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Six things to know about political financing in school elections

4 – Citizens and organizations may not spend money to promote or oppose the election of a candidate during the election period

During an election period, you cannot make an intervention in the public arena if that intervention:

  • Provides visibility to a candidate or has a partisan effect, such as by promoting or opposing the election of a candidate;
  • Incurs costs, including those associated with:
    • printing documents, such as posters or pamphlets;
    • creating a website;
    • accepting the loan or gift of a good.

The same rule applies to legal persons, such as companies, associations and trade unions.

All election expenses must be paid and authorized by the candidate himself or herself.

Why can only the candidate incur election expenses?

All candidates for the same seat on the same English-language school board are subject to the same expense limit. This is a matter of fairness: each person has a similar budget for promoting his or her candidacy.

To ensure this rule is followed, only candidates are allowed to incur election expenses. This also provides for greater transparency, since candidates are required to report all their expenses in a return for monitoring purposes. This measure is intended to maintain the trust of the electorate in our democratic system.

Here are some examples of illegal partisan interventions during an election period:

  • A person may not pay for the dissemination, on Facebook or any other media, of an advertisement designed to praise or disparage a measure proposed by a candidate;
  • A company may not buy a newspaper advertisement that takes a position on actions accomplished by a candidate;
  • An individual may not print, at his or her own expense, posters promoting a candidate;
  • An association may not support a candidate on its website, since there is usually a cost associated with creating and maintaining a website.

Would you like to express your preferences or opinions?

You can do this, provided there are no costs associated with your interventions. You can also obtain authorization as a private intervenor.

A private intervenor is an elector or group of electors authorized to incur up to $300 in advertising expenses during an election period, in order to:

  • Express an opinion on a subject of public interest or seek support for such an opinion;
  • Encourage electors to spoil their ballot or abstain from voting.

However, a private intervenor’s messages must not directly promote or oppose a person’s election.