School elections of November 2, 2014 - Candidates spent more than $950,000 attempting to get elected

March 24, 2015

An analysis of the financial reports and election expenses related to the school election of November 2, 2014, reveals that 814 of the 1,372 candidates authorized by the Chief Electoral Officer of Québec incurred election expenses totaling $956,000. To cover these expenses, they collected nearly $700,000 in contributions, mostly from themselves, in addition to borrowing a total of $318,000. These figures are taken from the Portrait sur le financement et les dépenses des candidats autorisés (Portrait of the financing and expenses of authorized candidates) released today by the Chief Electoral Officer of Québec. The document also presents various statistics on the candidacies, in which in particular it can be noted that 43% of those who ran in the school elections were women, and 57% of the candidates elected are between 45 and 64 years old, an age group that corresponds to 29% of the population.

The candidates’ revenues

Candidates in a French language school board had funds of $804,000 to run their election campaigns. The personal contribution, i.e. the $300 that an elector was allowed to contribute, in addition to the $700 that they could add to their election fund because they were candidates, was their main source of revenue. It represented 51% of all funds raised. Loans accounted for 27% of revenue, while electors’ contributions accounted for 22% of funds raised by candidates for the French language school boards.

On the English side, candidates raised almost $213,000 to fill their campaign coffers. In this case, loans were their main source of revenue, as they represented 47% of the total raised, compared to 32% for the candidates’ personal contributions and 21% for contributions made by electors.

Francophone candidates borrowed $2,700 on average, while Anglophone candidates borrowed an average of $3,000. Remember that loans can only be reimbursed by contributions from electors or by the reimbursement of election expenses by the school board.

The candidates’ expenses

Candidates who ran for office in the 60 French language school boards reported a total of $759,000 in election expenses. Of the 106 candidates for presidency, 70 spent a total of $283,000 and stand to be reimbursed for 41% of this amount, i.e. $117,000. Among the 1,193 candidates for the various positions of commissioners, 648 of them reported expenses totaling $476,000 and stand to be reimbursed for $268,000, i.e. 56% of these expenses.

In the 9 English language school boards, 11 of the 17 candidates for presidency reported election expenses totaling $76,000, concerning which they stand to be reimbursed for $39,000. Among the 167 candidates for commissioner positions, 85 spent $121,000, which could entitle them to reimbursements of $64,000.

On average, a candidate for a French school board spent $1,057 to promote his or her candidacy, while the average expenditure was $2,057 for a candidate for an English language school board. It is the school boards themselves that reimburse the election expenses of candidates in accordance with the Act respecting school elections, after the reports of election expenses have been verified and the expenses have been declared compliant.

Positions to be filled and candidacies

In addition to the information about candidates’ finances in the last school elections, the Portrait sur le financement et les dépenses des candidats autorisés provides statistics on positions to be filled and candidacies. It points out that 46% of the candidates in these elections were elected by acclamation and that in three school boards, all presidents and commissioners were appointed without elections. Conversely, all positions were subject to elections in 10 school boards out of 69.

Regarding candidacies, while the candidates in the running and elected between 45 and 64 years old were overrepresented in relation to the importance of their age group in the population, 18-34 year olds represented only 9% of candidates and 7% of newly elected officials, while they represent 22% of the population.

The Portrait sur le financement et les dépenses des candidats autorisés is available on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer at

Categories : School Board, General elections, School board financing, DGE

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