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Meeting Summary – Annual General Meeting – October 67, 2014

Appendix C: OGI Process

In relation to scope, OGIs deal specifically with the application of the Act to political entities: registered parties, registered associations, nomination contestants, candidates and leadership contestants. It is anticipated that most OGIs will deal with questions related to political financing. It is important to note, however, that the CEO maintains formal, rule-making authority over legislated areas under his responsibility, such as the prescription of forms.

Written opinions are issued following a request from a registered party though its chief agent regarding a practice or an activity that the party or one of its political entities intends to undertake. Written opinions are binding on the CEO and the Commissioner of Canada Elections (the Commissioner). Requests can only be about a practice or activity of one’s own party, not about those of other parties.

EC can initiate guidelines and interpretation notes on its own or at the request of a registered party through its chief agent. These notes provide guidance on the application of the Act to political entities. Guidelines and interpretation notes are for information only.

The introduction of a formal process for OGIs presents important opportunities to help participants in the regulatory process (CEO, the Commissioner, political entities) to better understand each other’s realities and concerns. Also, the new mechanisms will enhance predictability and stability of the regulatory function. Participants will be on notice and informed of OGIs being proposed, processed and issued.

However, the regime as set out in Bill C-23 presents significant challenges:

Proposed solutions to address those challenges are as follows:

Forward agenda

After December 19, priority will be given to the handbooks for nomination contestants and candidates. Updated handbooks will include some clarifications to existing content as well as changes to reflect provisions introduced by Bill C-23. Two specific interpretation notes will also be proposed: the first on the definitions of campaign expenses for leadership and nomination contestants, and the second on the use of member of Parliament resources outside an electoral period.

For the EC-initiated OGIs, parties will be provided with draft documents at least 30 days prior to the start of the formal consultation period (of 15 calendar days).