Provincial Electoral Finance FAQs

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Campaign Periods


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.

 


Electoral Financing


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?

A specified fundraising function is a fundraising function that is attended by a prominent attendee, including member of the Executive Council (i.e. Cabinet), 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, a nomination 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. See our Specified Fundraising Functions page for details.

 


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.

Election Expenses


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 file with Elections BC an election financing report and a claim for reimbursement, including financial records and receipts.

 


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 file with Elections BC an election financing report and a claim for reimbursement, including financial records and receipts. For a by-election, a party must have received at least 10% of the valid votes.

 


Election Advertising


Do I need to include a name and contact information (authorization statement) on all advertising?

Yes, however, clothing, novelty items such as buttons, badges, wrist bands and small items of nominal value like pens, mugs and magnets are exempt from this rule. Contact electoral.finance@elections.bc.ca or 1-800-661-8683 to confirm if a specific form of advertising requires an authorization statement.

 


Are there specific rules for online advertising?

Yes. Election messages transmitted over the Internet are election advertising only if they meet the applicable definition of election advertising and have, or would normally have, a placement cost. A placement cost is the cost of purchasing election advertising space on a social media site or other website.

For example, the costs of placing social media ads or boosting social content, banner ads, pre-roll videos or ads on Facebook or other social media sites are placement costs. Ad space received for free that normally has a placement cost is also election advertising. Messages without placement costs on the internet, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media posts, YouTube videos, emails and websites are not election advertising. The costs related to creating, maintaining and posting messages on a website are also not placement costs.

 


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,
  • invitations to meet or hear the leader of a registered political party, or
  • messages transmitted on the Internet encouraging voters to vote in the election.

 


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.

 


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.

 


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 electoral.finance@elections.bc.ca 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?

Yes. Aside from ensuring all election advertising has an authorization statement, Elections BC does not regulate the content of election advertising.

 


Can a candidate put up signs in another electoral district?

Yes.