Election Campaign Expenses

Candidates are responsible for reading and understanding Part 5.1 of the  Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA) as it pertains to Municipal Election Finance and Contribution Disclosure. 

Candidate Registration 

Beginning in 2014, no candidate may accept campaign contributions, including the funds of the candidate, unless the candidate is registered with the municipality in which the candidate intends to run. It is very important that candidates check with the Town of Three Hills to learn where to find the registration information and how to become registered prior to accepting any campaign contributions. 

If a candidate has funded their campaign exclusively from their own funds, up to $10,000, they are not required to register with the Town of Three Hills. 

For more information about registering as a candidate you are encouraged to read section 147.21 of the LAEA or to speak with the returning officer or chief administrative officer in your municipality. The municipality will have the required forms that you will need to complete. 

Contributions and Expenses 

 What are allowable campaign expenses? 

The payments of the following expenses, related to the election campaign, are not considered a contravention of the legislation: 
  • Actual personal expenses of the candidate; 
  • Cost of acquiring premises, accommodation, goods or services for proper election campaign expenses; 
  • Bona fide payments for the fair cost of printing and advertising; 
  • Reasonable and ordinary payment to any person for the hire of transportation used by a candidate or speakers in travelling to and from public meetings or by any person in connection with, and for the proper purposes of an election. 
 Candidate Self-funded Contributions 

A candidate may entirely self-fund their campaign up to and including $10,000 in any campaign period. If a candidate self-funds their campaign, there is no need for the candidate to register with the Town of Three Hills under section 147.21, open a bank account specifically for campaign contributions, or to file a disclosure statement. 

 Contributions to Candidates 

Candidates may accept contributions from any person, corporation, trade union or employee organization up to $5,000 in any year. 

A candidate must open a bank account in the name of the candidate or in the name of the campaign as soon as possible after the amount of contributions from any person, corporation, trade union or employee organization exceeds $5000 in the aggregate or the total amount of contributions from any person, corporation, trade union or employee organization in combination with any money paid by the candidate out of the candidate’s own funds first exceeds $5,000 in the aggregate. 

It is important to know that contributions of real property, personal property, goods and services have a value. Receipts must be issued for every contribution received and be obtained for every expense throughout the duration of the campaign. 

Campaign contributions do not include services provided by a volunteer who voluntarily performs the services and receives no compensation, directly or indirectly, in relation to the services or the time spent providing the services. 

All campaign records of contributions and expenses should be kept for a minimum of two (2) years following the general election. 

 Anonymous & Ineligible Contributions 

If a candidate receives an anonymous contribution, the candidate must return the contribution to the contributor immediately (if the identity of the contributor is known) or pay the total contribution to the municipality.

Campaign Disclosure Statements 

 Deadline to File

 Campaign Disclosure Statements (Form 21) must be filed with the returning officer or municipality on or before March 1st following a general election.

 What is included on the Disclosure?

The campaign disclosure statement contains information about the contributions received, any additional sources of funding, campaign expenditures, campaign deficits, or campaign surpluses. 

The disclosure will include the name and address of those contributors whose donations exceeded $100 in the aggregate, and the total amount of all contributions received that did not exceed $100 in the aggregate. 

 Campaign Deficits
 
A candidate who incurs a deficit during an election and does not run in the next general election, must clear that deficit and file an amended disclosure statement with the Town of Three Hills showing the deficit has been eliminated. 

 Campaign Surplus

A candidate who incurs a surplus during an election is required to provide all surplus funds to the municipality to be held in-trust until the next general election Nomination Day. If the candidate does not run in the next general election, the candidate must direct the Town of Three Hills to pay all surplus funds to the charity of the candidate’s choice.  If the municipality does not receive direction from the candidate, the surplus funds will become the property of the Town of Three Hills.