Third Party Advertisers
By law, candidates and third party advertisers have to follow certain rules in how they spend and fundraise for their election campaign, including:
- Opening a dedicated bank account for all campaign activity;
- Keeping detailed and accurate records of everything they spend and receive;
- Staying within their office’s spending limits;
- Only accepting donations from people who are legally allowed to donate to them;
- Not accepting more than someone is legally allowed to give them; and,
- Filing a complete and accurate campaign financial statement after the election with Elections Markham.
Candidates are responsible for reminding their donors that up to $5,000 can be donated to multiple candidates running for City Council or the same school board.
The election campaign period ends for all candidates and third party advertisers on January 3, 2023.
If a candidate or third party advertiser has a deficit by this date, they can file a form with Elections Markham requesting a 6-month extension. Extensions have to be requested before the regular campaign period ends on January 3, 2023.
Once a campaign ends, a candidate or third party advertiser should close their campaign bank account and prepare their campaign financial statement.
Third party advertisers can accept donations from individual residents of Ontario, corporations that conduct business in Ontario, and trade unions that hold collective bargaining rights for Ontario employees.
Candidates and third party advertisers can’t accept donations that are:
- From an ineligible or anonymous source
- More than $1,200 to them, or would result in the donor giving more than $5,000 total to candidates running for City Council or the same school board
- From funds that don’t belong to whoever gave them
- Made outside their campaign period
- Made in cash and greater than $25
If a candidate or third party advertiser accepts a donation that they later learn isn’t allowed, they have to return it. If they don’t know where the donation came from or how to return it, they have to give it to Elections Markham.
Every candidate and third party advertiser has to file a post-election financial statement with Elections Markham outlining what they spent and received toward their campaign (even if they withdrew their registration and had no financial activity).
Financial statements are due for everyone by March 31, 2023 at 2 PM.
This should reflect all of their financial activity from the day they registered up to January 3, 2022.
If they extend their campaign, they still have to file a financial statement by the March 31 deadline. But they also have to prepare a second financial statement that’s been updated to reflect any spending or fundraising during those extra months when they were trying to erase their deficit. This ‘supplementary’ financial statement is due to Elections Markham by September 29, 2023 at 2 PM.
Campaign financial statements are public records and are posted at the City Clerk’s Office and on ElectionsMarkham.ca for the next two regular municipal election cycles.
Candidates and third party advertisers who don’t file their campaign financial statement by the deadline can still file their statement within 30 days, but have to pay the City a $500 late fee.
If they don’t file a campaign financial statement by the end of the 30-day late period (and haven’t applied to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for an extension), automatic penalties apply, including:
- Forfeiture of elected office (if applicable); and,
- Ineligibility to run for any municipal council or school board office in Ontario for a full election cycle.
Any voter who believes that a candidate or a third party advertiser has broken a campaign finance rule can request an audit of the campaign’s financial records through the York Region Joint Compliance Audit Committee. Requests have to be made in writing to Elections Markham and outline the reasons for why the requester believes the law was broken.
After each filing deadline, Elections Markham reviews all financial statements. If it looks like someone has donated more to a candidate, group of candidates, or third party advertiser than the law allows, this is also reported to the York Region Joint Compliance Audit Committee.
The Committee will review each case of a possible campaign finance infraction and decide whether to investigate and take legal action against the candidate, third party advertiser, and/or donor.
- January 3, 2023:
- End of campaign period
- Deadline to a request an extension for campaigns showing a deficit
- March 31, 2023 at 2 PM:
- Financial statements due
- June 30, 2023:
- End of extended campaign period (for campaigns that requested an extension)
- September 29, 2023 at 2 PM:
- Supplementary financial statements due
- April 1 to June 29, 2023:
- Compliance audit period for campaign financial statements
- September 30 to December 28, 2023:
- Compliance audit period for supplementary campaign financial statements