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Political Financing Handbook for Candidates and Official Agents (EC 20155) – April 2024

12. Candidate's Litigation Expenses

This chapter discusses the candidate's litigation expenses and reporting requirements. It covers the following topics:

  • What are the candidate's litigation expenses?
  • Who can incur and pay the candidate's litigation expenses?
  • Reimbursement for a judicial recount

What are the candidate's litigation expenses?

Litigation expenses of a candidate are expenses for any of the following related to the campaign:

  • a request or application related to a judicial recount
  • an application to a judge related to the financial administration of the campaign (extension requests, relief from the obligation to file a corrected return, payment authorizations, etc.)
  • an application to contest the election in the candidate's electoral district
  • an appeal or judicial review related to the requests or applications above

Litigation expenses do not count against the election expenses limit. They are not eligible for reimbursement, except in the case of some expenses for judicial recounts.

Who can incur and pay the candidate's litigation expenses?

Only the candidate, the official agent or a person authorized in writing by the official agent can incur the candidate's litigation expenses.

Anyone can pay litigation expenses of the candidate. 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 litigation expenses other than from the campaign bank account.

Payment source What to keep in mind
Candidate pays a litigation 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 a
litigation expense 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.

Note: After sending the Candidate's Statement of Expenses to the official agent, if the candidate or others pay a litigation expense, the candidate must send details of the expense and proof of payment to the official agent as soon as possible. The official agent will need to submit a revised candidate's return. See Additional reporting in Chapter 17, Reporting.

Reimbursement for a judicial recount

After a judicial recount, a candidate can apply to Elections Canada for reimbursement of their costs associated with the recount. The application must set out:

  • the amount and nature of the costs
  • evidence that the costs were actually and reasonably incurred

Elections Canada will determine the costs and issue a reimbursement to the candidate's campaign, up to a maximum of $500 for each day or part of a day on which the judge conducted the recount.