Provincial government pitching new rules surrounding third party ads, campaign donations, collusion

Barrie-area MPP says move is to ensure voters decide election outcomes, not big business

The provincial government has proposed boosting the amount folks can donate during election time as it makes moves to increase COVID protections while voting.

On Thursday, Queen’s Park announced it would double the amount individuals can donate to a candidate, constituency association, leadership contestant or party, from $1,650 to $3,300. The proposed law would also extend third-party advertising spending limits from six to 12 months before an election period, while introducing clear definitions of collusion. The legislation on the table also seeks to clarify rules surrounding when MPPs can maintain individual social media accounts.

This comes as part of a proposed piece of legislation called the Protecting Ontario Elections Act, 2021, which promises to also guard against the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, address under-regulated third-party advertising, and irregular campaign spending.

“We strongly believe that Ontario voters should determine the outcome of elections, not big corporations or unions, American-style political action groups or other outside influences,” said Attorney General and Barrie-area MPP Doug Downey. “That’s why we are proposing legislative action to protect Ontarians’ essential voice in campaigns and to make it easier to cast a vote safely in an advance poll or on election day. These amendments would help modernize Ontario’s electoral process and ensure it is updated to meet urgent challenges, including COVID-19.”

This act also proposes to increase advance polling days from five to ten to allow a safer and more convenient voting experience for Ontarians.