financial Agents (EC 20182) – December 2018

Note: This handbook is to be used for contests starting on or after December 21, 2018. For earlier contests, please use the 2016 version of the handbook.

3. Loans

This chapter discusses eligible sources of loans and how different loans and interest are reported. It covers the following topics:

  • Getting a loan
  • Types of loans
  • Loan interest
  • Repaying a loan

Getting a loan

Loans are used as a source of financing. The financial agent has to manage campaign finances properly to ensure that all loans are repaid.

Nomination contestants may receive loans from either a financial institution or an individual who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Loans from any other person or entity are not permitted.

A written loan agreement must accompany all loans.

Loans from financial institutions

There is no limit to the amount a campaign can borrow from a financial institution. Note however that if the financial institution requires a loan guarantee, only individuals who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents can guarantee the loan. The amount an individual guarantees is subject to the individual's contribution limit.

Note: A financial institution must charge a fair market rate of interest on loans made to nomination contestants. Any forgone interest resulting from the financial institution charging a lower interest rate would constitute a non-monetary contribution from an ineligible contributor.


The campaign is planning to borrow $16,000 and the bank requires a guarantor for the loan. Because guarantees from individuals are subject to the contribution limit, the campaign needs at least 10 individuals to guarantee the requested amount. Each guarantor is limited to guaranteeing $1,600 of the total loan amount.

Note: This example uses the limits in effect for 2019.

Loans from individuals

If an individual obtains a personal loan from a financial institution and lends those funds to a campaign, the lender is the individual and not the financial institution. The loan amount would be subject to the individual's contribution limit.

An individual can lend money to a campaign as long as the total of the individual's contributions, the unpaid balance of loans made that year and the amount of any outstanding loan guarantees made that year does not at any time exceed the contribution limit in the calendar year that the loan was made.

Note: An individual cannot make a loan to a nomination contestant if the loan is made possible by the money, property or services of any person or entity that provided it to the individual for that purpose.


Khaled made a $600 contribution to Christine's nomination campaign. In addition, he takes out a $1,000 personal loan from his bank and lends it to the campaign. With that, Khaled has reached the annual limit for contributions to any combination of candidates, registered associations and nomination contestants of the registered party.

Note: This example uses the limits in effect for 2019.

Types of loans

Term loan

A term loan is repaid in regular payments over a set period of time. It may be either a fixed rate loan, allowing the borrower to lock in at a specific interest rate, or it may be a variable rate loan, where the interest rate fluctuates with the bank's prime rate and is calculated monthly.

Demand loan

A demand loan is a loan with no specific payment deadline. It is due whenever the lender demands to be repaid. It is recommended that the written loan agreement for a demand loan include a maximum term for the repayment.

Overdraft and line of credit

If overdraft protection or a line of credit is used, the maximum amount used is reported as a loan. Note however that if the financial institution requires a guarantee, only individuals who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents can guarantee the overdraft or line of credit. The amount an individual guarantees is subject to the individual's contribution limit.

The financial agent has to include the following information when reporting an overdraft or a line of credit:

  • the maximum amount used
  • the name and address of the financial institution
  • the interest rate charged
  • the dates and amounts of any repayments of principal and payments of interest
  • the full name and address of any guarantors and the amounts they have guaranteed
  • the unpaid balance at the end of each calendar year and as of the date of the return

The campaign bank account has overdraft protection of $1,000. The account goes into overdraft by $200 and the financial agent pays back $100 within the same day. Later on that day, the financial agent withdraws another $400 from the same account, bringing the highest amount overdrawn during the contest period to $500.

The overdraft amount to be reported is $500. The financial agent has to report this amount in the Statement of operating loans section of the contestant's return.

Loan interest

Interest incurred on loans is a nomination campaign expense, whether it is paid or accrued.

Interest incurred during the contest period is a nomination contest expense, while interest incurred before or after the contest period is an other nomination campaign expense.

If the interest rate on a loan from an individual is lower than the market interest rate, the financial agent will need to record the forgone interest as a non-monetary contribution from the individual.

Note: If the loan is from an individual who is not in the business of lending money and the forgone interest on the loan is $200 or less, the non-monetary contribution is deemed to be nil.

Repaying a loan

Loan repayments may be made any time up to 36 months after the selection date (or election day, if the selection date falls within an election period or within 30 days before it). Authorization is not required from Elections Canada or a judge before making these payments.

See Chapter 12, Managing Unpaid Claims and Loans.