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About the Proposed Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act

Archived Backgrounder

About the Proposed Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act

Government House Leader's Office

Ontario is proposing a number of measures that would modernize the province's political fundraising and spending rules, making Ontario's electoral financing system among the strongest and most transparent in Canada.

The Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act, if passed, would introduce reforms in several key areas, including:

  • Contributions to political parties and other political actors (i.e., candidates, constituency associations, nomination contestants and leadership contestants)
  • Advertising spending by third parties during an election period, and political parties and third parties in the six months before a scheduled general election is called
  • Regulation of nomination contestants (i.e., individuals who compete to represent a political party as a candidate in a particular riding)

The bill also includes a number of other proposed changes, including rules around loans and guarantees, a per-vote allowance, and election expense reimbursement thresholds.

Contributions and donations

Ontario is proposing a new approach to the way parties, candidates and constituency organizations are funded. Under the proposed legislation, parties could no longer receive financial support from corporations or unions, and would instead rely on donations from individuals and public funds.

Current system

How this would change

Corporations and unions are allowed to donate money to parties, candidates, constituency organizations, nomination contestants and leadership contestants.

Corporations and unions would be banned from donating money or guaranteeing loans to parties, candidates, constituency organizations, nomination contestants and leadership contestants.

Individuals may give a maximum of:

  • $9,975 to each party annually and in an election period
  • $1,330 to a candidate, to a maximum of $6,650 to the candidates of a party in an election period
  • $1,330 to a constituency association, to a maximum of $6,650 to the constituency associations of a party each year
  • No limits for contributions to nomination contestants and leadership contestants.

Individuals would be allowed to give a maximum of:

  • $1,550 to a party each year
  • $1,550 to a candidate, to a maximum of $3,100 to the candidates of a party in an election period
  • $1,550 to a constituency association and nomination contestant, to a maximum of $3,100 to the constituency associations and nomination contestants of a party each year
  • $1,550 to each leadership contestant of a party annually from registration and during a leadership contest.

No per-vote allowance to political parties.

Parties would receive public funding of $2.26 for every vote received in the previous general election; this amount would be reduced over the next five years after which it will be reviewed.

(Note: to be eligible for public funding, parties would need to receive at least two per cent of the vote in the previous election or at least five per cent of the vote in electoral districts where the party ran candidates).

Political advertising

Next to Québec, Ontario currently has the lowest spending limit per voter for political parties during an election period in Canada. The proposed changes would limit the potential influence of third parties both during and before an election period, and help level the playing field among political parties before an election period.

With these changes, Ontario's approach to the regulation of third-party advertising would be the most comprehensive in Canada.

Current system

How this would change

No limit on what political parties can spend on advertising before an election period.

Parties would be limited to spending no more than $1 million on advertising in the six months before a scheduled general election is called.

No limit on what third parties can spend during an election period.

Third parties would face the following restrictions on political advertising:

  • $100,000 maximum political advertising spend during an election period, including a limit of no more than $4,000 on political advertising in a specific riding
  • $600,000 maximum political advertising spend during the six months before a scheduled general election is called, including a limit of no more than $24,000 on political advertising in a specific riding.

No rules about whether third parties may collaborate on political advertising campaigns.

Strict anti-collusion measures applied to third parties for circumventing, or attempting to circumvent, spending limits would help ensure the rules are followed. 

Nomination contestants

For the first time, Ontario is regulating nomination contestants and ensuring rules regarding spending and contribution limits are applicable.

Current system

How this would change

Nomination contestants are not required to register or report financial contributions or spending to Elections Ontario.

Nomination contestants would be required to register in order to receive contributions and incur expenses, and to report on these activities.

No limit on the amount of money individuals may give to nomination contestants.

Individuals would be allowed to give $1,550 to a nomination contestant, to a maximum of $3,100 to the constituency associations and nomination contestants of a party annually.

No limit on the amount of money nomination contestants can spend.

Nomination contestants would be allowed to spend up to 20 per cent of the candidate spending limit in the electoral district in the previous election.


Additional Resources

Media Contacts

  • Kyle Richardson

    Office of the Government House Leader

    416-325-8291

  • Brendan Crawley

    Communications Branch, Ministry of the Attorney General

    416-326-2210

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