Political financing is governed by many rules that ensure fairness, integrity and transparency.
Only electors may make a financial contribution to a political party. Legal persons, such as companies, associations, and trade unions, may not contribute to the financing of political parties or authorized independent candidates. They may not donate money or render a service or provide a good free of charge, nor may they reimburse, or attempt to reimburse, a person who makes a contribution.
Electors may contribute a maximum yearly amount of $100 to each of the political parties or to authorized independent candidates. Electors may contribute up to $100 more on two occasions:
The government pays $2.50 to political entities for every dollar they collect in contributions from electors. This type of public financing is called matching sums. This income cannot exceed the amount stated below.
|Year of a general election||Other years|
|Member of the National Assembly or independent candidate||$2,000||$2,000|
This income is used to cover expenses related to:
Publicity is often the main election expense of political parties. The election expenses of political parties and independent candidates fall into four categories.
|Coalition avenir Québec||$6,105,016|
|Quebec Liberal Party||$7,043,240|
These amounts represent the total sum of election expenses incurred and paid by these political parties.
No political party or authorized independent candidate may make publicity during the first seven days of the election campaign or on election day.
Election expenses are limited to the same amount for all candidates in the same electoral division. It's a matter of fairness: all candidates may spend similar amounts of money to promote their candidacy.
During a by-election, in most electoral divisions, the election expense limit for each candidate is $1.46 per elector. On average, this amount is $72,000.
Citizens and businesses may not spend money to promote or oppose the election of a candidate during the election period. Any public action is prohibited if it:
The same rule applies to legal persons, such as companies, associations and trade unions.
All election expenses must be paid and authorized by the official agent of a candidate or political party.
Every political party or authorized independent candidate must have an official representative to manage its current income and expenses. During an election period, it must also appoint an official agent to manage its election expenses.
Election expenses are limited to the same amount for all candidates in the same electoral division. It's a matter of fairness: each person has a budget similar to the others to promote their candidacy.
To ensure the application of this rule, only official agents of political parties and authorized independent candidates may incur election expenses. This rule also ensures greater transparency since all expenses must then be reported to preserve the electorate’s trust in our democratic system.
You can do so, as long as your actions do not cost anything. You can also obtain authorization to act as a private intervenor.
A private intervenor is an elector or group of electors who may spend up to $300 on publicity, during an election period, to:
The message should never directly promote or oppose a person's election.
By voting for the person who is most in tune with your values and your vision of the Québec of tomorrow, you are helping them pursue their political activities.
The reimbursement of election expenses and the annual allowance are two sources of public financing: they come from the government. Public financing is intended to foster the integrity and vitality of our democracy by supporting those who work in politics. In 2020, this financing represented 81% of the total financing of political parties.
Following the 2018 general election, six political parties and 309 of 940 (32.9%) candidates received election expense reimbursements.
Following an election, each political party and authorized independent candidate must file an election expense report. The Chief Electoral Officer audits these reports to ensure that the rules on political financing have been respected.
Candidates must file their election expenses returns no later than 90 days after election day. Political parties must submit their returns no later than 120 days after election day.
The Chief Electoral Officer may investigate whether any provisions of the Election Act have been contravened and prosecute them. You can consult all the lawsuits that have been filed in the court ledger.
While Élections Québec remains vigilant, the watchfulness and support of citizens and stakeholders working in the field can also have a decisive impact. Report political financing irregularities by calling the tip line at 1-855-644-9529. Any information received will remain completely confidential.
The rules on municipal political financing are derived from the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities.
Only qualified electors who are authorized to exercise their right to vote in an English-language school board may make contributions. This is generally the case for parents whose child is currently enrolled, or has been enrolled, at an English-language school board. This is also true for individuals who do not have a child enrolled at the English-language school board or to the French-language school service centre serving their area.
Legal entities, such as companies, associations, and trade unions, may not contribute to the financing of candidates. Parents whose children are enrolled at a French-language school service centre are also not allowed to contribute. They may not donate money nor provide a service or goods for free. They may not reimburse or attempt to reimburse an elector's contribution.
An elector who wants to run as a candidate in the next school general election may apply for authorization as of January 1 of the election year. This person then becomes an authorized elector. After submitting their nomination paper, they become an authorized candidate.
An elector who shows intent to become a candidate, or who becomes a candidate, is considered a candidate. Therefore, from that moment on, they must respect the rules on political financing.
In addition to this amount, in the same fiscal year as the election, a candidate may also make a contribution for their benefit in an amount not exceeding $700. A candidate can therefore contribute up to $1,000 for their own benefit in an election year.
If you wish to make a political contribution, please note that:
It is a matter of fairness, so that all candidates have similar budgets to spend to promote their candidacy.
During an election, each candidate must respect a maximum amount slated for election expenses.
Websites, events, advertising, election signs: regardless of the form, any promotion that entails a cost, that has a partisan effect, and which occurs during the election period, constitutes an election expense. Partisan actions include:
During an election period, you may not carry out a public act if that act:
The same rule also applies to legal entities, such as companies, associations and trade unions.
All election expenses must be paid and authorized by the candidate.
Election expenses are limited to the same amount for all candidates for the same position at the same English-language school board. It's a question of fairness: each person has a similar budget to promote their candidacy.
To ensure the application of this rule, only candidates may incur election expenses. It also ensures greater transparency, as candidates must report all their expenses for audit purposes. This measure is intended to preserve the confidence of the electorate in our democratic system.
Here are some examples of illegal partisan activities during an election period:
You can do so, if you do it at no cost. You can also obtain authorization as a private intervenor.
A private intervenor is an elector or group of electors who may spend up to $300 on advertising, during an election period, to:
However, the private intervenor's messages must not directly promote or oppose the election of any person.
By voting for the candidate who is most in line with your values and vision, you are helping them pursue their political activities.
The election expenses of a person elected, and those who obtained at least 15% of the vote, will be reimbursed. The amount reimbursed cannot exceed the amount of the debt incurred from their election expenses and the amount of their personal contribution. To be reimbursed, the candidate's expenses must have been incurred and paid in accordance with the Act respecting school elections to elect certain members of the boards of directors of English-language school service centres (ASEESSC) or the provisions of the Act respecting school elections in force prior to the adoption of Bill 40.
The reimbursement of election expenses is a source of public financing, i.e., this financing comes from the State. By supporting those who become involved in politics, the State aims to foster the integrity and vitality of our democracy.
Following an election, each candidate (including those who were authorized but did not submit their nomination paper) must file an election expense return. The Director General of the English-language school board, with the assistance of Élections Québec staff, audits all these returns to ensure that the rules on political financing are being respected.
Candidates must file their election expense return no later than 90 days after election day.
The Chief Electoral Officer may undertake inquiries on their own initiative, or upon receiving a complaint, to ensure compliance with the provisions of the ASEESSC or the provisions of the Act respecting school elections in force prior to the adoption of Bill 40. Criminal proceedings may be brought in the event of a violation of one of these laws if an offence has occurred.
Any person may report political financing irregularities by submitting a complaint through the Élections Québec website or by calling the tip line at 1 855 644-9529. The information received will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.
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