Political Financing Handbook for Candidates and Official Agents (EC 20155) – December 2023
10. Candidate's Personal Expenses
This chapter discusses the candidate's personal expenses and reporting requirements. It covers the following topics:
- What are the candidate's personal expenses?
- Who can incur and pay the candidate's personal expenses?
- Typical personal expenses (care and disability expenses, compensation of candidates' representatives, other personal expenses)
What are the candidate's personal expenses?
Personal expenses of the candidate include the following types of expenses listed in the Canada Elections Act and reasonably incurred in relation to the candidate's campaign, both during and outside the election period:
- childcare expenses
- expenses related to the provision of care for a person with a physical or mental incapacity for whom the candidate normally provides such care
- in the case of a candidate who has a disability, additional personal expenses that are related to the disability
- expenses incurred to pay the candidate's representatives at a polling station or at the office of a returning officer, up to a limit of $5,000 set by Elections Canada
- other personal expenses—that is, all personal expenses other than those in the preceding categories—up to a limit of $200 set by Elections Canada
The candidate's personal expenses do not count against the election expenses limit. They may be eligible for partial reimbursement. See Chapter 18, Reimbursements and Subsidies, for more information.
Note: The candidate's personal expenses must be new expenses or increases in normally incurred expenses. In other words, they are expenses that the candidate incurred only because there was an election.
Who can incur and pay the candidate's personal expenses?
Only the candidate, the official agent or a person authorized in writing by the official agent can incur the candidate's personal expense.
Anyone can pay the candidate's personal expenses. They can be paid:
- by the official agent from the campaign bank account
- by the candidate using their own funds, including funds provided by another person or group for that purpose
- by any person or group directly, using their own funds, with the candidate's consent
The following table explains different scenarios for paying personal expenses other than from the campaign bank account.
|Payment scenario and expense category
|What to keep in mind
|Candidate pays any personal expense and intends to be repaid by the campaign
|The campaign has to repay the candidate within 36 months after election day. After that date, the repayment cannot be made without prior authorization from Elections Canada or a judge.
|Candidate or others pay care or disability expenses and do not intend to be repaid
|The candidate, other person or group makes the payment without going through the campaign bank account. It is not a contribution but must still be reported in the candidate's return.
|Candidate or others pay candidates' representative expenses and do not intend to be repaid
|Same as above. The campaign can accept payments from the candidate and others up to a combined total of $5,000 in this category. Over the limit, the expense is still reported as a personal expense but is not eligible for reimbursement and cannot be paid by the candidate or others.*
|Candidate or others pay other personal expenses and do not intend to be repaid
|Same as above. The campaign can accept payments from the candidate and others up to a combined total of $200 in this category. Over the limit, the expense is still reported as a personal expense but is not eligible for reimbursement and cannot be paid by the candidate or others.*
*An expense over the limit is not exempted from the contribution rules. Paying the expense is a non-monetary contribution, unless the candidate pays with their own funds and is repaid by the campaign.
Note: Be careful of the category limits when allowing candidates' representative or other personal expenses to be paid other than from the campaign bank account. Payment of expenses over the category limit may result in ineligible contributions.
Typical personal expenses
The following are examples of typical personal expenses that the candidate might incur in relation to their campaign.
The candidate might engage in campaign activities during the daytime, evenings or weekends. If the candidate would normally be at home caring for a child at these times, the expense for additional childcare incurred as an incidence of the election is a personal expense of the candidate.
Childcare may include daycare, babysitting services, day camps and tutoring, when these expenses have been incurred only because of an election.
- Raffi, a candidate, has officially launched his campaign for an election that will be held later in the year. He has sole care of his child on weekends. When he goes canvassing one Saturday, Raffi leaves his child with a babysitter for three hours. The expense for the babysitter is a personal expense of the candidate.
- Santina, a candidate, has a child who is normally in daycare five days a week. This care continues during the election period. As there is no additional cost because of the election, there is no personal expense to report.
- Marvin, a candidate, normally helps his child with homework in the evening. His campaign activities prevent him from providing this support during the election, so he hires a tutor for two nights a week. The expense for this tutoring is a personal expense of the candidate.
Care for a person with a physical or mental incapacity
If the candidate normally provides care for a person with a physical or mental incapacity, additional care might be needed for the times when the candidate is engaged in campaign activities. The expense for additional care is a personal expense of the candidate.
Expenses related to a disability
In the case of a candidate with a disability, the additional expenses related to the disability that are reasonably incurred as an incidence of the election are personal expenses of the candidate.
- Ana, a candidate, has a disability that requires the services of a caregiver when she travels. The caregiver accompanies Ana on trips in the riding. The expenses of this additional care are personal expenses of the candidate.
- Boris, a candidate, has a disability that requires him to use accessible forms of transportation. He regularly travels from home to his campaign office and to campaign events using accessible taxis. The expenses for the taxis are personal expenses of the candidate. If his campaign qualifies for a reimbursement, Boris will get a higher reimbursement by correctly reporting the fares as personal expenses rather than travel and living expenses.
For a detailed discussion of this topic, please refer to Elections Canada's interpretation note 2019‑07, Accessibility Expenses and Disability-Related Personal Expenses, on the Elections Canada website.
Expenses to pay the candidate's representatives
Unremunerated candidates' representatives at the polls provide volunteer labour, which is not considered an expense and is not reported.
However, if the candidate decides to pay for the compensation of their representatives at the polls or at the office of the returning officer when electors receive special ballots, these expenses are personal expenses of the candidate.
This category has a limit of $5,000 established by Elections Canada. Compensation in excess of the limit is still reported as a personal expense but must be funded by the campaign and is not eligible for reimbursement.
Other personal expenses
This category includes personal expenses other than those in the preceding categories.
It is the category in which to report items such as costs of dry cleaning and personal grooming. All the items reported must be for expenses that the candidate would not normally incur if there was no election.
This category has a limit of $200 established by Elections Canada. Other personal expenses in excess of the limit are still reported as personal expenses but must be funded by the campaign and are not eligible for reimbursement.