What information is included in the Political Contributions System?
The Political Contributions System (PCS) includes only information about contributors who, during a calendar year, election or leadership contest, made contributions of money, property or services with a value greater than $250 to registered political parties, registered constituency associations, candidates, leadership contestants and nomination contestants.
Registered political parties and registered constituency associations file annual financial reports with Elections BC. Those reports disclose the names of all contributors who made political contributions with a total value of more than $250 during the calendar year. Other disclosed information includes the date and value of the contributions and the type, or class, of the contributor. If the contributor is a numbered corporation or an unincorporated organization, the names of two principal officers or directors must also be disclosed.
After every election, registered political parties and constituency associations which ran candidates must also file a report which includes information on political contributions received from January 1 to General Voting Day. If there is an election during the year, the contributor information from the political parties’ and constituency associations’ election financing reports is also included in the annual financial report.
Candidates file financing reports after every election and these reports include information on all political contributions over $250 that were received in relation to their candidacy at any time. That means that even if the candidate received the political contribution months or even years before the election, it has to be disclosed.
Nomination contestants who won their nomination and became candidates must include the political contribution information in their candidate election financing report. The nomination contestant political contributions are on a separate form from their candidate political contributions, so these contributions are shown separately in the PCS.
Leadership contestants for a registered political party file financial disclosure reports after the new party leader is selected. Political contributions over $250 received at any time in relation to the leadership contest must be disclosed. TOP
Are contributions to registered election advertising sponsors included?
No. Contributions to registered election advertising sponsors, also known as third-party advertisers, are not political contributions and are not included in the PCS. TOP
- Are contributions to recall or initiative participants included?
No. Contributions under the Recall and Initiative Act are not political contributions and are not included in the PCS. TOP
Why can’t I find contributors who gave $250 or less?
The Election Act only requires detailed information about contributors who, during the reporting period, made one or more political contributions with a total value or more than $250.
The aggregate value of the political contributions and the total number of the contributors who made contributions with a value of $250 or less during a reporting period can be found in the financial reports filed with Elections BC by clicking on the link “View images of scanned financial reports.” TOP
What is a principal officer?
A principal officer of an organization is a director of the organization, or if there are no individual directors, a principal member of the organization. For example, a president, a treasurer, etc. TOP
- What is a filer type?
A filer type is the type of individual or organization to whom the contribution was made. Filers are those entities who file financial disclosure reports with Elections BC. The filer types are:
- Registered constituency associations
- Leadership contestants
- Nomination contestants
- Registered political parties TOP
- What is a class?
The class is the type of contributor. The classes are:
1 – Individuals
2 – Corporations
3 – Unincorporated organizations engaged in business or commercial activity (e.g. partnerships)
4 – Trade unions
5 – Non-profit organizations
6 – Other contributors TOP
What is an affiliation?
The affiliation is the political party that the filer is related to. For example, a candidate who runs for the XYZ Party is affiliated with that party.
Independent candidates and candidates not representing a registered political party do not have affiliations. Their affiliations will appear as either “Independent” or “Other” in the Affiliation drop down list in the PCS. TOP
What is the difference between the S-A1 and the S-A1-A form?
Form S-A1, Political Contributions of Money, Property or Services With a Value Greater Than $250, is used by all types of filers (candidates, political parties, constituency associations, leadership contestants and nomination contestants) to report all contributors who made political contributions during the reporting period which have a total value of more than $250.
Form S-A1-A, Combined Contributions to Political Party, Constituency Associations and Candidates With a Total Value Greater Than $250, is used by political parties in their annual financial reports only. This form reports the political contributions made by contributors who, during the calendar year, made contributions to one or more of the registered political party, a registered constituency association for the party, or a candidate for the party that, in total have a value of greater than $250.
For example, if a contributor gave $100 to 10 candidates for the same party in the same calendar year, the contributor’s information would not appear on form S-A1 in the candidates’ reports because the contribution is $250 or less. However, the contributor’s information must be disclosed by the party on form S-A1-A because the combined total of political contributions is greater than $250 (10 candidates x $100 = $1,000). TOP
How can I find contributions made by a specific contributor?
On either the S-A1 or S-A1-A search screen, enter the contributor’s name or part of the name and click the Search button.
Since the spelling of names can differ, unless you are absolutely sure of the full name and spelling of the contributor you are looking for, it is best to enter the partial name and then scroll through the search results to find the particular contributor you are looking for. TOP
I entered a partial name in the contributor name box and did a search. The results show no contributors with that name but there are contributions listed. How come?
When the PCS searches by contributor name it looks for contributors and principal officers with that name or partial name. So, if there is no contributor of that name listed, look at the principal officers and you will see the name you searched for. TOP
How can I find contributions made to a specific candidate?
On the S-A1 search screen, select Candidate from the drop down box labeled Filer Type. In the box labeled Filer Name, select the name of the candidate you are interested in and click on the Search button. TOP
How can I find contributions made to a specific registered political party?
On the S-A1 search screen, select Political Party from the drop down box labeled Filer Type. In the box labeled Filer Name, select the name of the political party you want and click on the Search button. TOP
Why does it take so long to search? Is there a way to speed it up?
Yes. You can speed up your search results by narrowing your search. The more fields you select, the faster your results will be. Therefore, if you are interested in who gave money to a particular party in 2006, limit your search by selecting the party from the Filer Name drop down list and choose the Date From as January 1, 2006 and the Date To as December 31, 2006. TOP
Is there a way to search the contributions by date received?
Yes. Just use the drop down boxes to select the Date From and the Date To that you want to search. The PCS will find contributions made between those two dates. TOP
Is it possible to determine who made political contributions at fundraising functions?
It is not possible to identify who made political contributions at fundraising functions. However, the names of contributors who, during the reporting period, made one or more political contributions, whether at a fundraising function or not, with a total value greater than $250 can be found in the PCS. TOP
Is it possible to determine if someone received a tax receipt for a contribution?
No. However, the total dollar value of all income tax receipts issued by a filer during the reporting period can be found by clicking on the link “View images of scanned financial reports”, locating the filer and report you are interested in and viewing the Summary of Political Contributions by Class form (Sm-C). TOP
How can I tell if a contribution was monetary or non-monetary?
You cannot tell from the information filed under the Election Act if a political contribution was monetary or for goods or services. The total value of political contributions reported includes contributions of money and the fair market value of contributed goods and services. TOP
Are there limits to how much a contributor can give?
No, not in B.C. The Election Act does not limit the amount of political contributions that can be made by a contributor. However, charitable organizations, unregistered political parties and unregistered constituency associations are all prohibited from making any political contributions.
What if I gave a political contribution to a political party or other filer, and my name is not reported as contributor – who should I contact?
If the total value of all political contributions that you made to a political entity during a calendar year or election had a value greater than $250, but your name is not reported, please contact both the financial agent of the political entity and Elections BC. TOP
What if I do not agree with the class of a contributor – who should I contact?
Please contact the financial agent of the political entity and Elections BC. TOP
When I click on 'Download all Contribution Data' from the search screen, the following screen displays a message - 'Click on "Download" and on the next screeen click Save. (Do not click Open).' Why can't I just open the file?
There are over 70,000 records in some of the downloadable files. Some versions of Excel will not allow more than 65, 536 records and if your computer automatically opened the file using Excel, not all of the records would be included. There are no limitations on the number of records that can be saved in a text file (.txt). TOP
Why is the downloaded contribution information saved as a text file (.txt) and not a spreadsheet like Excel?
There are over 70,000 records in some of the downloadable files. There are no limitations on the number of records that can be saved in a text file (.txt). Some versions of Excel will not allow more than 65, 536 records and would not allow you to save all 70,000 records. TOP