Candidates cannot raise or spend any money on their campaign until they have filed their nomination forms and opened a bank account exclusively for the purposes of the election campaign.
Candidates are responsible for keeping records of the financial activities related to their campaign and are required to keep these records until Saturday, November 15, 2026, when the next council or school board takes office.
Campaign contributions are any money, goods or services that are given to a candidate for use in their campaign, including money and goods that a candidate contributes to themselves. Candidates must issue a receipt for every contribution they receive. The receipt should show who made the contribution, the date, and the value of the contribution.
Candidates can accept contributions from:
- Individuals who are normally residents of Ontario; and
- The candidate and their spouse. (Note: if a candidate’s spouse is not usually a resident of Ontario, they can still contribute to their spouse’s campaign.)
Candidates cannot accept contributions from:
- A federal political party registered under the Canada Elections Act (Canada) or any federal constituency association or registered candidate at a federal election endorsed by that party.
- A provincial political party, constituency association, registered candidate or leadership contestant registered under the Election Finances Act.
- A corporation that carries on business in Ontario.
- A trade union that holds bargaining rights for employees in Ontario.
- The Crown in right of Canada or Ontario, a municipality or a local board.
Campaign contribution limits
Individuals may contribute a maximum of $1,200 to a single candidate. This includes the value of any goods or services donated to the campaign. Individuals may not contribute more than $5,000 in total to candidates running for offices on the same council or school board. Any contribution of money must come directly from the contributor.
Contributions greater than $25 may not be made in cash. All contributions above $25 must be made by cheque, money order, or by a method that clearly shows where the funds come from.
Under the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, candidates are required to inform each of their contributors of these contribution limits.
There is a limit on how much a candidate running for municipal council and their spouse can contribute to their own campaign.
The contribution limit is calculated based on the number of electors who are eligible to vote for each office. The following formula is used to calculate the limit that a candidate running for municipal council, and their spouse, can contribute to their own campaign:
- Candidates running for Mayor: $7,500 plus 20 cents per elector, to a maximum of $25,000; and
- Candidates running for City Councillor: $5,000 plus 20 cents per elector, to a maximum of $25,000.
Candidates are provided with an estimate of their contribution limit when they file their nomination forms. This estimate is based on the number of electors in the previous regular election.
Campaign contribution rebates
Candidates for Mayor or City Councillor may participate in the City’s Contribution Rebate Program and contributors may receive a rebate in accordance with the By-law No. 2022-76.
Candidates for School Board Trustee and third party advertisers are not eligible to participate in the City’s Contribution Rebate Program.
The campaign period for a candidate for Mayor, City Councillor and School Board Trustee begins on the day their nomination forms are filed and ends on Tuesday, January 3, 2023. On this date, the candidate’s campaign is automatically closed. Candidates cannot accept any contributions or incur any expenses after the end of the campaign period.
If at the end of the campaign period a candidate’s campaign expenses are greater than their campaign income, their campaign will be in deficit. Candidates with a deficit may extend their campaign to fundraise.
If a candidate’s campaign has a surplus, the candidate must pay the surplus to the City Clerk when filing their financial statement.
Extending a campaign
If a candidate has a deficit at the end of the campaign period, they can extend their campaign for an additional six months to attempt to erase the deficit.
To extend a campaign, a candidate must:
The extended campaign period will continue until the earliest of the following:
- the deficit is erased;
- the candidate notifies the City Clerk in writing they are no longer accepting any contributions; or
- the end of the Supplementary Campaign Period on Friday, June 30, 2023.
Candidates that extend their campaign must submit two financial statements by the statutory deadline dates as follows:
- Initial financial statement must be filed on or before Friday, March 31, 2023 at 2 pm
- Supplementary financial statement must be filed on or before Friday, September 29, 2023 at 2 pm