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Election Advertising Handbook for Third Parties, Financial Agents and Auditors (EC 20227) – April 2017

1. Registering a Third Party

This chapter covers the following topics:


This chapter explains the legal requirements for registering as a third party and the steps in the registration process.

1.1 What is a third party?


For the purposes of regulating election advertising under the Canada Elections Act, third party means a person or a group other than a candidate, registered party, or electoral district association of a registered party.

A third party may incur election advertising expenses totalling $500 or more in relation to a general election or a by-election if the third party is:

What is a group?

Group means an unincorporated trade union, trade association or other group of persons acting together by mutual consent for a common purpose. Two groups with related aims, such as two trade union locals of the same parent union, may both separately register as third parties. However, they must be aware that they are prohibited from colluding with each other to circumvent the election advertising expenses limit.

1.2 Registration requirements

A person or group must register as a third party immediately after incurring election advertising expenses totalling $500 or more. An election advertising expense is incurred when the third party becomes legally obligated to pay, or in the case of a non-monetary contribution, when the contribution is accepted.

Alternatively, a person or group may register as a third party if they intend to incur election advertising expenses totalling $500 or more.

Registration cannot take place before the election is called. The person or group must apply for registration by submitting the completed and signed General Form–Third Party to Elections Canada.

Once registered, the person or group is referred to as a registered third party. Third party registration is valid only for the election period for which the application is made.

1.3 Registration process

Elections Canada's verification of the application

Elections Canada examines the application for registration to determine whether the third party can be registered. Applications are examined in the order in which they are received.

A third party will not be registered if:

If a third party cannot be registered for any reason, Elections Canada will inform the person who signed the application for registration, explaining why the third party cannot be registered. The third party must reapply for registration if it has incurred election advertising expenses totalling $500 or more in relation to that election.

If the application is accepted, Elections Canada informs the person who signed the application for registration.

Registry of Third Parties

Elections Canada maintains a Registry of Third Parties that includes all the details provided by registered third parties in their application and subsequent updates.

Note: When third parties become registered, their names and addresses are published on the Elections Canada website.