December 1, 2016 •
Ontario Passes Campaign Finance Reform Bill
The Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act was passed by the Legislative Assembly on December 1, 2016. It was introduced after an investigation into pay-to-play fundraising and cash for access scandals.
The investigation revealed that corporations and lobbyists had spent up to $10,000 to buy time with cabinet members in seeking policy decisions and contracts. The new amendment will prohibit all provincial politicians, candidates, and senior political staffers from attending fundraising events and ban contributions from corporations and unions.
In addition to these prohibitions, donations from individuals are limited to $1,200 per political party annually, down from $9,975 under the current system. Third-parties, who currently face no spending restrictions on advertising, will be capped at $100,000 per election period and $600,000 in the six months before a general election is called. A spending cap will also be placed on political party advertising at $1 million in the six months before a general election is called.
The bill was passed despite negative feedback regarding loopholes in the legislation. It will go into effect on January 1, 2017.
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