The Canada Elections Act governs campaign donations and the financing of political parties and candidates in Canada. The law ensures transparency and regulates the financial relations and operations of political parties and candidates. However, more needed to be done to rebuild public confidence in the integrity of the democratic process, and to ensure that influence could not be bought through political donations. Donations from corporations, unions, and organizations were of particular concern, since they allowed for a contribution of funds from unknown original sources.
These changes increase transparency, reduce opportunities to influence politicians with contributions, and help Canadians feel more confident about the integrity of the democratic process. They level the playing field among individual contributors and encourage political parties to engage the electorate more directly.
The Government of Canada has toughened the laws around the financing of political parties and candidates to reduce the opportunity to exert influence through large donations. Effective January 1, 2007, the Federal Accountability Act:
In addition, the Act bans secret donations and gifts to political candidates (see related fact sheet called “Banning secret donations to political candidates” for details).