This section provides a general overview of campaign finance rules for registered third party advertisers and includes information about financial filing requirements once the 2018 municipal election campaign period ends.

For more information, refer to the Government of Ontario’s 2018 Guide for Third Party Advertisers sections on:

Key Forms and Resources:

Registered third party advertisers must open a bank account exclusively for their advertising campaign, keep records of their campaign finances, and follow spending and contribution limits.

Spending Limits

  • In a City of Toronto general election, the spending limit for a registered third party’s advertising campaign is $25,000.
  • The limit for parties and expressions of appreciation after voting is $2,500.

Contribution Limits

  • Individuals, corporations and trade unions may contribute up to a maximum of $1200 to a registered third party advertiser. They may contribute up to a maximum of $5000 to more than one registered third party advertisers in a municipality.
  • There is no limit on how much a registered third party (and, if the third party is an individual, their spouse) can contribute to their own advertising campaign.
  • Contributors that contribute $100 or more in total must be identified and recorded in the tables in Schedule 1 of the Financial Statement – Auditor’s Report – Third Party (Form 8). (Contributors that give $100 or less in total do not have to be individually identified. The total amount contributed from these contributors will be recorded as a lump sum).

After the campaign period ends, every registered third party advertiser must file a Financial Statement – Auditor’s Report – Third Party (Form 8), even if they did not raise or spend any money.

For the 2018 municipal election, registered third party advertisers must the file financial statement with the City Clerk by 2 p.m. on Friday, March 29, 2019.

Financial statements can be filed in person at the Elections Office, 100 Queen St. W. (1st Floor North) or online through the City of Toronto’s Electronic Financial Filing System (unless the campaign has a surplus, in which case in-person filing is required).

Financial filing forms can be found at the following links:

Initial Campaign Period

The initial campaign period begins on the day the City Clerk certifies the Notice of Registration and ends on December 31, 2018. All registered third party advertisers must file the Financial Statement – Auditor’s Report – Third Party (Form 8) for the initial campaign period.

A registered third party advertiser cannot raise or spend any money after the campaign period ends unless they file a Notice of Extension of Campaign Period – Form 6 to extend their campaign (see below).

Supplementary Campaign Period

Registered third party advertisers who believe they will have a deficit can file a Notice of Extension of Campaign Period – Form 6 by 4:30 p.m. on December 31, 2018, to extend their campaign until July 2, 2019.

Registered third party advertisers who extend their campaign must file two financial statements:

  1. The initial financial statement, which details all campaign finances from the day the City Clerk certified the Notice of Registration until December 31, 2018 (due by 2 p.m. on March 29, 2019).
  2. The supplementary financial statement, which details all campaign finances from the day the City Clerk certified the Notice of Registration until July 2, 2019 (due by 2 p.m. on September 27, 2019).

If a registrant’s initial filing is accompanied by an Auditor’s Report, their supplementary filing must have another Auditor’s Report attached.

See below for further information on when an Auditor’s Report is required.

Initial Financial Statement

All registered third party advertisers must file an initial financial statement, even if they have filed a Form 6 to extend their campaign.

  • The initial financial statement must be filed by 2 p.m. on March 29, 2019.

Supplementary Financial Statement

Only registered third party advertisers who submitted a Form 6 to extend their campaign are required to file a supplementary financial statement.

  • The supplementary financial statement must be filed by 2 p.m. on September 27, 2019.

30-day Grace Period

Registered third party advertisers who miss the filing deadline can submit their statement up to 30 days later, provided that they pay a $500 late filing fee.

  • The grace period for the initial financial statement filing ends at 2 p.m. on April 29, 2019.
  • The grace period for the supplementary financial statement filing ends at 2 p.m. on October 28, 2019.

Extending the Filing Deadline

Registered third party advertisers who require an extension to file their financial statement must apply to the Superior Court of Justice prior to the last day for filing. The court may grant an extension of up to 90 days.

If the Superior Court of Justice approves the extension, the registrant must provide the Elections office with the court order no later than 2 p.m. on the last day for filing.

An auditor’s report, completed by an auditor licensed under the Public Accounting Act, 2004, must be attached to the financial statement at the time of filing if the:

  • advertising campaign expenses exceed $10,000; and/or
  • contributions received exceed a total of $10,000.

If the campaign ends with a surplus, the registered third party advertiser can withdraw the value of contributions that they made to their own campaign. If the registered third party is an individual, they can refund the value of the contributions made by their spouse.

Any remaining surplus must be turned over to the City Clerk. The surplus can be paid via cash, certified cheque or money order payable to ‘Treasurer, City of Toronto’.

If the campaign does not have a surplus, a registered third party advertiser can file in person or online:

  • File the financial statement in person at the Elections Services Office during regular business hours.
    • EFFS can be used to complete the form, print it out and file in person.
  • Submit the financial statement electronically by using the City’s Electronic Financial Filing System (EFFS) to complete the form and upload the signed document.

If the campaign has a surplus, it must be filed in person:

  • File the financial statement at the Election Services Office during regular business hours.
    • EFFS can be used to complete the form, print it out and file in person.
  • Any surplus must be paid to the City Clerk at the time of filing. Payment can be made via cash, certified cheque or money order payable to ‘Treasurer, City of Toronto’.

Registered third party advertisers who do not submit their financial statement by 2 p.m. on the deadline date will be considered to be in default of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 and penalties will apply.

Registered third party advertisers who submit a financial statement and later identify an error may withdraw their original statement and submit a new one by 2 p.m. on the filing deadline date.

If the withdrawn financial statement was accompanied by an auditor’s report, the corrected financial statement must be accompanied by a new/updated auditor’s report.

If the corrected financial statement identifies an additional surplus amount, the difference must be paid to the City Clerk at the time the corrected financial statement is filed. If the surplus amount is lower, the City Clerk will remit any difference owing with interest.

Under the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 (Act), an individual, corporation or trade union will not be eligible to register as a third party advertiser until after the 2022 municipal election if the:

  • registered third party advertiser fails to file a financial statement by the end of the 30-day grace period or fails to apply to the court for an extension by the filing deadline.
  • the financial statement shows that the registered third party advertiser has exceeded a spending limit.
  • the registered third party advertiser fails to turn over their surplus to the City Clerk when they file their financial statement.

View other penalties under the Municipal Elections Act, 1996.

The filed financial statement is a public document and will be posted on the City’s website in its entirety, including the list of names and addresses of all those who contributed over $100 to a registered third party advertiser’s campaign.