The cost of any good or service used during an election period, particularly for directly or indirectly promoting or opposing the election of a candidate or party candidates, is considered an election expense.
Any initiative that has a cost, a partisan effect and that occurs during the election period is considered an election expense, including websites, events, advertising, and election signage. An initiative is considered to have a partisan effect if:
Election expenses must:
During an election period, a Facebook post or Twitter tweet usually doesn’t cost anything. This type of advertisement is not considered election expenses. However, if a political party produces material with a partisan effect, such as a video, and relays it on social media, the costs associated with its production (purchase of images or photos, filming or editing costs) may be considered election expenses.
The Election Act stipulates that a candidate’s election expenses are limited based on a maximum amount per elector in the electoral division in which they are running. A party’s election expenses are limited to a maximum amount per elector in all electoral divisions where that party has an official candidate.
The election expenses limit is indexed on April 1 of each year, based on the change in the average consumer price index as established by Statistics Canada (Election Act, section 426).
During by-elections, the official agent of an authorized political party cannot incur election expenses. Consequently, the limit on the election expenses of a candidate in an electoral division is increased in order to take into account the limit that would normally have been allocated to the party.
After the election expenses report is received and verified, 50% of the election expenses incurred and paid are reimbursed, in accordance with the Act, to:
Reimbursable election expenses cannot exceed the limit on election expenses set by the Election Act. Moreover, independent candidates who were not elected cannot claim amounts that exceed debts incurred from their election expenses.
When the voting results are released, candidates eligible for reimbursement may receive an advance on their reimbursement in the amount of 35% of the election expenses limit as established by the Election Act. This advance will only be paid once we have accepted a certified estimate of the amount of election expenses incurred from the official agent of the party.
Reimbursement of election expenses and the advance payment of any reimbursement must be made by cheque or by transfer of funds to an account held by the official representative.
The cost of goods or services used during the election period to promote or oppose a candidate constitutes an election expense. The Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities provides for certain exceptions.
The cost of goods or services used before or after the election period does not constitute an election expense. It therefore does not affect the limit on expenses.
According to the Act, an election expense may be used for:
To promote fairness among candidates, the Act imposes a limit on election expenses for each position. This limit is based on the number of persons found on the list of electors.
At of the end of nomination period, the official agent of a candidate elected without opposition may no longer incur or authorize expenses for that person.
After receiving and verifying a return of election expenses, the treasurer of the municipality will reimburse 70% of the expenses reported in the return, provided they were incurred and paid in accordance with the Act. To be eligible for such a reimbursement, a candidate needs to meet one of the following criteria:
In the case of expenses incurred by an authorized political party, the reimbursement is sent to the official representative. The criteria set out above apply to each candidate of a party.
As of the fifth day following the poll, an advance of 50% may be paid out on such a reimbursement, provided certain conditions are met.
The amount of an election expense reimbursement may not exceed the election expense limit established in the Act. Furthermore, in the case of an authorized independent candidate, the amount of the reimbursement may not exceed the sum of his or her personal contribution and any debts arising from his or her election expenses.
According to the Act respecting school elections to elect certain members of the boards of directors of English-language school service centres, an election expense is the cost of any goods or services used during the election period for:
Any reference to the Act respecting school elections to elect certain members of the boards of directors of English-language school service centres refers to the provisions of the Act respecting school elections that were in force prior to the adoption of Bill 40 and that were adapted to reflect the repeal of the electoral process in French-language school service centres.
The election period begins on the 44th day before polling day and ends on polling day at the closing of polling stations.
Election expenses must be paid out of the election fund, be authorized by the candidate, and be recorded on their election expense return.
Certain expenses incurred during the election period may constitute election expenses:
Publicity expenses are generally the most frequent and the largest part of an election campaign budget. All election expenses must be substantiated by an invoice.
The total amount of election expenses must not exceed the limit established by the Act.
Following a review of the authorized candidate’s financial reports, the Director General of the English-language school board will, from the general fund of the school board, reimburse a portion of the election expenses incurred, in accordance with the Act, to any candidate who:
An authorized candidate is also entitled to reimbursement when the election procedure must be resumed following the death of a candidate.
The amount of the reimbursement is determined according to rules prescribed by regulation of the government. The current reimbursement amount is:
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