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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.

9. 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 candidate's 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 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 (amounts over the limit are other electoral campaign expenses)
  • 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 (amounts over the limit are other electoral campaign expenses)

The candidate's personal expenses do not count against the election expenses limit. They may be eligible for partial reimbursement. See Chapter 16, 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 candidate's 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 not a personal expense but an other electoral campaign expense.*
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 not a personal expense but an other electoral campaign expense.*

*Since an expense over the limit is not categorized as a personal expense, its payment 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 candidate's 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.

Childcare

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.

Example

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.

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.

Examples
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
OGI reference

This topic will be discussed in detail in an upcoming Elections Canada interpretation note, Accessibility Expenses and Disability-Related Personal Expenses, to be published on the Elections Canada website in summer 2019.

Expenses to pay candidate's representatives

Unremunerated candidate's 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 reported as an other electoral campaign expense, 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, personal grooming or the candidate's cellphone use. 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 reported as other electoral campaign expenses, must be funded by the campaign and are not eligible for reimbursement.

Example

The candidate makes and receives calls related to the campaign on her own cellphone. The candidate can claim any expenses in excess of her normal cellphone expenses as other personal expenses, to a maximum of $200 in total other personal expenses. Amounts in excess of $200 reasonably incurred as an incidence of the election are reported as other electoral campaign expenses.