British Columbia

Municipal election campaigns officially kick off under new rules

The official campaign period begins Sept. 22 and changes to the Local Elections Campaign Finance Act mean candidates will need to follow new rules concerning donations and expenses.

Limits have been placed on political donations and candidate expenses

Limits have been placed on candidate donations and expenses during the municipal election campaign period. (CBC)

And they're off...

Municipal candidates begin their official election campaigns today but will need to be careful about following newly introduced rules governing the race.

According to Elections B.C. spokesperson Andrew Watson, changes to the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act since the last municipal elections in 2014 will significantly impact how candidates are bankrolled.

Candidates can no longer take campaign donations from organizations, unions or corporations. They can only receive money from individual donors — an amount that has been capped at $1,200. 

Third party advertisers must also operate within the $1,200 limit and all ads must display the third party's name and contact information. The rules apply equally to traditional print ads and sponsored social media posts. They also apply to ads that promote or oppose a campaign issue, as well as candidates.

Know your limit ...

Another significant change is that there are dollar limits to what candidates, themselves, can spend on their own campaigns. 

Watson said the amount varies depending on the candidate and community. He said in a community of less than 10,000 people, mayoral candidates have an expense limit of $10,000 and candidates for council are limited to $5,000. 

In comparison, Watson said Vancouver mayoral candidates can expense approximately $210,000.

Watson said elections officials will be monitoring to make sure all candidates play fairly. If anyone suspects the rules are being violated, Watson asks they contact Elections B.C.

Voting day is Oct. 20.

With files from The Early Edition

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