Candidates developing election campaigns should be aware of the restrictions that may apply to campaigning and, in particular, the regulations under the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act (LECFA). Elections BC is responsible for managing and enforcing financing disclosure requirements and election advertising provisions for all local government elections in BC.
A candidate must appoint one individual as a financial agent. If one is not appointed, the candidate is deemed to be his/her own financial agent.
A financial agent must open one or more campaign accounts at a savings institution before incurring an election expense. This account must be used exclusively for the purposes of the election campaign.
Contribution limits under LECFA have been amended and generally apply as follows:
- An eligible individual may contribute up to $1,200 per year per campaign to an unendorsed candidate. As an exception, an unendorsed candidate may contribute up to $2,400 in 2018 for use in their own campaign.
- An eligible individual may contribute up to $1,200 per year per campaign to an elector organization and its endorsed candidates. As an exception, a group of endorsed candidates may collectively contribute an additional $1,200 in total in 2018 for use in the campaign of the elector organization and the endorsed candidates.
Further information can be obtained from the Local Elections Campaign Financing Amendment Act, 2017 Bulletin and the BC Elections website: New Rules for the 2018 General Local Elections and Information Guides
Candidates are required to make public an account of the campaign contributions they received and election expenses they incurred in the form of Campaign Financing Disclosure Statement. This statement must be filed within 90 days (January 18, 2019) of General Voting Day. Statements will be made available on the Elections BC website for public inspection. A candidate who does not file their disclosure statements by the deadline may be disqualified from holding office and from being nominated for or elected to a local government office until after the next general local election.
THIRD PARTY ADVERTISING
There are also new campaign financing rules for third party advertising sponsors. Third party advertising sponsor is an individual or organization that conducts election advertising independently from any candidate or elector organization. Third party advertising includes advertising for or against a candidate or elector organization.
Please review the bulletin: Local Elections Campaign Financing Amendment Act, 2017 for changes to third party advertising.