Political Financing Handbook for Electoral District Associations and Financial Agents (EC 20089) – September 2015
This document is Elections Canada's guideline: OGI 2015-02.
Click on the link for the latest Political Financing Handbook for Electoral District Associations and Financial Agents.
Chapter 1 – Electoral District Association Registration
This chapter covers the following topics:
Before carrying out political financing tasks such as accepting contributions, issuing tax receipts, transferring property or services, or accepting surplus funds from candidates, an electoral district association of a registered political party must register with Elections Canada. This chapter focuses on the process of becoming a registered electoral district association. The chapter also explains the reasons for and consequences of deregistration.
1.1 The registration process
An electoral district association is an association of members of a political party in an electoral district.
Registering with Elections Canada
An electoral district association of a registered party must register with Elections Canada to engage in certain activities or become eligible for certain benefits. The association must be an electoral district association of a registered party to be able to register.
The registration form must include the following:
- the name of the association and the electoral district
- the name of the registered party
- the association's address where records are kept and to which communications may be addressed
- the names and addresses of the chief executive officer and other officers of the association
- the name and address of the appointed auditor
- the name and address of the financial agent
The application must be accompanied by:
- the signed consent of the financial agent to act in that role
- the signed consent of the auditor to act in that role
- a declaration signed by the leader of the registered party, certifying that the association is an electoral district association of the party
Upon receiving the application for registration, Elections Canada will determine whether the application has met the requirements for registration.
- If all requirements are met, Elections Canada informs the party and the association that the association is registered in the Registry of Electoral District Associations.
- If the requirements are not met, Elections Canada informs the party and the association about the reasons, and the association can make the necessary corrections.
Registry of Electoral District Associations
Elections Canada maintains a Registry of Electoral District Associations. An association becomes registered on the date it is entered in the registry.
Note: A registered party may not have more than one registered association in an electoral district.
An association remains registered in the registry as long as it continues to meet the requirements for maintaining that status. Should an association fail to meet requirements, Elections Canada may initiate the procedure for non-voluntary deregistration.
For more details, see the following section, Obligations after registration.
Benefits of being a registered association
Once the electoral district association is registered, it is allowed to perform financial tasks such as:
- accepting contributions
- issuing receipts valid for income tax purposes
Note: No agent of a registered association may issue a tax receipt without written authorization to do so from the leader of the registered party.
- transferring funds, or property or services to a candidate endorsed by the registered party
- transferring funds, or property or services to the registered party or another registered association of the party
- accepting surplus funds from a candidate or a nomination contestant in the same electoral district
- accepting surplus funds from a leadership contestant
Obligations after registration
Establish a fiscal year
The fiscal year of a registered association must be a calendar year. Depending on the date of registration, the association must modify the length of its first fiscal period so that it ends on December 31. The first fiscal period may not be less than 6 months or more than 18 months.
- If an association registers on October 1, the association's first fiscal period will end on December 31 in the following year, 15 months after registration.
- If an association registers on March 1, the association's first fiscal period will end on December 31 in the same year, 10 months after registration.
Registered associations must meet various reporting obligations. These include:
- notifying Elections Canada about changes in the association's registry information within 30 days after a change
- confirming the validity of registry information or reporting changes annually
- within six months after becoming registered, reporting assets and liabilities as of the day before the date of registration
- submitting financial reports annually
- reporting a nomination contest held by the association (nomination contests held by the registered party have to be reported by the registered party)
Note: Elections Canada may deregister a registered association if it fails to comply with the reporting obligations.
For more about reporting obligations, see Chapter 4, Reporting Requirements.
Registered associations may be deregistered for several reasons. The association may ask to be deregistered, or the party might deregister one of its associations. The association may be deregistered for failing to perform an obligation required under the Canada Elections Act, or as a result of the regular revision of boundaries required by the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act.
This section discusses the reasons for, and consequences of, deregistration.
The registered association may send a request to Elections Canada to become deregistered. The chief executive officer and the financial agent of the association have to sign the application.
Elections Canada may deregister a registered association if the deregistration is requested by the party or if the association fails to comply with an obligation.
Deregistration requested by the party
The registered party may request deregistration of a registered association. The application has to be signed by the leader of the party and two of its officers.
Note: If a registered party is deregistered, its registered associations are also deregistered.
Note: Elections Canada cannot process an application for voluntary deregistration during an election period.
Deregistration for failing to comply with an obligation
Elections Canada may deregister a registered association if it fails to provide:
- a statement confirming the validity of the information filed with the Registry of Electoral District Associations by May 31 each year, or by July 31 if that date falls during an election period
- any document required to inform Elections Canada about a change in the information filed with the registry, or any new appointment within 30 days of the event
- the Statement of Registered Association Assets and Liabilities within six months after the effective date of registration
- a Nomination Contest Report within 30 days after the contest selection date
- the Registered Association Financial Transactions Return by May 31 each year
If the registered association has failed to perform any of these obligations, Elections Canada first notifies the chief executive officer and the financial agent of the association, and asks the association to:
- correct the omission within 30 days of receiving the notice, or
- satisfy Elections Canada that the omission was not the result of negligence or a lack of good faith
Note: Elections Canada also sends a copy of this notice to the leader and the chief agent of the registered party with which the registered association is affiliated.
If the association does not correct the omission, but instead satisfies Elections Canada that the omission was not the result of negligence or a lack of good faith, Elections Canada may:
- exempt the association in whole or in part from complying with the obligation, or
- specify a new deadline to comply with the obligation
Note: Failure to comply with notices from Elections Canada may lead to deregistration of the association.
Process of deregistration
If a registered association is deregistered, Elections Canada notifies the association in writing. A copy of the notice is sent to the registered party with which the association is affiliated. The written notice contains the effective date of deregistration, which will be at least 15 days after the date of the notice.
Elections Canada enters the deregistration of an association in the Registry of Electoral District Associations and publishes the notice of deregistration on its website and in the Canada Gazette.
Obligations after deregistration
After the effective date of deregistration, the association is no longer allowed to perform the following tasks:
- accept contributions
- issue tax receipts
- transfer funds, property or services to a candidate endorsed by the registered party
- transfer funds, property or services to the registered party or to another registered association of the party
- accept surplus funds from a candidate, leadership contestant or nomination contestant
The financial agent remains responsible for filing the Registered Association Financial Transactions Return within six months after deregistration. Financial returns must be filed for:
- the fiscal period in which the association became deregistered
- any other fiscal period for which the association has not filed a return
Note: An auditor's report is also required if the association has accepted contributions totalling $5,000 or more, or incurred expenses totaling $5,000 or more, in a given fiscal period. Note that transfers to affiliated political entities are not expenses.