Press release No. 2 – By-elections of December 9, 2013 in Outremont and Viau - Election expenses and political contributions: rules to respect

November 8, 2013

Quebec City, November 8, 2013– Concerning the by-elections of December 9, 2013in the electoral division of Outremontand Viau, Jacques Drouin, the Chief Electoral Officer of Québec, wishes to remind electors and candidates of the main rules included in the Election Act with respect to the control of election expenses and the soliciting of political contributions. It should be underlined from the outset that the rules concerning election expenses are in force since yesterday, i.e. the beginning of the election period, until the closing of polling stations on December 9, 2013.

Election expenses

An election expense is the cost of a good or service used during an election period for purposes of promoting or opposing a candidate, whether directly or indirectly. During a by-election, political parties are not authorized to incur election expenses, and the equivalent of their expense limit is added to the candidates’ limit. The official agent is the only person empowered to incur or authorize election expenses. Consequently, legal persons, such as partnerships or pressure groups, are prohibited by law from intervening in a campaign unless their election expenses have been authorized by an official agent. The expenses are limited and subject to control.

During the current by-election, candidates’ election expenses are limited to $1.37 per elector registered on the list of electors. For the electoral division of Outremont, the preliminary expense limit has therefore been set at $52,792.95, while the preliminary expense limit for Viau has been set at $55,400.06, based on the number of electors registered on the list of electors when the writ instituting the by-election was issued. It should be pointed out that the electoral map used during the last general election has served to provide the number of electors. 


Certain forms of publicity pertaining to the current election are prohibited from now until November 13, 2013 inclusively. The prohibition includes, more specifically, the publication or dissemination of publicity messages by way of print or electronic media, in particular radio, television, newspapers and other periodicals, as well as publicity posters and billboards in spaces rented for this purpose. Electoral publicity disseminated or published in print or electronic media is also prohibited on polling day, i.e. on December 9, 2013.

However, this prohibition does not prevent the official agent of a candidate from affixing posters, as of now, along roadways or pedestrian thoroughfares, or from distributing flyers. It should also be underlined that during the election period all publicity must be identified, as stipulated in the Election Act.

Authorization of independent candidates

Anyone wishing to participate in the current election as an “independent candidate” must obtain an authorization to do so from the Chief Electoral Officer if they wish to collect money or incur expenses, even if they intend to pay all expenses related to their election themselves. In fact, every independent candidate must be authorized before soliciting or collecting contributions, contracting loans or incurring election expenses. In their application for authorization, independent candidates must designate someone to serve as their official representative and official agent.

It should be noted that the Election Act henceforth provides for a new form of public financing for independent candidates such that for every dollar collected as a contribution for their benefit, the Chief Electoral Officer will pay, in the manner and at the frequency the latter determines, a matching allowance of $2.50, up to an annual amount of $800 paid in contributions. In total, a given independent candidate may therefore receive up to $2,000 per year in public financing (i.e. $800 x $2.50 /dollar of contribution).

The status of private intervenor

A private intervenor may incur publicity expenses, the total of which may not exceed $300, from his or her own assets, to convey a message that the intervenor intends to put forward during the election period. However, the law prohibits the latter from making or incurring expenses jointly with any other person or entity, whether another private intervenor, a political party, a candidate, or otherwise.

Although a private intervenor may make his or her views known concerning a matter of public interest, or advocate abstention or the spoiling of ballots, he or she may not directly promote or oppose a candidate or party, or be a member of a party, or act directly on behalf of a candidate or a party.

In order to obtain this status, the elector or group representative must receive prior authorization from the returning officer of his or her electoral division. Concerning the by-elections of December 9, 2013, the application for authorization must be filed between November 12 and November 26, 2013. Forms for this purpose are available under the heading “Forms” on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer at

Political contributions 

The election period can also be an opportunity for candidates and parties to collect contributions. Every contribution must be made by an individual elector out of his or her own property. These contributions must be made voluntarily, without compensation and for no consideration, and may not be reimbursed by a third party in any way. Consequently, legal persons, i.e. companies, unions, or partnerships of any form, may not contribute to the financing of political parties or authorized independent candidates. Moreover, it is important to highlight the following rules and procedures:

–                    As a general rule, a contribution may be made only to the Chief Electoral Officer for the benefit of an authorized entity. This rule pertains to a contribution made by cheque or other order of payment signed by the elector and drawn on his or her account in a financial institution having an office in Québec. A contribution may also be made, in compliance with the directives of the Chief Electoral Officer, by means of a credit card. The Chief Electoral Officer will then cash the contribution and transmit it to the party or the candidate for which or for whom it is intended.

–                    A cash contribution must be for $50 or less and must be paid directly to the account held by the official representative of the authorized entity (party, party authority, or independent candidate).

–                    Every contribution must be accompanied by a contribution slip, including, in particular, a declaration signed by the elector.

–                    The total of contributions made by the same elector to each of the political parties and authorized independent candidates may not exceed $100 during the same calendar year.

–                    During a by-election, an elector of Outremont or Viau is allowed, under the Election Act, to contribute an additional amount not exceeding $100 for the benefit of each party and independent candidate. The period during which the additional contribution may be made began as of the date on which the seat became vacant and will continue up to the 30th day after polling day for the by-election.

–                    Canvassing may be done only under the supervision of the official representative of a party, a party authority or an authorized independent candidate, or, if applicable, of any other person designated in writing by the official representative for this purpose.


For more information concerning the new rules governing the financing of parties and candidates, please visit the special information page accessible on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer at

Public assemblies

A directive governs the holding of public assemblies by non-partisan and partisan organizations during the election period. This directive is available on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer at

Other points of information concerning the rules governing the financing and control of election expenses are also available on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer at

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Categories : Provincial, By-elections, DGE

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