Electioneering: Campaign Finance and Canvassing Rules

One habit I developed working in IT is to document everything I do – it makes it easier when you have to do the same complex action again. Whether or not I will run for office again (and I probably will, whether for re-election or another office), some lesser known rules might be helpful not just to me, but for other people considering a candidacy for public office. This page may be found at andrei.zodian.net/2018campaign not anymore, see my 404 page, but I added a j.mp/TOvotes18 link to the all-important letter for candidate accessibility.

torEFSYou can donate to my campaign by sending me an “email money transfer” (formerly known as Interac email money) to my campaign address: andrei2018 at zodian dot net, or, if you prefer using a credit card, via this PayPal link.

I have donated before to politicians (or political parties) and found the personal income tax refund rules complex. In comparison, the rules for refunds in the municipal election seem much simpler.


Only individuals can donate to a campaign and rebates but no income tax refunds will be given, while corporations and unions are prohibited from donating. The rebates are 75% for contributions $25-300 (then the rebate percentage decreases) and are capped at $1000. One can search all donations over $100 from past campaigns on the website.

Additionally, contributors are limited as follows.

  • A contributor cannot contribute more than a combined total of $5,000 to multiple candidates on the same Council. Doing so may result in a fine up to $25,000 or imprisonment.
  • Rebates can total a maximum of $1,000 and are based on all contributions made to all
    candidates in the election. For example, if a contributor gave $500 each to three different candidates, the rebate is based on the total contribution of $1,500
  • Contributors must complete the rebate form I will send and mail to the city before December 30, 2019.

Assuming that the form is completed as soon as I send it and if I am reading everything correctly, the rebates should normally be sent in late August 2019.

A sample list ca be found at gglss-sample (linked below) as an application of the following rules:

  • Total contributions of $25 or less are not eligible for a rebate
  • Total contributions between $25.01 and $300
     Formula: total contribution amount x 75%
     Sample: $200 x 75% = $150 rebate
  • Total contributions over $300 but not more than $1,000
     Formula: total contribution amount minus $300 x 50% + $225
     Sample: $650 - $300 = $350 x 50% = $175 + 225 = $400 rebate
  • Total contributions over $1,000
     Formula: total contribution amount minus $1,000 x 33 1/3% + $575
     Sample: $2,200 - $1,000 = $1,200 x 33 1/3% = $400 + $575 = $975 rebate
  • $1,000 is the maximum rebate payable.

Candidates have their own limits and rules to follow.

  • file a financial statement with the Clerk  before April 29, 2019
  • Final Maximum amount of campaign expenses subject to the general spending limit: $75,199.80 ($55,076.90 preliminary)
  • Maximum expense limit of holding parties and making other expressions of appreciation after the close of voting: $7,519.98
  • Final maximum amount of campaign contribution limit: $21,517.60 ($16,782.80 preliminary)

Failure to fulfill the above may result in serious consequences – for instance, a candidate who does not file her reports may be barred from running in the next election.


There are numerous rules for canvassing and signs but luckily, most of them are common sense. Of all the documents linked below, the one I have already made use of is the letter to Landlords and Property Managers, linked below as toronto-canvas6ix.

The City of Toronto policy on Use of City Resources during an Election Period provides direction on how City resources can and cannot be used during municipal, school board, provincial and federal election campaigns or campaigns on a question on a ballot. The policy states that:

  • City facilities and City infrastructure may not be used for any election-related purpose by a candidate
  • Candidates may not distribute campaign materials on or in City facilities or at City events
  • Candidates are permitted to distribute campaign materials on public right of way sidewalks and thoroughfares, during all-candidates meetings, at public parks and at the following City managed public squares: Nathan Phillips Square, Mel Lastman Square, Albert Campbell Square and David Pecaut Square

This policy does not apply to library facilities.  Candidates should contact the Toronto Public Library directly for booking prices and availability.


While I do not currently have signs, that might change in the future.

Election signs and campaign office signs can be displayed starting on Thursday, September 27, 2018.  These signs are subject to rules under the City’s Election Sign By-law and the Municipal Elections Act, 1996.

For information about when, where and how signs may be displayed, visit the Municipal Licencing and Standards web page Election Signs and the quick reference guide on Election Sign Placement.

For candidate who have questions relating to election signs:

That’s pretty much it. Please feel free to ask if you have questions.

Sources / More info: tca-contrbgdPDF, ttc-canvassing, toronto-allrules, gglss-sample, toronto-canvas6ix, toronto-resourceselxn


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