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 office of mayor or councillor, and may establish conditions under which such a rebate is paid.
Contribution Rebate Program
For the purposes of the contribution rebate program:
- “Individual” means an individual residing in the Province of Ontario; and
- “Participating candidate” means a candidate for an office on the municipal council who has submitted a completed application form to the Clerk for the purpose of participating in the contribution rebate program and who meets the requirements of By-law No. 2018-33.
By-law No. 2018-33 authorizes the establishment of the City of Ottawa’s Contribution Rebate Program. It allows for the payment of rebates to individuals who contribute to participating candidates running for municipal council.
Registered third parties and school board trustees are not eligible to participate in the contribution rebate program.
Campaign Contributions to Candidates for Municipal Office
Campaign contributions to candidates for municipal office 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.
Note: Municipal campaign contributions are not eligible for federal income tax purposes.
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:
- Trade unions;
- An individual who is not normally a resident of Ontario;
- A federal political party, constituency association, or a registered candidate in a federal election;
- A provincial political party, constituency association, or a registered candidate or leadership contestant; and
- A federal or provincial government, a municipality or a school board.
Contribution Rebate Program Eligibility
Campaign contributions from individuals are only eligible for a rebate if both the contributor and participating candidate meet the requirements of By-law No. 2018-33.
The following are not eligible to receive a contribution rebate:
- A candidate or the candidate’s spouse; or
- The dependent child of a candidate.
Only a contribution of money accepted by the participating candidate during their campaign period will be eligible for the payment of a rebate. A contribution of money includes cash, a cheque or money order.
A minimum contribution of $25.01 is required to be eligible for the payment of a rebate. See the Contribution Rebate Calculations section for more information on the eligible rebate amounts a contributor may receive.
Participating in the Contribution Rebate Program
To participate in the contribution rebate program, candidates for mayor and councillor must fill out a Contribution Rebate Program Application form, and comply with the provisions of By-law No. 2018-33.
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, individuals who make contributions to candidates are eligible for a rebate only once the candidate has applied for the contribution rebate program.
The Contribution Rebate Program Application form must be filed in person at the Elections Office, or by registered mail. If candidates submit a completed application via registered mail, they will receive a confirmation of receipt from the Elections Office.
Complying with the Contribution Rebate Program
Participation in the contribution rebate program requires candidates to meet the requirements of By-law No. 2018-33.
Contributors are only eligible for the payment of a rebate if the participating candidates:
- Submit a completed Contribution Rebate Program Application form within the filing period;
- Issue a receipt, in the form prescribed by the Clerk, for each contribution made under the rebate program;
- File a financial statement and auditor’s report, including copies of receipts for all contributions, by the relevant filing date including any required supplementary audited financial statements;
- Have an auditor confirm 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; and
- Pass the deadline for an application for a compliance audit under section 88.33 of the MEA, with no request for a compliance audit.
The Clerk will review the receipt filed by the contributor and the copy of the receipt filed by the participating candidate to ensure consistency. The 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. 2018-33 for a comprehensive list of the conditions required for the payment of 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 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.
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 Clerk for a rebate using the Application for the Payment of a Contribution Rebate form printed on the back of the prescribed receipt.
2018 Municipal Elections
At its July 10, 2019 meeting, Ottawa City Council approved a motion to amend the Contribution Rebate Program. Specifically, the motion amends the deadline for contributors to submit a rebate application for contributions made on or before December 31, 2018, from May 28, 2019, at 2 pm to November 29, 2019, at 2 pm.
To receive a rebate for contributions made on or before July 2, 2019, contributors must submit a completed Application for the Payment of a Contribution Rebate form to the Clerk and it must be received no later than 2 pm on November 29, 2019.
Contribution rebates will not be issued until the participating candidate’s campaign period has ended, and the provisions of the by-law have been met. Rebate cheques for the 2018 Municipal Elections will be issued in February 2020, in accordance with By-law No. 2018-33.
2019 Rideau-Rockcliffe By-election
To receive a rebate for contributions made on or before May 30, 2019, the contributor must submit a completed Application for the Payment of a Contribution Rebate form to the Clerk and it must be received no later than 2 pm on September 3, 2019.
If a candidate has extended their campaign, contributions made between May 31, 2019, and December 2, 2019, are eligible for a rebate. Contributors must submit a completed Application for the Payment of a Contribution Rebate form to the Clerk and it must be received no later than 2 pm on March 2, 2020.
Contribution rebates will not be issued until the participating candidate’s campaign period has ended, and the provisions of the by-law have been met. Rebate cheques for the 2019 Rideau-Rockcliffe By-election will be issued in April 2020, in accordance with By-law No. 2018-33.
Contribution Rebate Calculations
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.
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.
Sample Rebate Calculations
|$25.00 or less
|$200.00 - $1,200.00
Contact the Elections Office
For more information on the City of Ottawa’s contribution rebate program, you can contact the Elections Office at:
Mailing Address: 1221 Cyrville Road, Unit B, Ottawa, ON K1J 7S8