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 4 – Reporting Requirements
This chapter covers the following topics:
- 4.1 Reporting timeline
- 4.2 Mandatory reporting
- 4.3 Submission to Elections Canada
- 4.4 Filing an amended financial return
The registered association 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 website.
|Deadline||Who is responsible||Mandatory documents||Submit to whom|
|6 months after becoming a registered association||Financial agent||
|30 days after a change of registry information||Financial agent or chief executive officer||
|May 31||Financial agent||
|May 31*||Chief executive officer||
|May 31||Financial agent||
|30 days after nomination contest held by the association||Association's representative||
* If the date falls within an election period, the deadline is July 31.
** The auditor's report is required if the association accepted contributions totalling $5,000 or more, or incurred expenses totalling $5,000 or more, in the fiscal period. Note that transfers to affiliated political entities are not expenses.
4.2 Mandatory reporting
Reporting after registration
The registered association has to inform Elections Canada about its assets and liabilities after it becomes registered.
The Statement of Registered Association Assets and Liabilities lists the association's assets and liabilities as of the day before the effective date of the registration. It must be submitted to Elections Canada by the financial agent within six months after the association becomes registered.
Reporting changes in the registry information
If a change occurs in the registry information of the registered association (for example, the association changes address or appoints a new officer), the financial agent or the chief executive officer must inform Elections Canada in a written report about the change within 30 days.
Elections Canada then updates the Registry of Electoral District Associations accordingly.
Annual reporting obligations
Certain reports have to be completed and filed annually.
Reporting to Canada Revenue Agency
Every year, the registered association must report to the Canada Revenue Agency the contributions it has received, using the Contributions to a Registered Party or to a Registered Association – Information Return. It must be submitted by the financial agent. The deadline is the same as for the association's annual financial return, which is May 31. The form is available on the Elections Canada website.
Registry information update
A registry information update is mandatory. It informs Elections Canada either that the registered association's information maintained in the registry is accurate or that it requires an update. The association's chief executive officer is responsible for submitting either the Annual Statement of Registry Information or the General Form – Electoral District Association by the deadline of May 31 each year. If the date falls within an election period, the deadline is July 31.
A package is mailed to the registered associations from Elections Canada every year. It includes forms to provide registry updates. These forms are also available on the Elections Canada website:
- Annual Statement of Registry Information
- General Form – Electoral District Association
Registered Association Financial Transactions Return
The Registered Association Financial Transactions Return must be completed by the financial agent and sent to Elections Canada within five months after the end of a fiscal period. The return covers the following:
- registered association's information
- financial agent's information
- financial agent's signature, attesting to the completeness and accuracy of the return
- Statement of contributions, transfers and loans received
- Statement of returned contributions
- Statement of transfers made
- Statement of unpaid claims and loans
- Previously reported unpaid claims and loans that have been paid in full since the last fiscal period
- Statement of unpaid claims and loans 18 and 36 months past due
- Statement of expenses incurred for voter contact calling services for calls made during an election period
- Financial statements including a statement of assets and liabilities, and a statement of revenues and expenses
Along with the Registered Association Financial Transactions Return, the financial agent has to provide supporting schedules as applicable.
Note: After the association's financial return has been submitted, Elections Canada may contact the financial agent to request additional supporting documents during the review of the association's financial return.
For details about how to complete the association's financial statements, see the Appendix.
The auditor's report must accompany the Registered Association Financial Transactions Return if the association accepted contributions totalling $5,000 or more, or incurred expenses totalling $5,000 or more, in a fiscal period. The financial agent is responsible for ensuring that this report is completed and submitted to Elections Canada by May 31.
Note: The $5,000 threshold does not include the audit fee or any transfer made or received by the registered association.
After the financial agent has completed the association's annual financial return, the auditor verifies that the information in the return accurately presents the information in the financial records kept by the financial agent. The auditor's report contains the auditor's opinion as to whether the completed Registered Association Financial Transactions Return presents this information.
It is very important for the financial agent to give the auditor enough time to properly audit the Registered Association Financial Transactions Return before the deadline. Therefore it is advised to give the complete association's annual financial return to the auditor well before the deadline for submission.
Note: The Canada Elections Act provides for a subsidy of a maximum of $1,500 for audit services when an audit is required for an association's annual financial return.
Reporting a nomination contest
A registered association that held a nomination contest must submit a Nomination Contest Report to Elections Canada within 30 days after the contest selection date. If the contest was held by a registered party, the registered party 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:
- the name of the electoral district, the registered association and the registered party
- the date on which the nomination contest began and the selection date
- the names and addresses of the nomination contestants and their financial agents
- the name of the person selected in the nomination contest
4.3 Submission to Elections Canada
When documents are filed with Elections Canada, they have to be signed. Registry reports must be completed on prescribed forms and mailed or faxed to the Registrar's Office at Elections Canada. The forms are available on the Elections Canada website.
The association's annual financial return may be completed and submitted in a number of ways.
With the submission, please remember to give your name, role and the association'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.
|Completed how||How to submit|
Note: For more information on EFR submissions, please consult the EFR User Guide, available within the EFR software.
|Where to send documents|
Filing deadline and extensions
The Canada Elections Act specifies deadlines for submitting reports.
If the financial agent cannot submit the Registered Association Financial Transactions Return with all mandatory documents by the deadline, the financial agent or the chief executive officer of the association may apply to Elections Canada for authorization to submit the return and the auditor's report (if required) 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.
|Document to submit||Extension from Elections Canada||Additional extension from Elections Canada||Extension from a judge|
|Registered Association Financial Transactions Return||Yes||No||Yes|
|Corrected or revised Registered Association Financial Transactions Return requested by the registered association||Yes||Yes||No|
|Corrected or revised Registered Association Financial Transactions Return 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 financial 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 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 financial agent can apply to a judge to be relieved of the obligation of complying with the request.
If Elections Canada refuses to authorize an extension or, in the case of the Registered Association Financial Transactions Return, the financial agent is unable to file the required documents within the extended period, the financial 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 has been authorized, a registered association may face deregistration.
4.4 Filing an amended financial return
In certain circumstances it may be necessary to amend the association's financial return. An amended Registered Association Financial Transactions Return has to be filed with Elections Canada to correct errors or omissions.
Corrections or revisions requested by Elections Canada
On reviewing the association's financial return, Elections Canada may request the registered association to correct or revise the association's financial return within a specified period.
Corrections or revisions requested by the registered association
If there is a need to correct or revise the association's financial return (for example, some omitted contributions have to be added to the original return), the financial agent or the chief executive officer 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.