The Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act (EFCDA), Citizen Initiative Act, and Recall Act set limits on political donations (contributions) and hold donors and political participants responsible for complying with contribution rules. Consequences may apply for making or accepting contributions that do not comply with the EFCDA, the Citizen Initiative Act, or Recall Act.
Political participants include parties, constituency associations, candidates, contestants, citizen initiative proponents (applicants), recall petition / recall vote authorized participants (applicants and MLAs), and third party advertisers.
Definitions of contributions.
Eligibility to contribute and limits on amounts.
When contributions are allowed to be made to political participants.
Learn what political participants report and what Elections Alberta discloses.
Eligibility for tax credits and how tax credits are calculated.
Information for political participants on receipt preparation and delivery.
What are Contributions?
Definition relevant to registered political parties, constituency associations, candidates and contestants:
A contribution is any money, real property, goods or services, given to or for the benefit of a registered political participant, without receiving any benefit back from that participant.
Definition relevant to third party advertisers (TPA):
An advertising contribution is any money, real property, goods or services, given to or for the benefit of a TPA for the purpose of third party advertising, without receiving any benefit back from that TPA. The definition applies whether the advertising contribution is made before or after the TPA has registered with Elections Alberta.
Who Can Contribute and How Much?
Limits set by the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act.
Only persons ordinarily resident in Alberta can contribute a maximum of $4,300 per calendar year to any combination of political parties, constituency associations, candidates, and leadership contestants.
Only persons ordinarily resident in Alberta can contribute a maximum of:
- $4,000 per calendar year to any combination of nomination contestants
- $4,300 per calendar year to any combination of senate candidates
- $30,000 per calendar year to any combination of election third party advertisers*
- $30,000 per calendar year to any combination of senate third party advertisers
- $30,000 per calendar year to any combination of referendum third party advertisers
Canadian citizens and permanent residents normally living in Canada, corporations that do business in Canada that are not prohibited corporations, Canadian trade unions, and Canadian employee organizations, can contribute a maximum of $30,000 per calendar year to any combination of political third party advertisers.*
*The total combined advertising contribution limit that an eligible contributor can make to election third party advertisers and political third party advertisers is $30,000 per year.
Limits set by the Citizen Initiative Act
Individuals ordinarily resident in Alberta can contribute a maximum of $4,000 to a proponent (applicant) for an initiative petition.
Individuals ordinarily resident in Alberta, corporations that carry on business in Alberta and are not prohibited, Alberta trade unions, and groups with members made up of any of the above, can contribute any amount to initiative petition third party advertisers.
Limits set by the Recall Act
Individuals ordinarily resident in Alberta and within the electoral division that is the subject of a recall petition, can contribute a maximum of $4,000 to any combination of authorized participants for that recall petition (the applicant and the MLA). In the case of a recall vote, another $4,000 maximum can be contributed.
Individuals ordinarily resident in Alberta and within the electoral division, corporations that carry on business in Alberta and within the electoral division, Alberta trade unions, and groups with members made up of any of the above, can contribute a maximum of $4,000 to recall third party advertisers.
Penalties for Unlawful Contributions
The Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act (EFCDA), Citizen Initiative Act, and Recall Act require requires contributors to know which political participants they can contribute to, and to keep track of their contributions throughout the year. Political participants are equally responsible for knowing who contributions can be accepted from and for informing contributors about the law regarding contribution limits.
Contributors who make unlawful contributions and political participants who accept unlawful contributions may face consequences.
When Can Contributions Be Made?
The following table summarizes when political participants and third party advertisers can accept contributions from contributors.
|Political Participant||When Contributions Can Be Accepted from Eligible Contributors|
|Registered Political Parties||Anytime, and timeframe determines if they are “campaign” or “annual”
|Registered Constituency Associations||Anytime outside of a campaign period for an election held under Election Act|
|Registered Candidates||Only during a campaign period for an election held under Election Act, from Writ of Election to 2 months after Election Day|
|Registered Senate Candidates||Only during a campaign period for an election held under Alberta Senate Election Act.|
|Nomination Contestants||Only during a nomination contestant’s campaign period – from contestant’s effective date to 2 months after selection date for the contest|
|Registered Leadership Contestants||Only during leadership contestant’s campaign period – from contestant’s registration date to 2 months after leadership vote date|
|Initiative Petition Proponents (applicants)||Only during an initiative petition period – from the date the Chief Electoral Officer issues the initiative petition to the date the signature sheets are submitted or the signature sheet signing period expires, whichever is earlier|
|Recall Petition Authorized Participants (applicants or MLAs named in petitions)||Only during a recall petition canvassing period – from the date the Chief Electoral Officer issues the recall petition, to the date the petition is submitted to the Chief Electoral Officer or when the 60-day canvassing period expires, whichever is earlier|
|Recall Vote Authorized Participants (applicants or MLAs named in petitions)||Only during a recall vote period – from the date the Lieutenant Governor issues an order authorizing a writ for the recall vote to the end of Election Day for the vote|
|Third Party Advertiser||When Advertising Contributions Can Be Accepted from Eligible Contributors|
|Political TPA||Anytime, but can only be used for advertising outside an election advertising period|
|Election TPA||Anytime, but can only be used for advertising during an election advertising period|
|Senate TPA||Only during Senate election advertising period|
|Referendum TPA||Only during referendum election advertising period|
|Initiative Petition TPA||Only during initiative petition period|
|Recall TPA||Only during recall advertising period (includes recall canvassing period, and recall vote period if applicable)|
Are Contributions Made Public?
Every political participant and third party advertiser that accepts contributions must report contribution details to Elections Alberta. We publish the names and contribution amounts of those who donate over $250 in aggregate to any political participant or third party advertiser.
Can Contributions be Claimed for Tax Credits?
Persons ordinarily resident in Alberta can claim non-refundable Alberta income tax credits for their contributions made to:
- political parties
- constituency associations
- Senate candidates
- nomination contestants (up to March 30, 2022)*
- leadership contestants
*Contributions made to nomination contestants on or after March 31, 2022 are not eligible for income tax credits.
Contributions made to third party advertisers are not eligible for income tax credits.
Income tax credits are determined in accordance with s.24 of the Alberta Personal Income Tax Act. Calculation of the available income tax credit in relation to contribution amount is shown in the table below. A maximum tax credit of $1,000 is available when total contributions reach $2,300.
Tax credits must be claimed for the tax year in which the contributions are made—unused contributions cannot be carried forward to be claimed in a subsequent year.
|Amount Contributed||Available Tax Credit||Maximum Credit||Cumulative Amount|
|Up to $200||75%||$150||$150|
|Next $900 ($201 to $1,100)||50%||$450||$600|
|Next $1,200 ($1,101 to $2,300)||33.3%||$400||$1,000|
How are Contribution Receipts Issued?
The chief financial officers (CFOs) for political participants and third party advertisers must issue official contribution receipts for all contributions over $50 and may issue receipts for amounts up to $50 if the donor specifically requests it.
The CFO is responsible for reporting the following information to Elections Alberta for each contribution received:
- Contributor’s name
- Contributor’s address
- Amount contributed
- Date the contribution was made to, or received by, the political participant
- Date the official contribution receipt was issued
- Type of contribution (money/cash or valued/in-kind)
- Contributor type—individual, corporation, trade union, or employee organization (applies to political, recall, and initiative third party advertisers only)
The CFO must prepare and issue receipts to contributors. Each receipt must include the above information and indicate the year in which the contribution was made, as well as the political participant or third party advertiser who received the contribution.
The CFO uses Elections Alberta’s secure Online Financial System (OFS) for reporting contributions to Elections Alberta and for issuing receipts to contributors. The system enables the CFO to deliver receipts by email or print and mail them to contributors.
If you do not receive your receipt, please contact the political participant or third party advertiser directly.