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Estimated Cost of the 43rd General Election

Estimated cost of the 43rd general election

The revised estimated cost of the 43rd federal general election is $509 million or approximately $18.58 for each registered elector. The costs associated with delivering a general election typically span four years and include expenditures incurred well after election day, such as reimbursements for parties and candidates. Most of the costs for the 43rd general election were incurred in fiscal year 2019–2020. As of July 31, 2020, over 95% of the estimated costs have been incurred.

We will update these estimates as required until all related expenditures have been received and processed, which will then confirm the final cost of the general election.

The estimated cost of the 43rd general election is broken down into two main categories: expenditures related to preparing for, delivering, and closing-out the election; and reimbursements to parties and candidates for eligible election expenses.   

Estimated Cost of the 43rd General Election
Estimates (as of July 31, 2020)
Election day Oct. 21, 2019
Electoral calendar 40 days
Number of electoral districts 338
Number of electors on final list of electors 27,373,058
Preparation, conduct and post-event activities 1 $437.6 million
Reimbursement of election expenses to parties and candidates (includes subsidies to candidates' auditors) 2 $71.1 million 3
Total estimated cost $508.7 million
Estimated cost per elector $18.58

Comparing the costs of the 42nd and 43rd general elections

Any comparison of the election costs for the 42nd (2015) and 43rd (2019) general elections must account for the fact that those of the 42nd are final, whereas those of the 43rd are estimates and subject to change over time. Certain key figures are also different.

Comparing the costs of the 42nd and 43rd general elections
  42nd general election October 19, 2015 43rd general election October 21, 2019 Difference (increase / decrease)
Election period 78 days 40 days 38 days (decrease)
Number of registered parties 23 21 2 (decrease)
Number of confirmed candidates 1,792 2,146 354 (increase)
Number of electors 25,939,742 27,373,058 1,433 ,316 (increase)
Cost $471.7 million $508.7 million* $36.9 million (increase)
Cost (in constant dollars) $502.6 million $508.7 million* $6.1 million (increase)

*Estimate as of July 31, 2020.

According to revised estimates, the 2019 election cost approximately $36.9 million more than the final cost of the 2015 election.

The difference between the estimated cost of the 2019 election and the final cost of the 2015 election can be explained as follows:

Difference between the estimated cost of the 2019 election and the final cost of the 2015 election
Cost increase / decrease of 2019 election vs. 2015 election Source of increase or decrease Explanation
$56.1 million (decrease) Length of election period In 2019, the election period was 40 days. In 2015, it was 78. In 2019, the shorter period resulted in decreased costs both for the delivery of the election and for the reimbursements to parties and candidates.
$39.2 million (increase) Inflation; service to more electors Adjusting costs for inflation (2015 to 2019 dollars) and accounting for an increased number of electors served result in an increased cost estimate for the 2019 election.
$53.8 million (increase) Service enhancements; new legislation; systems upgrades In 2019, Elections Canada made a number of enhancements to elector services, resulting in increased costs. Enhancements included, for example, more poll workers; expanded vote-on-campus services; additional satellite offices, and extended hours at advance polls. Upgrades to IT systems and equipment and the implementation of new election legislation (Bill C-76) also contributed to an increase over 2015 costs.
Total: $36.9 million (increase)

On a constant 2019 dollars basis, the cost of the 42nd general election was $502.6 million, which is $6.1 million less than the cost of the 43rd general election. On that same basis, the cost per elector decreased by 4% from $19.37 in 2015 to $18.58 per elector (estimated) in 2019.

Footnotes

Footnote 1 Includes costs to recruit, and train returning officers and more than 250,000 election workers along with costs for their service fees; to print ballots and lists of electors; to lease local offices and polling places; to replenish and ship election materials; to run communications campaigns; to hire temporary staff; and to procure and deploy IT equipment and telecommunications.

Footnote 2 To be eligible for partial reimbursement of election expenses, candidates must be elected or obtain at least 10% of the valid votes cast in their electoral district. Registered parties must obtain at least 2% of the valid votes cast nationally or 5% of the valid votes cast in electoral districts where the party has endorsed candidates.

Footnote 3 This amount remains an estimate until all the audits of election expenses and contributions reports are finalized.