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Political Financing Handbook for Electoral District Associations and Financial Agents (EC 20089) – June 2015

This document is the DRAFT version of Elections Canada's guideline: OGI 2015-02

Chapter 1 – Electoral District Association Registration

This chapter covers the following topics:

Introduction

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

Definition

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 application must be accompanied by:

Upon receiving the application for registration, Elections Canada will determine whether the application has met the requirements for registration.

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.

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:

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.

Obligations after registration

Establish a fiscal year

The fiscal year of a registered association must be a calendar year. Depending on the date of the 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 six months or more than 18 months.

Examples
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Reporting obligations

Registered associations must meet various reporting obligations. These include:

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.

1.2 Deregistration

Introduction

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.

Voluntary 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.

Involuntary deregistration

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 deregister an association during an election period.

Deregistration for failing to comply with an obligation

Elections Canada may deregister a registered association if it fails to provide:

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 requests the association to:

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 lack of good faith, Elections Canada may:

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:

The financial agent remains responsible for filing the Registered Association Financial Transactions Return within six months after deregistration. Financial returns must be filed for:

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: transfers to affiliated political entities are not expenses.