Written by Sharon G.K. Singh, James Struthers, David Bursey and Milos Barutciski
Further to our article of October 10, 2017, we note that on October 30, 2017, the government of British Columbia introduced amendments to the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act that will change municipal campaign financing rules. The amendments respond to the resolution passed by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities at its 2017 Convention, and to the growing public concern over transparency and private influence on government and policymaking.
The proposed amendments mirror changes the government is proposing at the provincial level, and will
- ban corporate, union, and organizational donations;
- limit individual contributions to British Columbia residents, and to $1,200 per donor per year;
- implement advertising expense limits and expense limits for candidates; and
- require disclosures regarding contributions and expenditures from third-party advertisers.
We expect the amendments will be enacted before the 2018 general local elections. Once passed, the amendments will apply retroactively to October 31, 2017. Contributions received before October 31, 2017, that are above the proposed new limits may be retained.
Similar to the proposed provincial campaign reform, the proposed municipal campaign reform will affect how the public interacts with its elected representatives. These change align with national and global trends towards increased transparency and equal access in politics.
Organizations should update their governance policies once the proposed amendments are passed and educate their employees on the change.