UPDATE - Elections Canada rules for charities during the election period
If you are wondering whether charities can advertise or comment about issues during the upcoming election campaign, without breaking the rules around being non-partisan...
Here’s the latest:
- Elections Canada issued a statement on August 20, confirming that paid advertising campaigns about issues are completely legitimate, and differentiating such issue advertising from partisan advertising. While any organization or individual spending more than $500 on paid issue ads during the campaign has to register as a third party, there is a wide range of activities that charities can engage in to raise awareness without having to register. These include unpromoted social media posts, website and blog articles, op-ed pieces, email blasts, and door-to-door canvassing.
- The Canada Revenue Agency has also provided us with written confirmation that simply registering as a third party with Elections Canada does not place a charity off-side in terms of the requirement to be non-partisan.
Registering as a third party means that the charity will be subject to reporting requirements and spending limits on its election advertising activities with Elections Canada. For CRA’s purposes, however, a charity would not jeopardize its charitable status solely on the basis of this registration. It is the CRA’s view that the mere act of a charity registering as a third party under the Canada Elections Act would not itself mean the charity is undertaking activities that support or oppose a political party or candidate as prohibited by the Income Tax Act.
For more information on how you can get involved during the election, visit our Election Hub.