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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 4 – Reporting Requirements

This chapter covers the following topics:

Introduction

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
  • Statement of Registered Association Assets and Liabilities as of the day before registration
Elections Canada
30 days after a change of registry information Financial agent or chief executive officer
  • Report change of contact information and new appointments
Elections Canada
May 31 Financial agent
  • Contributions to a Registered Party or to a Registered Association – Information Return
CRA
May 31* Chief executive officer
  • Annual Statement of Registry Information and/or General Form – Electoral District Association
Elections Canada
May 31 Financial agent
  • Registered Association Financial Transactions Return
  • Auditor's report**
Elections Canada
30 days after nomination contest held by the association Association's representative
  • Nomination Contest Report
Elections Canada

* 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: 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. The report must be submitted by the financial agent. The deadline for this report is the same as for the association's annual financial return, which is May 31st.

Please follow the link on the Elections Canada website (under Political Participants>Tools for Electoral District Associations>Financial Forms) to access the required CRA form.

Registry Information Update

A registry information update is mandatory and informs Elections Canada if the registered association's information maintained in the registry is unchanged or if 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 31st each year. If the date falls within an election period, the deadline is July 31st.

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:

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:

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.

Auditor's report

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 31st.

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:

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
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 by courier, mail, fax or e-mail (in PDF format) to Elections Canada.
EFR
  1. EFR creates a submission file of the return.
  2. Send the submission file as an attachment in an e-mail 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

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.

Registered association reports – extension requests
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.

Court extension

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.