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Information for candidates

Information for candidates - 2020 Cumberland By-election

Campaign finances

Candidates cannot raise or spend any money on their campaign until they have filed their nomination papers 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 November 15, 2022, 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.

Any person who is a resident of Ontario may contribute to a candidate’s campaign.

The following persons and entities shall not make a contribution:

  • 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.

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 MEA, 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;
  • 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 papers. This estimate is based on the number of electors in the previous regular election.

Election Compliance Audit Committee

The Election Compliance Audit Committee reviews applications for compliance audits of the election campaign finances of candidates and registered third-party advertisers and considers report(s) from the City Clerk on apparent contraventions of contribution limits. This page includes information on the Committee as well as Committee hearings and decisions.

Learn More