Report on Local Elections Expense Limits

On June 26th, the all party Special Committee on Local Elections Expense Limits released its report on local elections campaign spending limits.  For the most part, the Special Committee’s recommendations are in alignment with the positions put forward in UBCM’s presentation to the Committee on April 15th.

Specifically the Special Committee has recommended the following:

  • higher expense limits for mayoral candidates than any other candidates for local elected office:

-    under 10,000 population; mayor - $10,000 and councillors, electoral area directors, others - $5,000
-    over 10,000 population; formula-based expense limit determined by population; mayor limit to be double that of councillors, electoral area directors, others; in keeping with the approach for under 10,000 population.

  • third party advertisers will have an expense limit of 5% of the expense limit of a mayoral candidate in municipal elections or 5% of the expense limit of a candidate in those races where there is no mayoral candidate and that $150,000 be an overarching, cumulative limit.
  • expense limits be adjusted for inflation consistent with the approach for provincial election expense limits; and
  • expense limits for candidates apply to all campaign spending from January 1 of the election year to election day.

The latter recommendation regarding a date change to January 1st is new to UBCM.  This issue will be discussed with our Executive next week, but we are also seeking member feedback about the foreseen impact that this recommendation, as well as the others, will have on campaign spending practices.  Our initial concern is that the January 1 date has been recommended for candidates only, not third parties, so two different rules are being proposed, challenging the key principles of transparency and accountability.  Please send your feedback to Marie Crawford, Associate Executive Director at UBCM.

UBCM will continue to engage with the Province as it determines how it wishes to proceed with the Special Committee’s recommendations.  The Province is anticipated to bring forward expense limits legislation in the spring 2016 session.

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