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ConclusionThird Party Report – A Comparative Look at Third Party Information from the 2011, 2015 and 2019 Federal General Elections

This report reviewed third party registration and financial data over three general elections to understand who third parties are, how they are funded, how much they spend, and what kinds of activities they are spending on. While key findings were listed in various chapters, the most important for understanding the current state and evolution of third parties are reproduced below.

Understanding third parties

  • The number of registered third parties increased at each general election from 2011 to 2019. As their number increased, so did their geographical representation, but Ontario predominated.
  • Corporations were overall the most common type of registered third party. This type includes more than just businesses, however, since it reflects an organization's structure rather than its purpose.

Financial administration – funding

  • The main source of third party funding from 2011 to 2019 was contributions from individuals.
  • Top contributions were most often made by trade unions to affiliated unions or to entities created by affiliated unions for the election.
  • Third parties used an increasing amount of their own resources from 2011 to 2019 to fund their regulated activities, reaching 37% of their funding in 2019.

Financial administration – expenses

  • In election periods from 2011 to 2019, the majority of third parties (84% to 86%) consistently spent 25% or less of the spending limit, while a small minority (4%) spent 75% or more. Only labour organizations, corporations and groups with a governing body reached the top spending tier.
  • Partisan advertising and election advertising made up the bulk of third party expenses in 2019, accounting for 77% of all spending. Television and social media claimed the highest shares of advertising expenses.