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Election advertising handbook for Third Parties, Financial Agents and Auditors (EC 20227) – July 2015

Registering a Third Party

This chapter covers the following topics:


This chapter contains specific information about when and how to apply for registration as a third party under the Canada Elections Act. It explains the legal requirements for qualifying as a third party, completing the application process and reporting changes to registry information.

1.1 What is a third party?


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

This handbook details the application of the Canada Elections Act to third parties with respect to election advertising.

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:

Note: Group means an unincorporated trade union, trade association or other group of persons acting together by mutual consent for a common purpose.

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, the expense is incurred when the contribution is accepted.

Alternatively, a person or group may register as a third party if it intends 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.

Note: Foreign third parties that do not fit the above descriptions cannot register with Elections Canada and may only incur less than $500 in election advertising expenses.

Contents of the application

The application to register as a third party must include:

Changes in registration details

If, after applying for registration, the financial agent or the auditor of the third party is replaced, or any other registry information changes, the third party must immediately send an updated General Form – Third Party to Elections Canada that provides the following information:

1.3 The registration process

Verification of the application by Elections Canada

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 re-apply 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 to capture all the details provided by registered third parties in their application and subsequent updates, including the information about their financial agent and auditor (if required).