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

This document is Elections Canada's guideline OGI 2021-04.

Click on the link for the latest Political Financing Handbook for Candidates and Official Agents.

10. Candidate's Travel and Living Expenses

This chapter discusses the candidate's travel and living expenses and reporting requirements. It covers the following topics:

  • What are the candidate's travel and living expenses? What are not?
  • Who can incur and pay the candidate's travel and living expenses?
  • Use of travel reward points
  • Typical travel and living expenses (meals and incidentals, temporary lodging and transportation)

What are the candidate's travel and living expenses?

The candidate's travel and living expenses include the following types of expenses reasonably incurred in relation to the candidate's campaign, both during and outside the election period:

  • transportation
  • temporary lodging
  • meals and incidentals

The candidate's travel and living expenses do not count against the election expenses limit.

Travel and living expenses incurred for use during the election period may be eligible for partial reimbursement. See Chapter 17, Reimbursements and Subsidies, for more information.

Note: The candidate's travel and living expenses must be new expenses or increases in normally incurred expenses. In other words, they are expenses that the candidate incurred only because there was an election.

What are not the candidate's travel and living expenses?

The expenses of campaign workers and volunteers accompanying the candidate on trips during the election period, or assisting the candidate during events, are not the candidate's travel and living expenses. They are election expenses subject to the limit.

See Campaign workers and related expenses in Chapter 8, Election Expenses.

Examples
  1. 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 travel and living expenses of the candidate. The expenses for the candidate's lodging and meals during the trip are also travel and living 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.
  2. The candidate's campaign rents a bus for $800 to transport the candidate and volunteers to an event during the election period. The candidate could have rented a car for $60. The campaign can choose to report $800 as an election expense, or it can report $60 as the candidate’s travel and living expense (not subject to the limit) and the remaining $740 as an election expense.

Who can incur and pay the candidate's travel and living expenses?

Only the candidate, the official agent or a person authorized in writing by the official agent can incur a candidate's travel and living expenses.

Only the candidate or their official agent is allowed to pay the candidate's travel and living expenses. They can be paid:

  • by the official agent from the campaign bank account
  • by the candidate using their own funds

The following table explains the different scenarios for candidates paying their own travel and living expenses.

Payment scenario What to keep in mind
Candidate pays a travel and living expense and intends to be repaid by the campaign The campaign has to repay the candidate within 36 months after election day. After that date, the repayment cannot be made without prior authorization from Elections Canada or a judge.
Candidate pays a travel and living expense and does not intend to be repaid When candidates use their own funds to pay travel and living expenses, and they are not repaid by the campaign, it is a non-monetary contribution from the candidate to the campaign. The contribution rules apply.

Use of travel reward points

Candidates may have accumulated travel points from reward programs in their personal or professional lives. If a candidate uses the points to cover or subsidize their campaign travel expenses, they are making a contribution to the campaign. The contribution amount is the commercial value of the property or services acquired with the points.

To not have the points count as a contribution, the campaign must repay the commercial value to the candidate.

Typical travel and living expenses

The following are examples of typical travel and living expenses that the candidate might incur in relation to their campaign.

Meals and incidentals

The candidate might spend long hours away from home because of the campaign. Additional expenses for the candidate's meals and incidentals incurred as an incidence of the election are travel and living expenses.

Example

The candidate orders a $30 dinner while travelling in the riding because of the campaign. This is a travel and living expense of the candidate. His day-to-day meals consumed at home, on the other hand, are not a travel and living expense because meals are consumed regularly outside the election period.

Note: Per diems (daily allowances) cannot be claimed as a candidate's travel and living expenses. Only actual paid expenses are considered. Per diems may be reported as an election expense if they are part of the candidate's compensation agreement.

Temporary lodging

The candidate might stay in a hotel while travelling in the electoral district for the campaign or might relocate temporarily to the electoral district if they normally live elsewhere. The expense for the candidate's temporary lodging incurred as an incidence of the election is a travel and living expense.

Transportation

The candidate might need to travel within or outside the electoral district for the campaign, using a vehicle or other method of transportation. The expense for the candidate's transportation incurred as an incidence of the election is a travel and living expense.

If the candidate uses a personal vehicle for travel, they may submit:

  • receipts for gas and other expenses, or
  • a mileage log

The mileage log should contain the following information: the date of travel, point of origin, destination, kilometres travelled and purpose of travel. It is recommended that campaigns use the kilometric rates established by the National Joint Council's Travel Directive to calculate the expense.

Note: A candidate's travel claim has to be either for actual expenses, such as gas and rental costs, or else for mileage. The claim cannot be for both.