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Banning secret donations to political candidates

Archived information

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On April 11, 2006, the Government of Canada introduced the Federal Accountability Act and Action Plan, delivering on its commitment to make government more accountable. The Federal Accountability Act received Royal Assent on December 12, 2006. This is one of a series of fact sheets describing proposed actions to respond to this commitment.

The context

The Canada Elections Act governs campaign donations and the financing of political parties and candidates in Canada. The Government of Canada closed loopholes in the election laws by applying new restrictions on the use of trust funds and the receipt of gifts by candidates for federal political office.

What this means for Canadians

These changes bring greater transparency and fairness to political financing. The Government has heightened disclosure requirements regarding the personal finances of Members of Parliament, and hence reduced the risk of their holding problematic financial interests. These measures allow Members of Parliament to hold legitimate financial instruments that do not influence their elected positions.

The Action Plan

Effective June 12, 2007, the Federal Accountability Act:

  • prohibits candidates from accepting gifts that might reasonably be seen to have been given to  influence them in the performance of their duties, if elected;
  • requires candidates to report any gifts they receive worth more than $500; and
  • prohibits electoral district associations and political parties from transferring money to a candidate when that money is held in trust.

Effective July 9, 2007, the Federal Accountability Act will:

  • prohibit Member of Parliament trust funds from being used for political purposes; and
  • require that the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner order Members of Parliament to wind up their personal trust funds, or not use the trusts for political purposes.

In addition, the Government has reformed how political parties are financed (see related fact sheet called “Reforming the financing of political parties” for details).

For more information

For more information on this specific measure, please refer to the relevant section of the Action Plan, or contact us.

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