March 1, 2021 •
New Legislation Would Raise Contribution Limits in Ontario, Canada
On February 25, a bill was introduced in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to increase the province’s contribution limits and make other changes to its election laws.
Bill 254, Protecting Ontario Elections Act, 2021, as introduced by Attorney General Doug Downey, proposes to amend the Election Act, the Election Finances Act, the Members’ Integrity Act, 1994, and the Municipal Elections Act, 1996.
Some of the changes in the bill include increasing contribution limits made to individual registered parties, party and non-party candidates, leadership candidates, constituency associations and nomination contestants of any one party or to the constituency association of any independent member. That amount increases from $1,650 to $3,300 per calendar year, with an increase of $25 for each calendar beginning on January 1, 2022.
Additionally, when selling a ticket for a fund-raising event, all, or any portion of its cost up to a maximum of $30, may be considered not to be a political contribution.
The time period on limiting third party advertisers’ spending would increase from six months to 12 months before an election. The proposed legislation also includes penalties for violations, allows members of the Assembly to endorse constituency associations, establishes the allowance of certain candidate electronic filings for municipalities, directs the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to establish an advisory committee on voting equipment and vote counting equipment, and expands powers of the CEO with respect to designating advance polls.
The bill also allows members of the Assembly to explicitly use social media for any matters a member wishes to bring to the attention of the public, including partisan matters.
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