Burlington mayor ‘fully supportive’ of election campaign rebate program

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Published July 16, 2021 at 4:20 pm

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At a recent meeting, Burlington council directed city staff to provide an option for a modest election finance rebate program, which Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said she fully supports.

At the meeting, city staff was asked to seek feedback from Burlington’s advisory committees as well as engage with the public on the option that is provided.

The Municipal Elections Act, 1996 allows municipalities to pass a bylaw that provides rebates to those who have contributed to a council candidate’s election campaign.

According to Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, an option for this program in Burlington could focus on smaller donations as well as aim for a “modest cost” to the city. 

Several municipalities have already implemented a contribution rebate program including Ottawa, Toronto, Mississauga, Markham, Vaughan, Whitby, Ajax and Oakville. 

“I am fully supportive of an election campaign rebate program because it incentivizes more people to participate,” said Meed Ward.

“The idea of a super simple program with a lot of maximum caps on it is a good one as it advantages people who have less to spend on a campaign. We want to be able to have maximum participation in elections and this would help.”

Rebates are funded through the general revenues of a municipality and would be a tax-supported expense.

Residents are reminded that municipal campaign contributions are not eligible for income tax rebates, such as contributions to Provincial or Federal candidates and that the purpose of the program is to encourage participation in municipal elections by reducing the financial burden placed on candidates and campaign donors.

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