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Political Financing Handbook for Leadership Contestants and Financial Agents (EC 20195) – February 2016

This document is Elections Canadaís guideline: OGI 2015-06.

Click on the line for the latest Political Financing Handbook for Leadership Contestants and Financial Agents.

Chapter 4 – Reporting Requirements

This chapter covers the following topics:

Introduction

The responsibilities of the leadership contestant and his or her financial agent do not end on contest day of the leadership contest. There are financial reports to be completed and filed with Elections Canada. This chapter outlines what they are, when they need to be filed and the supporting documentation that has to accompany each report.

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. Financial forms are available on the Elections Canada website.

Deadline Who is responsible Mandatory documents Submit to whom
Date of registration Leadership contestant and financial agent General Form Ė Registered Party Leadership Contestant
Leadership Contestant's Registration Return
Elections Canada
3 weeks before contest day Financial agent Leadership Contestant's Interim Campaign Return*
2 days before contest day Financial agent Leadership Contestant's Interim Campaign Return*
5 months after contest day Leadership contestant Signed Leadership Contestant's Statement of Personal Expenses, with all supporting documents Financial agent
6 months after contest day Financial agent Leadership Contestant's Campaign Return, with all supporting documents, including the declaration signed by the leadership contestant and the financial agent
Auditor's Report, if applicable**
Elections Canada
30 days after a claim or loan is paid in full Financial agent Updated Leadership Contestant's Campaign Return Elections Canada
19 months after contest day Financial agent Leadership Contestant's Statement of Unpaid Claims and Loans 18 or 36 Months After the End of the Leadership Contest*** Elections Canada
37 months after contest day Financial agent Leadership Contestant's Statement of Unpaid Claims and Loans 18 or 36 Months After the End of the Leadership Contest*** Elections Canada
* Required if contributions totalling more than $10,000 are accepted or leadership campaign expenses totalling more than $10,000 are incurred (note that transfers to affiliated political entities are not leadership campaign expenses).
** Applies to leadership campaigns that have accepted contributions totalling $5,000 or more, or incurred leadership campaign expenses totalling $5,000 or more (note that transfers to affiliated political entities are not leadership campaign expenses).
*** Required if the campaign has unpaid claims and loans.

Note: The Canada Elections Act does not allow extensions for the submission of the Leadership Contestant's Interim Campaign Return under any circumstances.

4.2 Documents to be filed

Documents to be filed before contest day

General Form – Registered Party Leadership Contestant

The application for registration must be submitted to Elections Canada on the prescribed form.

Leadership Contestantís Registration Return

Along with the application for registration at the beginning of the campaign, a leadership contestant has to submit the Leadership Contestantís Registration Return. The return contains the following information:

Leadership Contestantís Interim Campaign Return

Two interim returns may also have to be submitted:

The interim returns are required if contributions totalling more than $10,000 are accepted or leadership campaign expenses totalling more than $10,000 are incurred (note that transfers to affiliated political entities are not leadership campaign expenses).

Note: If the $10,000 threshold is reached after the first reporting period, only the second interim campaign return must be submitted, but it must cover the whole period from the first day of the contest to the day that is one week before contest day.

The interim returns cover the following information:

Note: If the contest period is less than four weeks, interim returns are required only for those weeks included in the contest period.

Documents to be filed within six months after contest day

The Canada Elections Act requires three documents to be filed within six months after contest day:

The Leadership Contestant's Campaign Return and the Auditor's Report have to be sent to Elections Canada before midnight of the filing deadline.

Leadership Contestantís Campaign Return

The Leadership Contestant's Campaign Return has to be completed and sent to Elections Canada within six months after contest day. The return covers the following:

Along with the Leadership Contestant's Campaign Return, the financial agent has to provide supporting documents:

Note: After the leadership contestantís return has been submitted, Elections Canada may contact the financial agent to request additional supporting documents during the review of the contestantís return.

Leadership Contestantís Statement of Personal Expenses

The leadership contestant is responsible for the Leadership Contestant's Statement of Personal Expenses. The leadership contestant has to complete this statement and submit it to the financial agent within five months after contest day. The financial agent must then submit the statement to Elections Canada within six months after contest day, together with the Leadership Contestant's Campaign Return.

The statement lists the contestant's personal expenses that were reasonably incurred in relation to his or her campaign and have not been reimbursed by the campaign. It must be completed even if the leadership contestant's personal expenses were nil.

Personal expenses paid by the leadership contestant must be reported in the contestant's return. They may be paid by the financial agent or an authorized leadership campaign agent, accepted as a non-monetary contribution from the contestant, or reported as an unpaid claim.

For details about unpaid claims, see Section 3.4, Administering leadership campaign expenses and Section 5.1, Managing unpaid claims and loans.

The contestant's personal expenses include:

For details on the personal expense categories, see Section 3.2, Leadership contestant's personal expenses.

Along with the Leadership Contestant's Statement of Personal Expenses, the leadership contestant must submit proof of payment for all personal expenses, as well as supporting invoices for personal expenses of $50 or more.

Auditorís Report

The Auditor's Report has to be filed with Elections Canada if the leadership contestant received contributions totalling $5,000 or more, or incurred leadership campaign expenses totalling $5,000 or more (note that transfers to affiliated political entities are not leadership campaign expenses). The financial agent is responsible for ensuring that this report is completed and submitted to Elections Canada within six months after contest day.

After the financial agent has completed the leadership contestant's return, the auditor verifies that the information in the return accurately presents the information in the financial records kept by the financial agent during the campaign. The Auditor's Report contains the auditor's opinion as to whether the completed Leadership Contestant's Campaign Return presents this information.

It is very important for the financial agent to give the auditor enough time to properly audit the Leadership Contestant's Campaign Return before the deadline. Therefore it is advised to give the complete leadership contestant's return to the auditor well before the deadline for submission, which is six months after contest day.

Note: The Canada Elections Act does not provide for a subsidy for the auditor's fee.

4.3 Submission to Elections Canada

The leadership contestantís return may be completed and submitted in a number of ways.

Completed how How to submit Where to send documents
Paper forms
  1. Sign the paper copy of the reports.
  2. Send the reports by courier, mail, fax or e -mail (in PDF format) to Elections Canada.
  3. Send the originals of all supporting documentation to Elections Canada by courier or mail.
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
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. Print the pages requiring signatures and send them by courier, mail, fax or e-mail (in PDF format) to Elections Canada.
  4. Send the originals of all supporting documentation to Elections Canada by courier or mail.

Notes:

  • Always keep copies for your records.
  • For details about EFR submissions, please consult the EFR User Guide, available in the EFR software.

With the submission, please remember to give your name, role (financial agent) and political affiliation. 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. The financial agent or the leadership contestant must seek authorization from Elections Canada or a judge to file after the deadline.

It is important to note that the mandatory documents must be submitted by the filing deadline. If only a few invoices or receipts are missing, it is recommended to submit the mandatory documents on time and send the missing documentation later.

If the financial agent or the leadership contestant cannot submit a report by the deadline, the financial agent or the leadership contestant may apply to Elections Canada for authorization to submit the document within an extended period. The request has to be received by Elections Canada within two weeks after the report's deadline.

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

Leadership contestant reports – extension requests
Document to submit Extension from Elections Canada Additional extension from Elections Canada Extension from a judge
Leadership Contestant's Interim Campaign Return No No No
Leadership Contestant's Campaign Return Yes No Yes
Updated Leadership Contestant's Campaign Return after a final payment of a claim or loan within 36 months after contest day Yes No Yes
Leadership Contestant's Statement of Unpaid Claims and Loans 18 or 36 Months After the End of the Leadership Contest Yes No Yes
Updated Leadership Contestant's Campaign Return after payment of a claim or loan later than 36 months after contest day Yes No Yes
Corrected or revised Leadership Contestant's Campaign Return requested by the leadership contestant or the financial agent Yes Yes No
Corrected or revised Leadership Contestant's Campaign 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.

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 or the leadership contestant 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 financial agent or the leadership contestant is unable to file the required documents within the extended period, the leadership contestant or the financial agent may apply to a judge for an extension. Note that court extensions are not available for corrected or revised returns.

For more details on filing an amended return, see Section 5.2, Filing an amended leadership contestant's return.