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B.C. Political Donations – Summary and Latest News

What follows is a summary of the major concerns about the current B.C. election donations laws, followed by our latest news articles on the issue of B.C. political donations.

Overview of BC Political Donations Laws

Under British Columbia’s Election Act, all registered political parties in British Columbia are required to file an annual financial report by March 31st of each year, which dicloses donations received in the previous year. You can find the database of these political donation reports here.

Unlike nearly everywhere else in Canada, under British Columbia’s Elections Act there is no limit on the amount an individual, organization or corporation can contribute to a political party in a given year.

For instance, under Canada’s Elections Act, which regulates political donations for federal parties (i.e. Liberal of Party of Canada and the Conservative Party of Canada), an individual is only allowed to donate up to $1,525 in any given year in the form of cash contributions, loans and loan guarantees. Corporations and foreign entities are strictly prohibited from making donations to a federal political party.

In British Columbia, not only are there no limits on the amount that can be donated to a political party, but parties are also allowed to accept donations from corporations and foreign entities. According to a 2016 column by the Vancouver Sun reporter Douglas Todd:

“B.C. is one of the few jurisdictions in the world that welcomes political donations from foreign individuals and corporations.”

This subject has become a major issue over the past few years and will likely be a major one during the 2017 B.C. provincial election. A poll by Insights West in April 2016 found 86 per cent of British Columbians would support a ban on corporate and union donations before the next election,

Summary of Political Donations to B.C. Political Parties (updated October 2016)

Under the current British Columbia Elections Act, every registered political party in B.C. must declare the sources of all donations over $250 in a given year.

Since 2005, the B.C. Liberal party has declared more than $106 million in political donations, while the B.C. New Democratic Party (NDP) has declared more than  $42 million in the same period. The B.C. Green Party has declared just over $1.8 million in political donations since 2005.

You can go here to see a list in alphabetical order of all donations made to the B.C. Liberal Party since 2005.

You can click here to see a list in alphabetical order of all donations made to the B.C. NDP since 2005.

You can click here to see a list in alphabetical order of all donations made to the B.C. Green Party since 2005.

Donor Breakdown for Each Major Political Party in 2015

In 2015, the B.C. Liberal Party declared $9.9 million in political donations [PDF]. Of that total:

  • $5.2 million (52 per cent) came from corporations
  • $3.35 million (33 per cent ) from individuals
  • $728,795 (7 per cent) from unincorporated businesses and organizations, and
  • $24,075 (>1 per cent) from trade unions

In 2015, the B.C. NDP declared $3.05 million in political donations [PDF]. Of that total:

  • $143,820 (4 per cent) came from corporations
  • $2.49 million (81 per cent) from individuals
  • $35,290 (1 per cent) from non-profit organizations, and
  • $376,336 (12 per cent) from trade unions

In 2015, the B.C. Green Party declared $394,310 in political donations [PDF]. Of that total:

  • $383,720 (97 per cent) came from individuals
  • $10,549 came from corporations

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