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Eligible Expenses

Election expenses refer to any amount paid, liability incurred, or the fair market value of any non-monetary contribution accepted to promote or oppose a candidate’s campaign.

All property or services used to promote the election of a candidate during the campaign period must be reported as an election expense.

How do non-monetary contributions also count as election expenses?

Contributions pay for campaign expenses. Contributions and expenses must cancel each other out when the Candidate’s Financial Report is completed.

To understand non-monetary contributions as expenses, compare the contribution to a gift card: the donor contributes the value of goods or services “in-kind” and the campaign then “spends” that in-kind value on the goods or services provided.

Expenses vary depending on how a candidate chooses to run their campaign. For example, a candidate running in a multi-community electoral district may incur travel and accommodation expenses while a candidate in a single-community district may not.

Acceptable election expenses may include, but are not limited to:

Office Expenses

  • postage
  • office supplies
  • rent
  • staff
  • utilities

Goods & Services

  • advertising
  • catering
  • childcare
  • graphic design
  • signage


  • accommodation
  • fuel
  • meals
  • plane tickets
  • vehicle rental

Contact the Finance Officer at Elections NWT if you have any questions about what qualifies as an eligible election expense.

Limits and Restrictions

Spending limit

The maximum amount you can spend on a single election campaign is $30,000.

This amount includes any money spent before, during, and after the campaign period. The value of non-monetary contributions is also included in this amount.

Volunteer labour, and goods produced by volunteer labour, are not included when calculating the $30,000 maximum, unless the volunteer usually charges a fee for the services they are providing.

When you can incur expenses

Prospective candidates may incur expenses before they are an official candidate.

They may not, however, promote themselves as an official candidate or collect contributions during the pre-election period.

Expenditures made by a prospective candidate in the pre-election period can be reimbursed by their Official Agent once they are declared an official candidate and only if they provide receipts.

Expenses incurred during the pre-election period count toward the $30,000 maximum spending limit.

Authorizing and Paying Expenses

All expenses must be paid from contributions received during the campaign period.

Candidates may contribute their own funds to cover any expenses that exceed the amount of contributions received but must stay within the $30,000 limit. These funds must be recorded in Part 1, and 2 where applicable, of Section Three of the Candidate’s Financial Report.

Official Agents

Only the Official Agent may incur election expenses during the campaign period.

An Official Agent may provide written authorization to another person to incur minor expenses such as stationary, postage, or other petty expenses. In their written authorization, the Official Agent must set out the maximum amount that person is authorized to spend.


During the campaign period, a candidate may pay for petty expenses or for travel and accommodation costs and be reimbursed by their Official Agent for these expenses.

A candidate must provide their Official Agent with receipts or proof of payment in order to be reimbursed for any election-related expense. Any reimbursement must come from contributions received during the campaign period.

Recording Expenses

It is important to keep records of all election expenses.

Expenditures made by a prospective candidate in the pre-election period must be reported in Part 1 of Section Four of the Candidate’s Financial Report.


All other expenses must be reported in Part 2 of Section Four of the Candidate’s Financial Report.

Any payment for election expenses that exceeds $50.00 must be supported by a receipt or invoice.

If an individual who provides goods or services does not normally issue receipts, then the Official Agent must prepare a document and have that individual sign it to confirm they received payment. The document should include:

  • the date of the transaction
  • the name of the provider
  • a list of goods and/or services provided
  • the amount paid to the provider
  • the signature of the provider