Table of contents

Status:
Bill 81 received royal assent on December 8, 2021
Bill 68 received royal assent on June 17, 2021
Bill 26 came into force July 23, 2020
Ministry responsible: Justice and Solicitor General

Overview

Bill 81: the Election Statutes Amendment Act strengthens our electoral system by banning foreign money in Alberta politics and establishing a set election date.

The amendments make the voting process easier by increasing the number of advance voting stations.

The bill also strengthens campaign finance rules. It sets a donation limit of $30,000 to third parties, and allows only those living in Alberta to contribute to election advertising. Individuals not living in Canada and non-Canadian entities will not be able to donate to political advertising, ensuring other jurisdictions aren't able to influence Alberta elections.

These changes show our commitment to enhancing our democratic system and creating a more fair, flexible and efficient process for Albertans.

Key changes

Bill 81: the Election Statutes Amendment Act amends 8 pieces of legislation to make the following key changes:

Improve election financing rules

  • Allow only those who live in Alberta to contribute to a third party for election advertising and prohibit those not living in Canada and non-Canadian corporations and organizations from donating to political advertising.
  • Set an annual $30,000 contribution limit for donations to third parties, often called political action committees, and prohibit political parties, candidates and constituency associations from contributing to third parties.
  • Establish a formula for determining election expense limits for parties, which would reflect the increase in costs for campaign expenses.

Set an election date

  • Establish the last Monday in May as Election Day in Alberta to level the playing field for all political parties, remove the advantage a governing party currently has, and increase trust in the democratic process.

Make the voting process easier and more efficient

  • Increase the number of advance voting stations, where needed, to make it easier for Albertans who want to vote early.
  • Require voters to provide identification to vote in provincial elections, as in municipal and federal elections, increasing the integrity of Alberta elections.
  • Help voting stations run more smoothly by allowing election officers to perform a wider range of assigned duties instead of being restricted to specialized roles.

Other changes

  • Make minor amendments to election-related legislation to make sure they are aligned and the language is consistent throughout.
  • Update election-related legislation to include references to the new Recall Act and Citizen Initiative Act.
  • Increase the expense limit for nomination contestants from 20% to 25% of a candidate’s limit.
  • Make it so contributions to nomination contestants (those seeking to be the official candidate in a riding) are capped at $4,000 in total, and not part of a donor’s maximum contribution limit.
  • Change legislation so contributions to nomination contestants are no longer tax deductible.
  • Allow voter cards to be sent electronically as well as by mail.
  • Clarify that the Election Commissioner cannot start a citizen initiative petition.
  • Allow rules for a citizen initiative vote to be made by regulation.
  • Clarify that government and political entities could  speak on issues raised under the Citizen Initiative Act.
  • Have campaign periods start the day the writ is issued, instead of February 1, consistent with establishing a set election day.
  • Change legislation so employers are only obligated to give an employee time off for voting if the employee’s schedule does not provide the employee with three consecutive hours to vote during advance voting or on election day.

Resources

Bill 81: the Election Statutes Amendment Act fact sheet (PDF, 315 KB)

Previous legislation changes

The Election Statutes Amendment Act, 2021 (formerly Bill 68) received royal assent on June 1, 2021. It makes  it clear that all Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs), including ministers in their role as MLAs, are allowed to participate in public debate and share their views on the topics of referendums.

The Constitutional Referendum Amendment Act  (formerly Bill 26) received royal assent on July 23, 2020. It allows referendums to be held on more topics, including on government-led initiatives or matters of public interest before they are implemented – including the recommendations of the Fair Deal Panel. Referendums can be held by themselves or in conjunction with provincial or municipal elections.

Next steps

Bill 81: the Election Statutes Amendment Act will come into force upon proclamation, except sections 3 and 8, which came into force on December 8, 2021.

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