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Political Financing Handbook for Registered Parties and Chief Agents (EC 20231) – April 2015

This document is the DRAFT version of Elections Canada's guideline: OGI 2015-01

Chapter 2 – Roles and Responsibilities

This chapter covers the following topics:

Introduction

A political party must appoint a leader and at least three officers, as well as a chief agent and an auditor, before applying for registration. In addition, a party may later appoint registered agents to perform certain financial tasks. This chapter discusses these mandatory and optional appointments and the responsibilities of the appointees.

2.1 Mandatory appointments

Party leader

The party must appoint a leader before applying for registration. The party leader must be an individual who is eligible to vote and is a resident of Canada.

Appointment process

If for any reason a leader is no longer able to continue in that role, the party must select a new leader. If a registered party decides to hold a leadership contest, the chief agent of the party must notify Elections Canada about the start and end dates of the contest. A notice with that information is then published on the Elections Canada website.

The party must notify Elections Canada of the new appointment within 30 days after the appointment. The report must include a copy of the resolution of the party to appoint the new leader, certified by the new leader and another officer of the party.

The leader's responsibilities and obligations

The party leader's responsibilities include:

Officers

An eligible party or a registered party must have at least three officers in addition to the leader of the party.

Eligibility

Who can become an officer of an eligible or a registered party?

Appointment process

The General Form – Political Party must include the names and addresses of the officers as well as their signed consent to act in that capacity.

An eligible party or a registered party must have at least three officers in addition to the party leader. If for any reason an officer is no longer able to continue in that role, and the number of officers (including the party leader) is less than four, the party must appoint a new officer within 30 days. The party must notify Elections Canada of the new appointment within 30 days after the appointment. The report must include a signed consent from the new officer.

Chief agent

The party must appoint a chief agent before applying for registration.

The chief agent of a registered party is responsible for administering its financial transactions and for reporting them as required by the Canada Elections Act.

An eligible party or a registered party may have only one chief agent at a time.

Eligibility

Who can become a chief agent of an eligible or a registered party?

Who is not eligible to act as chief agent?

Appointment process

The party's application for registration must include the name and address of the chief agent and a signed consent from the chief agent to act in that capacity.

If for any reason the chief agent is no longer able to continue in that role, the party must appoint a new chief agent without delay. The party must notify Elections Canada of the new appointment within 30 days. The report must include a signed consent from the new chief agent.

The chief agent's responsibilities and obligations
Best practices for financial management

It is strongly recommended that the chief agent put in place effective controls for monitoring election expenses to ensure that the expenses limit is not exceeded. One good practice is to introduce a purchase requisition form that requires every purchase to be authorized by the chief agent.

Although a campaign budget is not mandatory, it is highly advisable to create one. Creating a budget helps the campaign to control, oversee and communicate about election expenditures. The chief agent should insist that he or she be kept informed of the financial transactions of the campaign, and should intervene to address any non-compliance in a timely fashion.

Auditor

The party must appoint an auditor before applying for registration. An eligible party or a registered party may have only one auditor at a time.

Eligibility

Who can become an auditor?

Who is not eligible to be an auditor?

Appointment process

The party's application for registration must include the name and address of the auditor and a signed consent from the auditor to act in that capacity.

If for any reason the auditor is no longer able to continue in that role, the party must appoint a new auditor without delay. The party must notify Elections Canada of the new appointment within 30 days. The report must include a signed consent from the new auditor.

The auditor's responsibilities and obligations

The auditor has a right to access all documents of the party, and may require the chief agent to provide any information or explanation that is necessary to enable the auditor to prepare the report.

The auditor's report is required for the party's annual financial return as well as for the party's return in respect of general election expenses.

In accordance with generally accepted auditing standards, the auditor has to examine the party's financial records and give an opinion in a report as to whether the party's financial return presents the information contained in the financial records on which it is based.

The auditor's report has to include any statement the auditor considers necessary if:

Note: In addition, when preparing a report on the Registered Party Return in Respect of General Election Expenses, the auditor must include a statement if based on the auditor's examination it appears that the registered party and the chief agent have not complied with the requirements of sections 363 to 445 of the Canada Elections Act.

2.2 Optional appointments

Registered agents

A registered party may appoint registered agents, who are authorized to accept contributions, or incur and pay expenses on behalf of the party.

A registered party may have any number of registered agents.

Eligibility

Eligibility requirements for this role are the same as for the role of the chief agent. In addition, the party has to specify the terms and conditions of the appointment(s).

Appointment process

An eligible party or a registered party may appoint agents or registered agents at any time.

Within 30 days after a party becomes eligible for registration, the eligible party must provide Elections Canada with a written report certified by the party leader or the chief agent, listing the names and addresses of the persons appointed as agents and specifying the terms and conditions of the appointments.

Within 30 days after the appointment of registered agents, the registered party must notify Elections Canada in a report certified by the party leader or the chief agent. The written report lists the names and addresses of the new registered agents and specifies the terms and conditions of the appointments.

Elections Canada enters the information in the Registry of Political Parties.

The registered agent's responsibilities and obligations

Authorized registered agents may perform one or all of the following tasks: