Provincial Electoral Finance FAQs
Are there restrictions on who can make a political contribution in B.C.?
Yes. Political contributions can only be made by eligible individuals. An eligible individual is a resident of British Columbia and a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
Are there political contribution limits in B.C.?
Yes. Eligible individuals can give a total of $1,200 a year to a political party, its candidates, nomination contestants and registered constituency associations. They can also give a maximum of $1,200 to each independent candidate and to each leadership contestant in relation to a leadership contest called after 2017.
How much does a contributor have to give for their name to be disclosed in a provincial election financing report?
More than $250 in a reporting period.
What is the amount of the provincial political contribution tax credit?
Currently the maximum annual tax credit is $500. A taxpayer must contribute at least $1,150 to receive the maximum credit.
Can anyone loan money to a political party, constituency association, candidate, leadership contestant or nomination contestant?
No. A permissible loan, or a guarantee for a permissible loan, must be made only by a savings institution at a rate of interest that is not less than the prime rate of the principal banker to the government at the time the rate of interest for the loan is fixed.
What is the difference between a specified fundraising function and a fundraising function?
All specified fundraising functions are fundraising functions, but not all fundraising functions are specified fundraising functions. A specified fundraising function is a fundraising function that is attended by a member of the Executive Council, a parliamentary secretary or a leader of a major political party and is held for the purpose of raising funds for a major political party, a candidate, a leadership contestant or a constituency association for a major political party. Information on specified fundraising functions must be reported to Elections BC at least 7 days prior to the function and no later than 60 days after the function.
Are there election expense limits in B.C.?
Yes. In respect of the campaign period for a general election, a political party’s election expenses limit is $1.16 times the total number of registered voters and a candidate’s election expenses limit is $58,000.
For a by-election, both the political party and candidate election expenses limit is $58,000.
These amounts will be adjusted for changes to the Consumer Price Index.
Does a candidate get reimbursed for their election expenses?
Sometimes. If the candidate received at least 10% of the valid votes in their electoral district, the candidate is eligible to be reimbursed for up to 50% of their election expenses providing they submit an election financing report and a claim for reimbursement, including financial records and receipts, to Elections BC.
Does a political party get reimbursed for their election expenses?
Sometimes. If a political party received at least 5% of the valid votes cast in a general election, the political party is eligible to be reimbursed for up to 50% of their election expenses providing they submit an election financing report and a claim for reimbursement, including financial records and receipts, to Elections BC. For a by-election, a party must have received at least 10% of the valid votes.
Do all political parties receive an annual allowance?
No. Only registered political parties whose candidates received:
- at least 2% of valid votes cast in all electoral districts, or
- 5% of valid votes in the electoral districts in which the political party endorsed candidates
in the most recent general election will receive an annual allowance.
Do all political parties file interim financial reports?
No. Only political parties that are eligible for an annual allowance are required to file interim financial reports.
What periods are relevant to an election campaign?
Election period – the time between when an election is called and when the writ is returned to the Chief Electoral Officer.
Campaign period – the time between when an election is called and the close of voting (usually 8 p.m. Pacific time) on General Voting Day.
What is a pre-campaign period and who does it apply to?
The pre-campaign period is the period beginning 60 days before the writs for a fixed date general election are issued and ending on the day before the writs are issued. The pre-campaign period applies only to third party sponsors.
What do I need to do if I want to sponsor third party advertising during an election?
- Register with Elections BC before sponsoring any advertising.
- Make sure you understand the rules and contact Elections BC at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-661-8683 if you have questions.
Are there exceptions to the authorization statement requirement?
Yes. Clothing, novelty items such as buttons, badges, wrist bands and small items of nominal value like pens, mugs and magnets are exempt. Contact Elections BC to confirm if a specific form of advertising requires an authorization statement.
Are there specific rules for messages on the Internet?
Yes. Internet messages without a placement cost (e.g. free social media posts) are not election advertising, and none of the requirements of the Election Act apply.
For Internet advertising with a placement cost, the authorization statement is not required if selecting or clicking the ad sends the user to another page that contains the authorization statement.
Is election advertising prohibited on General Voting Day?
Election advertising in newspapers, magazines, on TV or on the radio is prohibited on General Voting Day.
Distributing pamphlets, signs and posters is allowed if at least 100 meters away from voting places and district electoral offices. New Internet advertising cannot be posted on General Voting Day, and existing Internet advertising cannot be changed on General Voting day.
These restrictions do not apply to:
- notices for events that the leader of a registered political party plans to attend, or
- invitations to meet or hear the leader of a registered political party.
Can election signs be put up before the election is called?
The Election Act doesn’t restrict this, but municipal bylaws and Ministry of Transportation policies may. Contact your municipality, or see the ministry’s election signs policy here.
Where can election signs be put up?
Under the Election Act signs cannot be put up within 100 metres of a voting place or district electoral office. Municipal bylaws and Ministry of Transportation policies may also apply. See the ministry’s election signs policy here.
Can I put an election sign in my apartment window?
Yes. Landlords cannot prohibit tenants from putting up campaign signs in their apartment. However, landlords can set reasonable limits on the size and type of signs, and may prohibit signs from being posted in common areas.
Can a business put election signs up on their property?
Contact your municipality about the bylaws in your area.
I saw an election sign without an authorization statement. What should I do?
Double check the sign to make sure it’s missing the authorization statement. Sometimes they are small and hard to see.
If the sign is missing the authorization statement, contact Elections BC at email@example.com or 1-800-661-8683. Note the location of the sign and take a picture if possible.
Can candidates use words like “re-elect” or their professional title on signs?
Can a candidate put up signs in another electoral district?
What is a sponsorship contribution and who can give one?
A sponsorship contribution is a contribution that is provided to a third party advertising sponsor for the purpose of sponsoring election advertising. Only eligible individuals are permitted to give sponsorship contributions. An eligible individual is someone who is a resident of British Columbia and a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
Are there sponsorship contribution limits in B.C.?
Yes. An eligible individual must not, in a calendar year, make sponsorship contributions that have a total value greater than $1,200 to any one third party sponsor.
Do third party sponsors have expense limits?
Yes. In respect of a general election, during the campaign period, the advertising expense limit for third party sponsors for a single electoral district is $3,000 and $150,000 overall. In respect of a by-election, during the campaign period, the advertising expense limit for third party sponsors is $3,000.
Can anyone loan money to a third party sponsor to be used for election advertising purposes?
No, a permissible loan, or a guarantee for a permissible loan must be made only by a savings institution at a rate of interest that is not less than the prime rate of the principal banker to the government at the time the rate of interest for the loan is fixed.