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History of school financing rules

It was in 1989 that the first provisions concerning the reimbursement of the election expenses of candidates appeared in the Act respecting School elections. Section 207 of the Act stipulates that "every authorized candidate who has been elected or has obtained at least 20% of the votes cast at the election for the office concerned is entitled to a reimbursement by the director general of the school board". In 2002, the percentage of votes required to obtain the reimbursement of election expenses was lowered to 15%.

In 2002, a series of rules that make up Chapter XI of the Act and that govern the "Financing of candidates and the control of election expenses" were added to these provisions. These rules resemble those found in the Election Act and in the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities, with one of the major differences being that there are no political parties at the school level. Authorized groups may, however, be grouped into tickets "recognized by the returning officer" (s. 62 and following of the ASE), whose name can appear on the ballot paper, but which will not have the power to collect contributions and incur election expenses.

In the 2003 general election, when the financing rules were applied for the very first time, candidates collected a total of $1,213,150 in contributions and submitted reports revealing election expenses that reached $1,151,610.

At the time of the November 2007 general election, the total contributions raised reached $835,170, whereas the 1,379 authorized candidates incurred election expenses totaling $1,045,852.

The significant political financing reform adopted in December 2010 by the National Assembly, notably to prevent the tactic of straw-men donations (donations in another's name) at the provincial and municipal levels, also affected the school board elections. The new provisions of the Act respecting school elections modify, in particular, the responsibilities of the DGEQ and how to make a contribution as well as abolishing anonymous donation. The legal penalties have also been reinforced: certain fines were increased and new sanctions were added, notably inadmissibility to public contracts if convicted of certain offences.

In 2013, a reform aimed primarily at municipal funding also included a reduction in the maximum allowed limit for a contribution to a candidate in school board elections, the maximum dropped from $1,000 to $300.