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.
13. Other Electoral Campaign Expenses
This chapter discusses electoral campaign expenses other than election, personal, travel and living, litigation and accessibility expenses. It provides examples of typical expenses in this category. It covers the following topics:
- What are "other" electoral campaign expenses?
- Who can incur and pay "other" electoral campaign expenses?
- Typical "other" expenses (partisan advertising, compensation paid to the candidate, fundraising expenses, unused inventory, loan interest outside the election period, preparing reports and replacing damaged property)
What are "other" electoral campaign expenses?
Some electoral campaign expenses, which are reasonably incurred as an incidence of the election, do not fit into any specific expense category. They are called "other" electoral campaign expenses and are not subject to a limit.
Property or services used before or after the election
Expenses for property or services used before or after the election period are electoral campaign expenses if they were incurred as an incidence of the election. Some expenses are not part of the campaign at all. The table below can help a campaign decide how to categorize an expense.
|Property or services used before the election period starts||Property or services used after election day|
The campaign should ask:
If the candidate had not planned to participate in a future election, would the expense still have been incurred?
If yes, there is no electoral campaign expense to report.
If no, then there is an electoral campaign expense to report. If the expense is not a:
The campaign should ask:
Was the expense reasonably incurred because of the election?
If no, there is no electoral campaign expense to report.
If yes, then there is an electoral campaign expense to report. If the expense is not a:
- The campaign rents an office on March 1, a month before the election is called. The rental agreement is for three months and the rent is $300 a month. The election period is 37 days, starting from April 1. The portion of the rent that has to be recorded as an other electoral campaign expense is $532.26. That is the amount remaining after the election expense, $367.74, is subtracted from the rent total. Calculation: $900 – ($300 + (7 / 31 x $300)) = $532.26. Note: If the registered association rents an office for the candidate in advance, the candidate’s campaign must report all of the rent as its own expense either from the date agreed on for the campaign to start using the office or from the date it starts using the office (whichever is earlier).
- After election day, the candidate invites volunteers to a thank-you party. Although the event is outside the election period, the expense is incurred as an incidence of the election. Accordingly, the expense has to be reported as an other electoral campaign expense.
Who can incur and pay "other" electoral campaign expenses?
The official agent, the candidate or a person authorized in writing by the official agent can incur other electoral campaign expenses.
Only the official agent is allowed to pay other electoral campaign expenses, other than petty expenses paid from the petty cash with the official agent’s written authorization.
Typical "other" expenses
Partisan advertising during the pre-election period
Candidates may conduct advertising to promote themselves or oppose other candidates in the months before an election period begins.
When this advertising takes place in the year of a fixed-date general election, starting from June 30 until the election period begins, it is called partisan advertising. Unlike registered parties, candidates are not subject to a limit on their partisan advertising expenses.
The expense to distribute advertising before the election period is an other electoral campaign expense rather than an election expense. The expense to produce the advertising is also an other electoral campaign expense, as long as the advertising is not also distributed during the election period.
Note: A candidate must not collude with a registered party by engaging in partisan advertising to help the party circumvent its partisan advertising expenses limit.
Compensation paid to the candidate
Reasonable compensation may be paid to the candidate from the campaign bank account. It is an other electoral campaign expense.
It is advisable to include a written contract or other documentation with the candidate's return about any compensation paid because, in the absence of evidence, the payment of salaries may be considered an inappropriate use of campaign funds that would need to be returned.
Some fundraising expenses are other electoral campaign expenses rather than election expenses, even if the fundraising takes place during the election period. See Fundraising expenses in Chapter 6, Fundraising, for more information.
Note: Expenses associated with the production and distribution of advertising and promotional materials related to a fundraising activity are election expenses to the extent that the advertising and promotional materials are used during the election period.
The campaign holds a ticketed fundraising dinner during the election period. The expenses incurred for the venue rental, food, drinks and entertainment are other electoral campaign expenses. The expenses incurred to promote the event are election expenses.
After election day, the candidate's campaign may have promotional items that were never used during the election period and remain in inventory.
The expense for these unused items is not an election expense but an other electoral campaign expense. This is the case except for unused election signs, which are always treated as election expenses. See Election signs in Chapter 8, Election Expenses, for more information.
Unused inventory should be sold at commercial value, or transferred to the registered association or the registered party.
During the election period, 18,000 flyers are distributed and 2,000 remain in the campaign office unused. The purchase price of the 2,000 flyers is reported as an other electoral campaign expense.
Interest on loans before and after the election period
Interest accrued on loans before and after the election period is an other electoral campaign expense.
Preparation of reports
Expenses associated with fulfilling the various reporting obligations set out in the Canada Elections Act are other electoral campaign expenses.
The expense for a courier service used two months after election day to send the candidate's return has to be reported as an other electoral campaign expense.
Replacement or repair of damaged property
A candidate's campaign might incur unanticipated expenses during an election period because of property damage, whether to a campaign vehicle or office equipment. The expenses to repair property, or to obtain an equivalent replacement for the property or for the service it provided, are other electoral campaign expenses rather than election expenses. This is because the repair or replacement is not being used to promote the candidate beyond the original expense.
If the replacement has upgraded features that are used to further promote the candidate and has a higher commercial value than the original property, then the difference needs to be reported as an election expense.
For damaged or stolen election signs, campaigns can choose to report the replacements as an other electoral campaign expense or an election expense. See Election signs in Chapter 8, Election Expenses.
The candidate's campaign charters a bus for the election period at a cost of $6,000. The bus is damaged two days into the election period and can no longer be used. The campaign charters a replacement of the same kind and size at a cost of $8,000 for the remainder of the election. The original expense of $6,000 is an election expense. The second expense of $8,000 is an other electoral campaign expense, which is not subject to the spending limit or eligible for reimbursement.