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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 4 – Reporting Requirements

This chapter covers the following topics:

Introduction

A registered party or an eligible party has to complete and file certain reports with Elections Canada. This chapter outlines what they are and when they need to be filed.

Note: Elections Canada has developed free software to assist with the preparation of financial returns: the Electronic Financial Return (EFR) software. The EFR software is downloadable from the Elections Canada website.

4.1 Reporting timeline

The Canada Elections Act requires certain reports to be completed and submitted by set deadlines. The forms are available on the Elections Canada Web site.

Deadline Who is responsible Mandatory documents Submit to whom
6 months after becoming a registered party Chief agent
  • Statement of Registered Party Assets and Liabilities as of the day before registration
  • Auditor's report
Elections Canada
30 days after a change of registry information Party's representative
  • Report on changes of registry information and relevant supporting documents (e.g. agent's consent to act)
  • Report change of a leader
Elections Canada
June 30 every third year (due in 2016) Party's representative
  • A declaration of 250 members of a registered or an eligible party (General Form – Political Party)
Elections Canada
June 30 Party leader
  • A declaration of the leader of a political party (General Form Political Party)
Elections Canada
30 days after the end of the quarter Chief agent
  • Registered Party Financial Transactions Quarterly Return*
Elections Canada
June 30 Chief agent
  • Contributions to a Registered Party or to a Registered Association — Information Return
CRA
June 30 Chief agent
  • Provide annual statement of registry information
Elections Canada
June 30 Chief agent
  • Registered Party Financial Transactions Return
  • Auditor's report
Elections Canada
Within 10 days after a general election is called Party's representative
  • Report change or confirm the validity of registry information
  • Report names of designated representatives
Elections Canada
8 months after election day Chief agent
  • Registered Party Return in Respect of General Election Expenses
  • Auditor's report
Elections Canada
If a party proposes to hold a leadership contest Chief agent
  • Notice of a Registered Party's Leadership Contest
Elections Canada
30 days after a nomination contest held by the party Party's representative
  • Nomination Contest Report (unless the contest was held by a registered association)
Elections Canada
Sent with the directed contributions Chief agent
  • Statement of Directed Contributions Received and Transferred to a Leadership Contestant
Leadership contestant

* Required if the candidates endorsed by the party received at least 2% of the valid votes cast at the most recent election, or 5% of the valid votes cast in the electoral districts where the party endorsed a candidate.

4.2 Mandatory documents and supporting documentation

Reporting after registration

The party has to inform Elections Canada about its assets and liabilities after it becomes registered.

The Statement of Registered Party Assets and Liabilities lists the party's assets and liabilities as of the day before the effective date of the registration. It must be submitted to Elections Canada by the chief agent within six months after the party becomes registered. The statement must be accompanied by the auditor's report.

Reporting changes in the registry information

If a change occurs in the registry information of a registered party or an eligible party (for example, the party changes address or appoints a new officer or a registered agent), the party's representative must inform Elections Canada about the change within 30 days in a written report certified by the party leader.

Elections Canada then updates the Registry of Political Parties accordingly.

Party members' declarations

A registered party or an eligible party must submit the names, addresses and declarations of at least 250 party members by June 30 every third year.

The next reporting year is 2016.

Annual reporting obligations

Certain reports must be completed and filed annually.

Declaration of the leader

Every year, a registered party or an eligible party must submit a declaration of the leader of a political party to Elections Canada by June 30th. On this form, signed by the party leader, he or she declares that one of the party's fundamental purposes is to participate in public affairs by endorsing one or more of its members as candidates and supporting their election.

Reporting to the Canada Revenue Agency

Every year, the registered party must report to the Canada Revenue Agency the contributions it has received. The report must be submitted by the chief agent. The deadline for this report is the same as for the party's annual financial return, June 30th.

Please follow the link on the Elections Canada website to access the required CRA form.

Annual statement of registry information

By June 30 every year, a registered or eligible party must send a report to Elections Canada about the information maintained in the registry. The statement must either confirm the validity of the information maintained in the registry or report any changes. The statement must be certified by the party leader.

Elections Canada then updates the Registry of Political Parties accordingly.

Registered Party Financial Transactions Quarterly Return

The Registered Party Financial Transactions Quarterly Return is required if the candidates endorsed by the party received at least 2% of the valid votes cast or 5% of the valid votes cast in the electoral districts where the party endorsed a candidate at the most recent general election. The quarterly financial return must be submitted by the chief agent to Elections Canada within 30 days after the end of the quarter it relates to and it covers the following:

Registered Party Financial Transactions Return

The Registered Party Financial Transactions Annual Return must be submitted by the chief agent to Elections Canada by June 30 every year. The return covers the following:

Along with the Registered Party Financial Transactions Annual Return, the chief agent has to provide supporting schedules as applicable. The auditor's report must accompany the annual financial return.

Event-based reporting obligations

Statement after a general election is called

Within 10 days after a general election is called, a registered party or an eligible party must submit a statement certified by the party's leader to Elections Canada and either confirm the validity of the party's registry information or report any change. The statement must also include the names of the designated party representatives for endorsing candidates.

Registered Party Return in Respect of General Election Expenses

The Registered Party Return in Respect of General Election Expenses must be submitted by the chief agent to Elections Canada within eight months after election day. The party's election expenses return covers the following:

Along with the Registered Party Return in Respect of General Election Expenses, the chief agent has to provide supporting schedules as applicable. The auditor's report must accompany the election expenses return.

Notice of a leadership contest

If a registered party plans to hold a leadership contest, the chief agent is responsible for sending a notice to Elections Canada. The Notice of a Registered Party's Leadership Contest informs about the start and end dates of the leadership contest.

Reporting a nomination contest

A registered party must submit a Nomination Contest Report to Elections Canada within 30 days after the contest selection date of any nomination contest held by the party. If the contest was held by a registered association, the registered association has to file the report. A Nomination Contest Report must be submitted in all cases where the contest was made open to more than one person to propose their name for consideration. This applies even if only one contestant entered the contest.

Note: It is important to submit the Nomination Contest Report within one month after the contest, as required by the Canada Elections Act. After receiving the Nomination Contest Report, Elections Canada starts sending notifications to the nomination contestant and the financial agent about filing deadlines and other important reporting obligations.

The Nomination Contest Report includes the following information:

Reporting directed contributions

In order to provide leadership contestants with the necessary information to complete their reporting obligations, the Statement of Directed Contributions Received and Transferred to a Leadership Contestant must be sent to the leadership contestant's campaign. If the registered party receives and sends directed contributions to a leadership contestant's campaign, it must send the statements of those contributions with the transfers.

Auditor's reports

The following financial returns must be accompanied by an auditor's report:

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.

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.

It is very important for the chief agent to give the auditor enough time to properly audit a financial report before a deadline. Therefore it is advised to give the complete financial report to the auditor well before the deadline for submission.

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.

Note: The Canada Elections Act does not provide for a subsidy for audit services for parties.

4.3 Submission to Elections Canada

The registered party's quarterly financial returns (if applicable), annual financial returns and election expenses returns may be completed and submitted in a number of ways.

Completed how How to submit
Paper forms
  1. Send signed mandatory documents by courier, mail, fax or e-mail (in PDF format) to Elections Canada.
  2. Send all required supporting documentation to Elections Canada by mail or courier.
EFR
  1. EFR creates a submission file of the return.
  2. Send the submission file as an attachment in an email to Elections Canada.
  3. Send the documents requiring signatures and the required supporting documentation by courier, mail, fax or e-mail (in PDF format) to Elections Canada.

Note: For more information on EFR submissions, please consult the EFR User Guide, available within the EFR software.

Where to send documents

E-mail:
efr-rfe@elections.ca

Mail:
Elections Canada
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0M6

Fax:
Political Financing
1-888-523-9333 (toll free)
1-819-939-1803

With the submission, please remember to give your name, role and the party's name. It is recommended to keep a copy of all documents submitted to Elections Canada. Documents filed with Elections Canada have to be signed.

Filing deadline and extensions

The Canada Elections Act specifies deadlines for submitting reports.

If the chief agent cannot submit the Registered Party Financial Transactions Annual Return or the Registered Party Return in Respect of General Election Expenses by the deadline, the chief agent may apply to Elections Canada for authorization to submit the return and the auditor's report within an extended period of time. However, the request has to be received by Elections Canada within two weeks after the applicable deadline.

Note: Only a judge may grant an extension requested more than two weeks after the deadline has passed.

The following table explains which documents are eligible for extension under the Canada Elections Act.

Registered party reports – extension requests
Document to submit Extension from Elections Canada Additional extension from Elections Canada Extension from a judge
Registered Party Financial Transactions Annual Return Yes No Yes
Registered Party Return in Respect of General Election Expenses Yes No Yes
Corrected or revised Registered Party Financial Transactions Annual Return requested by the registered party Yes Yes No
Corrected or revised Registered Party Return in Respect of General Election Expenses requested by the registered party Yes Yes No
Corrected or revised Registered Party Financial Transactions Annual Return requested by Elections Canada No No No
Corrected or revised Registered Party Return in Respect of General Election Expenses requested by Elections Canada No No No

The Request for Extension of Filing Deadline form should be used to apply for an extension. Elections Canada will grant an extension unless the chief agent's failure to provide the document was deliberate or was the result of a failure to exercise due diligence.

Note: The Canada Elections Act does not allow for extensions on quarterly financial returns and registry reports.

Documents not eligible for extension

Corrections or revisions requested by Elections Canada are not eligible for extensions and must be filed within the specified period. However, the chief agent can apply to a judge to be relieved of the obligation of complying with the request.

Court extension

If Elections Canada refuses to authorize an extension or the chief agent is unable to file the required documents within the extended period, the chief agent may apply to a judge for an extension. Note that court extensions are not available for corrected or revised returns.

Note: If the documents are not filed by the statutory deadline and no extension is authorized, a registered party may face deregistration.

4.4 Filing an amended financial return

In certain circumstances it may be necessary to amend the registered party's annual financial return or election expenses return. An amended return has to be filed with Elections Canada to correct errors or omissions.

Corrections or revisions requested by Elections Canada

On reviewing the registered party's annual financial return or election expenses return, Elections Canada may request the registered party to correct or revise the return within a specified period.

Corrections or revisions requested by the registered party

If there is a need to correct or revise the party's annual financial return, or election expenses return (for example, some information has to be corrected in the original return), the chief agent has to submit a written request to Elections Canada for authorization to file a corrected or revised return.

An amended return must be submitted within 30 days after the correction or revision is authorized.