Municipal Election Campaign Fundraising and Expenses

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What are the rules for campaign fundraising and expenses?

The Campaign Contributions and Election Expenses Bylaw Regulations set out the rules for a municipality’s bylaw. Many municipalities address these rules in their “Municipal Election Bylaw.” 

Can I contribute to my own campaign?

Check your municipal bylaw.  The bylaw will specify the amount a candidate and a candidate's spouse can contribute to their campaign.  

What are the recording of fundraising and expense requirements for candidates? 

Candidates must:

  • keep complete and proper accounting records of their campaign contributions and election expenses during the election expense period
  • keep receipts of expenses 
  • provide receipts to contributors
  • not accept anonymous campaign contributions
  • only make election expenses during the election expense period (check the municipal bylaw for advertising expenses)
  • follow the campaign contribution limits and election expense limits set out in the municipal bylaw
  • ensure a contributor is allowed to donate to the campaign (check the municipal bylaw - municipalities can specify the types of contributors allowed to donate)
  • file a Disclosure Statement of Campaign Contributions and Election Expenses with the Municipal Electoral Officer (MEO) or the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)
  • keep required records for seven years
  • Candidates can only spend money on election expenses during the election expense period.

When is the election expense period?

The election expense period starts when a person publicly states (whether in person or by electronic means) that they plan to run for municipal council and ends on election day or when the candidate is declared elected by the MEO - whichever of the two days is earlier.

Check your municipal bylaw to see if the municipality allowed for advertising expenses to be made before the election expense period.  If so, these expenses must be recorded and reported. 

Who has to file a Disclosure Statement of Campaign Contributions and Election Expenses (Disclosure Statement)?

All candidates, whether elected or acclaimed, must file a Disclosure Statement of Campaign Contributions and Election Expenses. The Disclosure Statement must be filed within two months of the municipal election or by-election.

How do I file a Disclosure Statement?

  1. Check your municipality's bylaw
    • The municipality has set a particular contribution threshold (which can be any amount up to $250) at which point more detailed reporting is required.  When a contributor gives the set amount or higher, the candidate must list the contributor's name and address in the Disclosure Statement. 
    • Contributors who donate less than this amount will have their contribution recorded in another section of the Disclosure Statement, but their name and address are not required to be reported. 
  2. Complete the form
  3. File the form with the Municipal Electoral Officer or with the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) if the MEO is no longer appointed.

What if the Disclosure Statements shows a surplus of campaign contributions?

The municipal bylaw will specify the process to deal with a surplus, including options for a refund in the event of a candidate's withdrawal prior to the election.  Surpluses that are not refunded will be turned over to the municipality to be used for municipal purposes. 

Where can I see a candidate's filed Disclosure Statement?

The CAO must ensure that each Disclosure Statement of every candidate (whether elected or not) is posted on the municipal website for at least 6 months. 

The CAO must also prepare a report that summarizes the Disclosure Statements of each candidate (whether elected or not).  The report must note any candidate who has: 

  • exceeded the limit on election expenses, or
  • failed to file their Disclosure Statement

The CAO must ensure that the summary report of Disclosure Statements is:

  • submitted to council, and 
  • posted in the municipality or on the municipal website for at least  six months.
Note: This page is prepared for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specialized legal or professional advice.
Date de publication : 
le 2 Juillet 2024