Contribution Rebate Program
Section 88.11 of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 (the “MEA”), provides that a municipality may pass a by-law to allow for the payment of rebates to individuals who contribute to candidates for an office on the municipal council, and may establish conditions under which such a rebate is paid.
What is the Contribution Rebate Program?
City Council passed By-law No. 2022-76 to authorize the City of Ottawa’s Contribution Rebate Program. Individuals may receive a portion of their monetary contribution(s) back and the amount a contributor is eligible to receive is based on the total amount of money they contributed to all candidates participating in the program.
Only candidates for Mayor or City Councillor are eligible to participate in the Contribution Rebate Program. Third party advertisers and School Board Trustees are not eligible to participate in the Contribution Rebate Program.
Campaign contributions from individuals are only eligible for a rebate if both the contributor and participating candidate meet the requirements of By-law No. 2022-76.
Campaign contributions to candidates for Mayor and City Councillor are any money, goods or services given to the candidate for use in their campaign, including money and goods they contribute to their own campaign.
The total value of contributions from an individual cannot exceed $1,200. An individual may not contribute more than a total of $5,000 to two or more candidates for offices on the same municipal council. A minimum contribution of $25.01 is required to be eligible for the payment of a rebate and the maximum rebate shall not exceed $75.
Where the participating has withdrawn their nomination in accordance with the MEA, each eligible contribution from individuals to the campaign are eligible for a 75 per cent rebate up to a maximum of $900 for their contribution to that campaign.
Only a contribution of money accepted by a participating candidate will be eligible for the payment of a rebate. Money includes cash, a cheque, money order or by a method that clearly shows where the funds came from, such as certain debit, credit or electronic transfer transactions.
The following are not eligible to receive the payment of a contribution rebate:
- Contributions of goods or services;
- Contributions of inventory from a prior election; and
- Contributions made by a candidate, a candidate's spouse, or a candidate's child to any candidate’s campaign.
Candidates for municipal office 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 for municipal office 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.
How to submit contribution rebate receipts
An individual who has made a campaign contribution and received the prescribed receipt from a participating candidate may apply to the City Clerk for a rebate using the Application for the Payment of a Contribution Rebate form printed on the back of the prescribed receipt. See Information for contributors for more information on requirements. Campaign contributions from individuals are only eligible for a rebate if both the contributor and participating candidate meet the requirements of By-law No. 2022-76.
To apply for a rebate, contributors must complete and submit this application to the City Clerk, and it must be received no later than 2 pm on November 28, 2023. The original copy of the application must be submitted to the Elections Office in person during regular business hours or by mail.
When are rebates issued?
The Elections Office will review the rebate applications to ensure that the contributor and candidate are compliant with the requirements of the program.
It is anticipated that rebates will be issued to eligible contributors in February 2024 once all compliance audit deadlines have passed and any Election Compliance Audit Application proceedings or prosecutions have ended.
Note: Municipal campaign contributions are not eligible for federal income tax purposes.
Information for participating candidates
To participate in the Contribution Rebate Program, candidates for Mayor and City Councillor must fill out a Contribution Rebate Program Application form, and comply with the provisions of By-law No. 2022-76.
The Contribution Rebate Program Application form is provided to candidates when they file their nomination. Candidates may apply to participate in the program at any time between the time they file their nomination and Nomination Day.
Please note that contributions made before a candidate applies for the Contribution Rebate Program are not eligible for a rebate.
Contribution rebate receipts
Participating candidates must issue a receipt to a contributor, for every contribution received. The receipt is required to be in the form established by the City Clerk, signed by a candidate or their agent, and should include the name of the contributor, the date the contribution is accepted, and its value.
If a candidate receives a cheque from a joint-personal account, the receipt must be issued only to the person who signed the cheque. The contribution can only come from one person.
Candidates are required to list the names and addresses of every contributor who gives more than $100 total to their campaign on their financial statement. Candidates should keep a record of the names and addresses of every contributor, regardless of the value of their contribution, because the same contributor may make multiple contributions that end up totalling more than $100.
If an eligible contributor has lost their receipt, candidates are required to complete the following steps to ensure they receive a rebate:
- Photocopy both sides of the pink copy of the contribution rebate receipt;
- Re-sign the new photocopies;
- Indicate “reissued” on the photocopies;
- Have the contributors fill out the new photocopies and submit them to the Elections Office; and
- Provide the Elections Office with a list of which receipts, including the receipt numbers, were reissued.
Information for contributors
Participation in the Contribution Rebate Program requires both the candidate and contributor to meet the requirements of By-law No. 2022-76.
Contributors are only eligible for the payment of a rebate if the participating candidate:
- Submits a completed Contribution Rebate Program Application form within the filing period;
- Issues a receipt, in the form prescribed by the City Clerk, for each contribution made under the rebate program;
- Files an initial financial statement and auditor’s report, including copies of receipts for all contributions, by the relevant filing date
- Files a supplementary financial statement and auditors report (if the candidate extended their campaign due to a deficit), including copies of receipts for all contributions, by the relevant filing date;
- Submits confirmation from an auditor that the candidate has not exceeded their spending limit;
- Paid any surplus in accordance with Section 88.32 of the MEA, within the time period stipulated by that section;
- Had no request for a compliance audit in accordance with Section 88.33 of the MEA, during the application period;
- In the event of a compliance audit in accordance with Section 88.33 of the MEA, the compliance audit committee or prosecutor decide not to commence legal proceedings, or a compliance audit has been completed; and
- Is not otherwise convicted of an offense with respect to an alleged contravention of the MEA.
Contributors are only eligible for the payment of a rebate if they:
- Have not been identified by the City Clerk as appearing to have made contributions exceeding what is permitted under Section 88.9 or 88.13 of the MEA;
- In the event of any proceedings in relation to the City Clerk’s review of contributions to candidates or third party advertisers on financial statements, the compliance audit committee or prosecutor decide not to commence legal proceedings; and
- Are not otherwise convicted of an offense with respect to an alleged contravention of the MEA.
The City Clerk will review the receipt filed by the contributor and the copy of the receipt filed by the participating candidate to ensure consistency. The City Clerk may also request further information from the contributor or participating candidate to determine whether a rebate may be issued in accordance with the by-law.
Consult By-law No. 2022-76 for a comprehensive list of the conditions required for the payment of a rebate.
Contributors applying for a contribution rebate
An individual who has made a campaign contribution and received the prescribed receipt from a participating candidate may apply to the City Clerk for a rebate using the Application for the Payment of a Contribution Rebate form printed on the back of the prescribed receipt.
Contribution rebate amount and formula
The following formula is used to calculate rebates to individuals who have contributed to participating candidates:
- If the contribution by an individual to a candidate is $25 or less, there is no rebate for that contribution;
- If the contribution by an individual to a candidate is equal to or greater than $25.01 and not more than $100, the rebate is 50% of the total contribution;
- If the contribution by an individual to a candidate is greater than $100, the rebate is $50 plus 25% of the amount by which the contribution exceeds $100; and
- The maximum rebate to an individual may not exceed $75, except for candidates who withdraw their nomination in accordance with the Act, in such circumstance, the rebate to an individual is 75% up to a maximum of $900.00.
If an individual makes more than one contribution to a single candidate, the formula noted above also applies. The rebate will be calculated using the sum of the contributions. For example, if an individual contributes $10, five different times to candidate X resulting in a total amount of $50, the individual is eligible for a rebate for their $50 contribution to candidate X.
The same formula applies if an individual makes a contribution to more than one candidate. The rebate will be calculated using the sum of the contributions, provided that no single contribution is less than $25.01. For example, if an individual contributes $20 to candidate X, and $50 to candidate Y, only the $50 contribution to candidate Y is eligible for a rebate.
|Total contribution||Total rebate|
|$25.00 or less||$0|
|$200.00 - $1,200.00||$75.00|
Contact the Elections Office
For more information on the City of Ottawa’s Contribution Rebate Program, contact the Elections Office at:
Mailing address: 1221 Cyrville Road, Unit B, Ottawa, ON K1J 7S8