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Characteristics of the election financing

What is a contribution (donation)?

For the purposes of Chapter XIV of the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities (AERM), even though only money contributions are allowed, the Chief Electoral Officer will treat any goods and services paid for by a candidate to support their own campaign the same as contributions. Also, any money amount paid to promote the election of persons who intend to submit their nomination paper or who have already done so must be included on their list of contributors.

Contributions by legal persons prohibited

It is strictly forbidden for legal persons (companies, corporations, unions, etc.) to give financial contributions to candidates (section 513.1.1).

Violations of the provisions of law governing contributions may result in prosecution and substantial penalties, including:

  • A fine of $5,000 to $20,000 for a first offence in the case of a natural person.
  • A fine of $10,000 to $50,000 for a first offence in the case of a legal person.
  • Loss of the right to:
    • Sit and vote on a municipal council, in the case of elected representatives.
    • Exercise election rights.
    • Conclude a public contract (in French only).

Contributions (donations) of more than $50

Every money contribution of more than $50 made by a natural person must be paid by cheque or other payment order signed by the person making the contribution and drawn on that person's personal bank account in a financial institution having an office in Québec and be made payable to the candidate.

In the case of a team recognized by the returning officer, each candidate must be aware that they are independent candidates and each must retain full control over the revenues and expenses of his own campaign, in order to enter them on his own DGE-1038 form. A contribution may not be made to the team and the contributor must specify the individual for whom the contribution is intended.

Contribution limit

The total financial contribution by a natural person may not exceed $200 per candidate. In addition, a candidate may make money contributions for his own benefit, the total of which may not exceed $800. Consequently, a candidate may make a total money contribution to his own campaign of up to $1,000 (section 513.1.1).

Tax credit

Regardless of the contribution amount, no contribution receipt is issued to the contributor and contributions are not eligible for an income tax credit.

Disclosure of certain election contributions, and expense returns (reports)

Any person who runs as a candidate in an election for a position on council in a municipality with a population of under 5,000 must, within 90 days of the polling day for that election, submit to the treasurer of the municipality a list of the natural persons who, in support of the candidate’s election campaign, made a contribution of more than $50, or a number of contributions the total of which exceeded $50. Candidates must also file a return (report) with the treasurer detailing all their election-related expenses, using the form prescribed by the Chief Electoral Officer (section 513.1).

Upon the expiry of the 90-day period following polling day, the candidate's declarations (section 2 of form DGE-1038) as well as the list of contributors and expenses return (sections 3 and 4 of form DGE-1038) must be tabled by the treasurer of the municipality at the next regular meeting of the municipal council. The candidate’s completed form will be forwarded to us by the treasurer of the municipality no later than 120 days after polling day (article 513.2).

The report must be prepared according to the enclosed model. The following guidelines will help candidates complete the form in question.

For further information

For any questions, candidates should contact the treasurer or the returning officer of their municipality.

Financing and election expenses (Less than 5,000 inh.)