Provincial Government Proposes New Draft Electoral Financing Rules

Ontario is proposing sweeping changes to the way political parties raise and spend money that would make Ontario’s electoral financing rules among the strongest in Canada.

Today Ontario intends to introduce the Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act, which includes a number of legislative measures that would, if passed, modernize the province’s election financing rules.  “Today’s legislation will serve as a starting point for a broad discussion between M.P.P.s, experts, stakeholders and the public,” Government House Leader Yasir Naqvi said.

Government House Leader Yasir Naqvi
Government House Leader Yasir Naqvi

The proposed changes include:

  • Banning donations and loan guarantees by corporations and unions
  • Capping the amount of money third parties can spend on political advertising, and introducing strict anti-collusion measures
  • Placing new limits on the amount of money individuals can donate to a political party, candidate, constituency association, nomination contestant, and leadership contestant
  • Creating a per-vote allowance for political parties based on the number of votes they receive in the previous general election.

The Province is proposing a broad consultation process to gain feedback on the draft legislation from a wide variety of stakeholders. To facilitate this consultation, Ontario is proposing to send the legislation to committee after First Reading. This would enable the committee to examine the legislation in principle, and propose amendments that may dramatically alter its scope. The legislation will go back to committee for further input after Second Reading.

The Province is also proposing a consultation process at committee that would include presentations from the Chief Electoral Officer, the Green Party of Ontario, experts chosen by the opposition party and four weeks of public hearings across the province over the course of summer 2016.

The legislation is in response to a recent series of articles highlighting Liberal fundraising practises.