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.
A candidate’s campaign period begins once their nomination papers are filed and ends no later than December 31, 2018. 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. A candidate may take action to extend their campaign in order to do some additional fundraising.
If a candidate’s campaign has a surplus, the candidate must pay the surplus to the 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:
A campaign period will continue until the earliest of the following:
- the deficit is erased;
- the candidate runs for another office in a subsequent election or by-election;
- the candidate notifies the Clerk in writing they are no longer accepting any contributions;
- July 2, 2019, in the case of a regular election; or
- six months from the 45th day after voting day, in the case of a by-election.
Candidates that extend their campaign must submit two financial statements by the statutory deadline dates:
- Filing of Financial Statements - Friday, March 29, 2019, at 2 pm
- Supplementary Financial Filing - Friday, September 27, 2019, at 2 pm
Candidates are responsible for filing a complete and accurate financial statement by Friday, March 29, 2019, at 2 pm. The statement covers the period from the day the candidate filed their nomination papers until December 31, 2018.
Any candidate that filed a nomination form, must file a financial statement. This includes candidates who withdrew their nomination, candidates who were not certified and did not appear on the ballot, and candidates who were acclaimed.
A candidate must notify the Clerk, in writing, of any Court extension by 2 pm on Friday, March 29, 2019. Penalties will commence at 2:01 pm on Friday, March 29, 2019.
Note: Candidates will not receive a refund of their nomination fee unless they file their financial statement by the deadline.
Supplementary financial statements
The final date for nominated candidates, who extended their campaign, to file their supplementary financial statement is Friday, September 27, 2019, at 2 pm. The statement covers the period from the day the candidate filed their nomination papers until July 2, 2019.
A candidate must notify the Clerk, in writing, of any Court extension by 2 pm on Friday, September 27, 2019. Penalties will commence at 2:01 pm on September 27, 2019.
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.