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Political Financing Handbook for Candidates and Official Agents (EC 20155) – November 2019

Note: This handbook is to be used for elections called on or after June 13, 2019. For earlier elections, please use the February 2018 version of the handbook.

18. Disposing of Surplus

This chapter explains what a surplus of campaign funds is, the rules for disposing of a surplus after all financial obligations have been met, and how to report the disposal. It covers the following topics:

  • What is a surplus?
  • Transfer or sale of capital assets
  • Notice of surplus from Elections Canada
  • If the official agent is aware of a surplus
  • How to dispose of a surplus
  • Repayment of a surplus to independent or non-affiliated candidates

What is a surplus?

The surplus amount of electoral funds is the amount by which the candidate's electoral revenues exceed the total of the candidate's electoral campaign expenses paid from the campaign bank account and transfers made by the candidate's campaign.

What is a surplus?
Text Description "What is a surplus?"

The amount of the surplus should equal the money left in the campaign bank account after all the financial obligations have been met.

Electoral revenues Electoral campaign expenses Transfers made
  • Monetary contributions made to the candidate
  • Reimbursements received for expenses paid from the campaign bank account
  • Any other amount deposited into the campaign bank account that was received by the candidate for their electoral campaign and is not repayable, including transfers from political entities
For the purpose of calculating the surplus, this includes all expenses paid using funds from the campaign bank account Any funds the candidate's campaign transfers to:
  • the registered party or a registered association of the party
  • the candidate themself as a nomination contestant in respect of the same election/li>

Note: Surplus only relates to transactions that went through the campaign bank account. If some personal or litigation expenses were paid using outside funds, exclude them from the calculation. If applicable, also subtract from electoral revenues the related reimbursement that was paid to the candidate.

Transfer or sale of capital assets

A capital asset is any property with a commercial value of more than $200 that is normally used outside an election period other than for the purposes of an election.

If the campaign has any capital asset whose acquisition constitutes an electoral campaign expense, the official agent must either:

  • transfer the asset to the registered party or the registered association of that party in the candidate's electoral district, or
  • sell the asset at fair market value and include the funds in the surplus disposal

Notice of estimated surplus from Elections Canada

After Elections Canada reviews the candidate's return and pays the final reimbursement and auditor's subsidy, it may determine that the candidate has a surplus of electoral campaign funds. Elections Canada sends a notice about the estimated amount of the surplus to the candidate's official agent.

The official agent has to dispose of the surplus within 60 days of receiving the notice.

If the official agent is aware of a surplus

If the official agent is aware of a surplus of electoral funds but has not yet received a notice from Elections Canada, the official agent has to dispose of the estimated surplus within 60 days after:

  • receiving the final reimbursement, or
  • filing the candidate's return, if the candidate did not receive a reimbursement

How to dispose of a surplus

If the candidate was:

  • endorsed by a registered party, surplus funds have to be transferred to the registered party or to a registered association of that party in the candidate's electoral district
  • an independent or non-affiliated candidate, surplus funds have to be transferred to Elections Canada by cheque payable to the Receiver General for Canada

The official agent has to report the disposal by submitting the Candidate's Statement of Surplus / Amended Campaign Return form within seven days after disposing of the surplus.

The official agent might also use this form to report financial transactions that occurred since the original candidate's return was submitted. Elections Canada will treat new transactions reported in the Candidate's Statement of Surplus / Amended Campaign Return as a request to correct or revise the Candidate's Electoral Campaign Return and will update the return accordingly.

Note: Elections Canada publishes the notice referring to the disposal of the surplus on its website.

For details about closing the candidate's campaign, please see Closing the candidate's campaign in Chapter 1, Reference Tables and Timelines.

Repayment of a surplus to independent or non-affiliated candidates

A candidate who is running as an independent or non-affiliated candidate, and who had disposed of a surplus to Elections Canada in a previous election, can apply to have the surplus repaid.

The surplus will be repaid to the candidate's campaign if:

  • the candidate is running in their first election since they disposed of the surplus, or
  • the candidate ran in one or more intervening by-elections but was not endorsed by a registered party at the first of those by-elections