April 19, 2021 •
Bill 254, Protecting Ontario Elections Act, 2021, Receives Royal Assent
On April 19, a campaign finance bill in Ontario concerning contribution limits, political activities, and voting processes received Royal Assent.
Bill 254, the Protecting Ontario Elections Act, 2021, allows individuals to make contributions in an amount up to $3,300 per calendar year or campaign period to party and non-party candidates, leadership contestants, constituency associations, nomination contestants of a party or a constituency association of an independent member, and any one registered party. That amount will increase by $25 for each calendar year beginning on January 1, 2022.
Bill 254 enhances the law concerning collusion with third parties. Contributions from one third party to another third party for the purposes of political advertising are deemed as part of the expenses of the contributing third party.
Additionally, a third party is prohibited from trying to circumvent the rules and spending limits by splitting itself into two or more third parties, acting in collusion with another third party so that combined political advertising expenses exceed the applicable limit, and colluding with, including sharing information with, a registered party, registered constituency association, registered candidate, registered leadership contestant, or registered nomination contestant or any of their agents or employees for the purpose of circumventing the limit.
The Municipal Elections Act, 1996, is amended to provide that a registered third party may withdraw their registration by filing a written withdrawal in the clerk’s office during the time for filing a notice of registration.
The bill also allows independent members of the Assembly to endorse constituency associations, mandates the Chief Electoral Officer establish an advisory committee on voting equipment and vote counting equipment, and codifies certain administrative penalties.
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