Ontario Reintroduces Election Finance Reform Bill
New Measures to Transform Political Fundraising in Ontario
Ontario is reintroducing measures to change the way political parties raise and spend money after hearing from the public, experts and opposition parties.
The government's proposed Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act would make the province's election financing system among the strongest and most transparent in Canada. Key reforms include:
- Barring corporations, unions and other groups not affiliated with political parties from making political donations
- Creating new restrictions on fundraising for politicians and political parties
- Limiting third-party spending on political advertising.
The proposed legislation builds on a similar bill introduced in May 2016 and includes a broader range of legislative measures that would go even further to ensure greater transparency and accountability of parties and candidates to the public.
The new bill would transform the province's election financing rules by:
- Reducing the total amount individuals can donate by almost 90 per cent (from $33,250 to $3,600 per year) -- to a maximum of $1,200 to a political party, $1,200 to its candidates and $1,200 to its constituency associations or nomination contestants in an election year
- Strengthening the rules to address coordination between political actors and third parties
- Expanding the definition of a political contribution to include paid labour
- Promoting greater transparency in political fundraising events by requiring political parties to post event details to their public websites, including information such as the fees charged to attendees and the intended recipients of those funds.
Later this fall, Ontario will also propose a further amendment to ban MPPs, candidates, party leaders, nomination contestants and leadership contestants from attending political fundraising events. In addition to these legislative measures, the government has committed to working with opposition party members to develop a code of conduct that would set out fair, balanced rules for all elected officials.
The new proposed Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act is part of Ontario's commitment to reintroduce all government bills that were before the legislature in spring 2016, so that debate on important issues may continue.
- This bill includes all of the amendments that were made to the original Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act in committee.
- The legislation proposes that the measures take effect on January 1, 2017, in order to have these reforms in place by the next general election.
- Next to Québec, Ontario already has the lowest spending limit per voter for political parties during an election period in Canada.
- Ontario also plans to move forward with a number of other legislative measures later this fall, including changing the fixed election date from fall to spring, allowing provisional registration of 16- and 17-year-olds and integrating, simplifying and modernizing a range of election processes, based on the advice of the Chief Electoral Officer.
“With our government's proposed reforms, Ontario's electoral financing system would be the strongest and most transparent in Canada. These proposed measures strengthen our commitment to modernizing electoral financing and build on meaningful engagement with the general public, experts and opposition parties. I look forward to further measures to improve Ontarians' engagement in the electoral process and to continue to increase public confidence.”
“We’re changing the way politics is done in Ontario. Through dialogue and collaboration with stakeholders, experts, the public and our colleagues of all political stripes, these transformative measures will — if passed — not only build Ontarians’ confidence in the electoral process, but will make our province’s election financing system among the strongest and most transparent in Canada.”