The Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) is preparing to provide costing services for campaign proposals for the 44th Canadian federal election. The election will mark the second time the PBO has offered this optional service since the Parliament of Canada Act was amended in 2017 to introduce a role for the PBO during federal elections.
“This is part of our mandate to respond to requests from political parties to estimate the financial cost of any campaign proposal they are considering making“, says Yves Giroux, PBO. “Our Office must be ready to deliver non-partisan, independent financial cost estimates of election campaign proposals at any time, especially in a minority government situation”.
Through the PBO’s Election Proposal Costing (EPC) service, political parties can place requests for the costing of election campaign proposals. Parties have no obligation to ask the PBO to cost their campaign proposal. The PBO will only estimate the financial cost of an election campaign proposal only when requested to do so by a political party, and only when a proposal is specific and sufficiently detailed and intended for a political party’s own platform.
It is also important to keep in mind the limitations on the PBO’s role when it comes to requests for election costing. For example, the PBO:
- Will not cost or assess full campaign platforms – only proposals;
- Will not advise those making requests on policy aspects of proposals;
- Will not publicly disclose a party’s platform or proposal; and
- Will not certify cost estimates prepared by other organizations.
Once the election is called, the Office will not publish any new reports. Only independent, non-partisan assessments of the financial cost of proposed campaign measures requested by political parties will be issued.