Campaign Finance Accountability

Update from Nov. 27, 2018

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback about municipal election campaign financing. Your contributions have helped to inform the Halifax Regional Municipality’s new By-law C-1100, respecting HRM Election Campaign Financing.

On Oct. 30, 2018, Regional Council adopted By-law C-1100, respecting HRM Election Campaign Financing, which will increase accountability, transparency, and equality in municipal elections. The By-law is effective as of Nov. 24, 2018.

Following its presentation to the Executive Standing Committee on Sept. 20, 2018, the proposed Election Campaign Finance By-law was discussed at a Committee of the Whole on Oct. 2, 2018 and some changes were made. For details regarding the discussion and amendments, please see the minutes from this meeting. The final By-law received first reading on Oct. 2, 2018 and was formally adopted on Oct. 30, 2018.

The Elections Office is currently developing materials to communicate these changes to potential candidates and the general public ahead of the next elections. The three key components of the by-law are:

  • Contributions: Only individuals, candidates, or a spouse of a candidate may contribute up to a set amount to a campaign, which excludes corporations, trade unions, non-profit groups, associations, and partnerships. Contributions may only be received during the campaign period, which begins March 1 of an election year and ends 30 days after election day.
  • Spending limits: Mayoral candidates may spend up to $300,000 on their campaign; councillor candidates may spend up to $30,000.
  • Disclosure, Reporting and Surplus: The by-law establishes more stringent rules including the requirement for all candidates to file a Statement of Campaign Contributions & Expenditures and a Statement of Campaign Surplus.

Adopting By-law C-1100 represents a major first step toward increased campaign finance accountability. Municipal staff will now focus on two additional reports requested by Regional Council. The first is to develop an administrative order on the use of the municipality’s corporate resources during an election. The second is to explore potential amendments to the adopted by-law to address some of the additional comments and suggestions submitted by residents, as well as a number of items identified by Regional Council. Regional Council also approved staff’s recommendation to conduct a review of the by-law following the next regular elections in 2020 to determine if amendments are needed.

We will continue to update the Shape Your City project page as we proceed with these further steps. Thank you for all the input you have provided so far, and we hope to continue the conversation as we lead up to the municipal elections in 2020 and beyond.


In early 2015 Halifax Regional Council began a conversation on election campaign finance accountability. This conversation resulted in the Province of Nova Scotia (April 2016) making amendments to the Halifax Regional Municipal Charter to allow for a municipal by-law to provide greater clarity on how election campaign finances are administered.

Regional Council then directed staff to continue the conversation with the public to gain a better understanding on election campaign finance accountability before drafting a by-law for Regional Council’s consideration.

Two stakeholder meetings were held in May and three public engagement meetings in June. See the final public engagement report regarding campaign finances.





Update from Nov. 27, 2018

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback about municipal election campaign financing. Your contributions have helped to inform the Halifax Regional Municipality’s new By-law C-1100, respecting HRM Election Campaign Financing.

On Oct. 30, 2018, Regional Council adopted By-law C-1100, respecting HRM Election Campaign Financing, which will increase accountability, transparency, and equality in municipal elections. The By-law is effective as of Nov. 24, 2018.

Following its presentation to the Executive Standing Committee on Sept. 20, 2018, the proposed Election Campaign Finance By-law was discussed at a Committee of the Whole on Oct. 2, 2018 and some changes were made. For details regarding the discussion and amendments, please see the minutes from this meeting. The final By-law received first reading on Oct. 2, 2018 and was formally adopted on Oct. 30, 2018.

The Elections Office is currently developing materials to communicate these changes to potential candidates and the general public ahead of the next elections. The three key components of the by-law are:

  • Contributions: Only individuals, candidates, or a spouse of a candidate may contribute up to a set amount to a campaign, which excludes corporations, trade unions, non-profit groups, associations, and partnerships. Contributions may only be received during the campaign period, which begins March 1 of an election year and ends 30 days after election day.
  • Spending limits: Mayoral candidates may spend up to $300,000 on their campaign; councillor candidates may spend up to $30,000.
  • Disclosure, Reporting and Surplus: The by-law establishes more stringent rules including the requirement for all candidates to file a Statement of Campaign Contributions & Expenditures and a Statement of Campaign Surplus.

Adopting By-law C-1100 represents a major first step toward increased campaign finance accountability. Municipal staff will now focus on two additional reports requested by Regional Council. The first is to develop an administrative order on the use of the municipality’s corporate resources during an election. The second is to explore potential amendments to the adopted by-law to address some of the additional comments and suggestions submitted by residents, as well as a number of items identified by Regional Council. Regional Council also approved staff’s recommendation to conduct a review of the by-law following the next regular elections in 2020 to determine if amendments are needed.

We will continue to update the Shape Your City project page as we proceed with these further steps. Thank you for all the input you have provided so far, and we hope to continue the conversation as we lead up to the municipal elections in 2020 and beyond.


In early 2015 Halifax Regional Council began a conversation on election campaign finance accountability. This conversation resulted in the Province of Nova Scotia (April 2016) making amendments to the Halifax Regional Municipal Charter to allow for a municipal by-law to provide greater clarity on how election campaign finances are administered.

Regional Council then directed staff to continue the conversation with the public to gain a better understanding on election campaign finance accountability before drafting a by-law for Regional Council’s consideration.

Two stakeholder meetings were held in May and three public engagement meetings in June. See the final public engagement report regarding campaign finances.