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Understanding political financing

Values, principles and characteristics of political financing

Summary

In Québec, political financing and the auditing of election expenses are subject to the principles of fairness and transparency.

Provincial

In this section

Fairness

In the interest of fairness, we allow all parties and all candidates to obtain the financial means to express themselves. We reserve the right to make contributions to electors.

By limiting election expenses, we ensure that all candidates have an equal opportunity to be elected.

Transparency

In the interest of transparency, we disclose the data we receive from financial and election expenses reports.

Guiding principles

The following is a summary of the rules on political financing and the auditing of the election expenses of political parties and candidates:

  • Authorization is required to collect contributions, incur expenses or contract loans.
  • Election expenses are limited.
  • The public can access information on the sources of financing and expenses of candidates and parties through their reports.
  • Only electors have the right to make contributions.

These rules are established by the Election Act.

Municipal

In this section

Municipalities with 5,000 inhabitants or more

The rules on political financing and contributions apply only to municipalities with 5,000 inhabitants or more, which are subject to Chapter XIII of the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities.

Fairness

In the interest of fairness, we allow all parties and all candidates to obtain the financial means to express themselves. We reserve the right to make contributions to electors.

By limiting election expenses, we are also ensuring that all candidates have an equal chance of being elected.

Transparency

In the interest of transparency, we release the data from the financial and election expenses reports we receive.

Main rules

The following is a summary of the rules on political financing and the auditing of election expenses of political parties and candidates:

  • Authorization is required to collect contributions, incur expenses or contract loans.
  • Election expenses are limited.
  • The public can learn about the financing sources and expenses of candidates and parties through their reports.
  • Only electors have the right to make contributions.
  • These principles are set out in the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities.

Summary of the rules to be followed with respect to election financing and expenses

Municipalities with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants

Contributions

According to Chapter XIV of the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities, all goods and services paid for by a candidate to promote their election are considered contributions. Additionally, money paid by others to promote their election is also considered a contribution. A list of those who contributed more than $50 or multiple contributions totalling or exceeding that amount must be filed within 90 days of the election.

Legal entities

It is strictly forbidden for legal persons (companies, partnerships, unions, etc.) to make a monetary contribution to a candidate (s. 513.1.1).

Violation of the provisions regarding contributions may result in prosecution and severe penalties:

  • A fine of $5,000 to $20,000 for a first-time offender who is an individual.
  • A fine of $10,000 to $50,000 for a legal entity that commits a first offence.
  • Loss:
    • Of the right to sit on the municipal council and to vote for an elected person.
    • Of the possibility of exercising electoral rights.
    • Of the right to enter into a public contract.

Contributions over $50

Any contribution of more than $50 made by an individual must be:

  • Made by cheque or other payment order signed by the person making the contribution.
  • Drawn on a personal bank account at a financial institution with an office in Quebec.
  • Payable to the order of the candidate.

A candidate who is part of a team recognized by a returning officer remains independent and must retain full control over the income and expenses of their campaign. They must also be recorded on their Donors list and return of expenses form. No contribution may be made on behalf of a recognized team: the contributor must specify the candidate to whom they are contributing.

Maximum amount

The total amount of contributions made by an individual to each candidate cannot exceed $200. However, a candidate may contribute an additional amount for their own benefit, but it may not exceed $800. They may therefore pay themselves up to $1,000 in contributions (s. 513.1.1).

Tax credit

Regardless of the value of the contribution made by an individual, no contribution receipt will be issued. Therefore, contributions are not eligible for tax credits.

Disclosure of certain election contributions and expense reports

All candidates running for office on city council in a municipality with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants must send two documents to the treasurer of their municipality no later than 90 days after polling has closed (s. 513.1):

  • A list of individuals who made one or more monetary contributions totalling more than $50.
  • A report on all election-related expenses using the form provided by the Chief Electoral Officer.

Following a 90-day period, the treasurer shall file the candidate's declaration or list of contributors and expense report at the next regular meeting of the city council. They must then forward the DGE-1038 form to Élections Québec, no later than 120 days after the date set for the poll (s. 513.2).

This report must be produced in accordance with the template Municipalities with a population of less than 5,000 (PDF – DGE-1038-VA).

Candidates may refer to the documents below to complete their report.

Further information

The candidate may contact the treasurer or the returning officer of their municipality for more information.

School board

In this section

Fairness

In the interest of fairness, we allow all parties and all candidates to obtain the financial means to express themselves. We reserve the right to make contributions to electors.

By limiting election expenses, we ensure that all candidates have an equal opportunity to be elected.

Transparency

In the interest of transparency, we disclose the data we receive from financial and election expenses reports.

Guiding principles

The following is a summary of the rules on political financing and the auditing of the election expenses of political parties and candidates.

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