Ontario PCs are out-fundraising the Liberals, NDP and Greens combined

The Progressive Conservative Party is well ahead of its rivals in raising money, with Ontario's crucial election campaign period about to begin.

Money is flowing into Progressive Conservative coffers despite distraction of leadership race

Ontario PC leader Doug Ford talks to media after a caucus meeting at Queen's Park in Toronto in March. (Chris Donovan/Canadian Press)

Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservative Party are well ahead of their rivals in raising money, with Ontario's crucial election campaign period about to begin. 

Data from Elections Ontario compiled by CBC News show the Ontario PCs are reporting $945,970 in donations so far this year, which is more than the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party and the Green Party combined. 

This continues the pattern that has seen the PCs fundraise at double the rate of Kathleen Wynne and her Liberals since 2016, giving Ford's party the biggest war chest heading into the campaign.

The fundraising totals reported to Elections Ontario by the other parties so far in 2018 are: 

  • Liberal $488,542
  • NDP $317,305
  • Green $128,376

In addition to the nearly $950,000 that has come into the PC Party for the campaign, donors gave nearly $1.9 million to the four contestants who vied for the party leadership. 

The numbers for all the parties are vastly lower than what they were before 2017, when the Wynne government banned corporate and union donations and sharply reduced the maximum that individual donors could donate. 

To make up for the sharp drop in donations, the four biggest parties are receiving quarterly allowances of public funding, proportional to their share of the vote in the last election. Last year, those subsidies totalled: 

  • Liberals: $5,055,097
  • PCs: $4,091,895
  • NDP: $3,104,757
  • Green: $630,637

For the Liberals, Andrea Horwath's NDP and Mike Schreiner's Green Party, the public funding more than made up for the decrease in their fundraising from 2016.

Ford has said he would scrap the public allowances to the parties if the PC Party forms the government. 

The PCs raised nearly $13 million in 2016, the final year that corporate and union donations were allowed in Ontario. That more than wiped out the debt the party carried over from its 2014 election loss. 

The new rules limit donors to giving a maximum of $1,222 annually to any party and the same amount to any constituency association. In campaign years, donors can also make an additional contribution of up to $1,222 to a candidate during the election period.

The parties will be limited to spending about $8 million each on the campaign once it officially starts on May 9. The precise spending limit is yet to be calculated by Elections Ontario, as it is based on the number of voters eligible to cast ballots in the June 7 vote.