Making the electoral process more transparent


On April 30, 2018, the Government of Canada introduced C-76, Elections Modernization Act.

To enhance transparency and ensure a fair and level playing field for political actors, C-76 proposes measures that address spending between and during elections. This legislation, if passed, creates a pre-writ period beginning on June 30 of the year of a fixed-date election and ends with the issuing of the writ, limits the length of a writ period to a maximum of 50 days, and ensures spending between elections is subject to reasonable limits.

During the pre-writ period, C-76 will ensure greater transparency by:

  • Setting requirement for third parties spending $500 or more on partisan advertising or activities  to register with Elections Canada and reporting requirements during the pre-writ period if spending or receiving contributions for $10,000;
  • Requiring third parties to use a dedicated Canadian bank account for the payment of election-related spending during the pre-writ and writ periods;
  • Requiring the use of identifying taglines on all partisan advertising conducted by political parties and third-parties; and,
  • Introducing spending limits for political parties’ partisan advertising ($1.5 million*) and for third parties’ partisan advertising, activities and election surveys ($10,000* per electoral district, up to $1 million* in total).

During the writ period, C-76 will ensure a fair and level playing field by:

  • Prohibiting foreign entities from spending any money to influence elections, where previously they were able to spend up to $500 unregulated;
  • Eliminating the pro-rated increase for spending limits for all political entities and limit the writ period to a maximum of 50 days;
  • Increasing the spending limit for third parties to $500,000* (a maximum of $4,000* per electoral district) given partisan activities and election surveys would be counted as part of third-party spending; and,
  • Prohibiting third parties from colluding to circumvent spending limits.

These and other measures proposed in Bill C-76 would ensure the transparency and fairness of the electoral process before and during the electoral period.

For the complete set of amendments and details, please refer to the legislation text.

* Estimated limit amount for 2019 (as adjusted to inflation).

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