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An Electoral Framework for the 21st Century: Recommendations from the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Following the 42nd General Election

Chapter 2—Improving the Political Finance Regulatory Regime

Overview

The regulatory regime governing political financing and advertising by political entities and third parties is a different sort of administrative regime than the one governing the voting process and serves a number of distinct objectives.

First, the Act aims to make the financial transactions of those seeking political office transparent. Participants must report on their financial transactions, and those reports are published by Elections Canada. This transparency reduces the likelihood of malfeasance by allowing public scrutiny of the financial transactions of competitors for public office.

Second, the Act seeks to level the playing field among various competitors for public office. This is achieved primarily through spending limits on parties, candidates and nomination contestants, and by controlling some spending of third parties. The Act also contains provisions to allocate broadcasting time among parties and ensure the media's equal treatment of participants in this regard.

In recent years, Parliament has added contribution limits to the Act to further limit the influence of money in the system and to level the playing field between those who may have well-resourced supporters and those who may not. By eliminating the possibility of large donations, the contribution limits also work to control the perception of and actual undue influence.

Third, the Act aims to reduce barriers to participation through public subsidies. Subsidies are available in different forms: a tax credit for certain contributions; a direct reimbursement of certain expenses for some parties and candidates; and a subsidy for auditors who perform mandatory audits of campaign returns and the annual returns of registered EDAs. The Act also provides for an allocation of free broadcasting time to registered parties during the election period.

This chapter discusses ways to improve the link between the political finance regulatory regime and the goals of the Act. The first section outlines how to better ensure compliance with the regime. If the tools available to ensure compliance are ineffective, then the goals of the regime cannot be achieved. The Act at present focuses on criminal sanctions to promote compliance. However, as has been increasingly recognized in other federal statutes, criminal sanctions are less effective than administrative tools in achieving the goals of a complex administrative scheme. For this reason, a regime of administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) is proposed for the political finance regulatory regime. The second section of this chapter proposes changes to other elements of the Act where the current law is not fully achieving its goals because of technological or other changes that have occurred since the provisions were first put in place.

2.1 Modernizing Compliance

Administrative monetary penalties

Over the last decade, the complexity and scope of the political finance regulatory regime have grown considerably. Despite this, the Act includes very few administrative compliance mechanisms, as would normally be expected in a regulatory context. Instead, enforcement of the Act is based almost entirely on a traditional, and costly, criminal approach: prosecution, or its possibility, remains the principal enforcement tool. In many cases of non-compliant activity, however, neither the degree of harm caused to the electoral process nor the nature of the wrongdoing merit the stigma of prosecution in criminal courts. As an example, filing a return only a few days after its due date constitutes an offence under the Act. While late filing harms the goal of transparency, the solution to such non-compliance is not a criminal prosecution.

The length of time involved in the criminal prosecution of a matter must also be taken into account. The process is necessarily lengthy because a full investigation needs to be conducted by the Commissioner after the completion of the internal Elections Canada audit process—a process that already takes several months to complete after an electoral event. Only once the Commissioner has conducted his own investigation and concluded on the basis of the evidence that there are reasonable grounds to believe an offence has occurred and that sufficient admissible proof exists can he recommend to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that charges be laid.

The DPP will also take the time needed to review the evidence and assess whether proceeding with a prosecution is in the public interest. By the time a charge is laid, it may be several years since the event in question, yet the court process is only beginning. Such a lengthy period can lead to a perception of justice delayed and also fosters a sense of unfairness among electoral participants, who may feel that they are in limbo as the process unfolds. Moreover, the deterrent effect for other participants in the electoral process may be diminished by the passage of time.

Currently, the only alternative to prosecution under the Act is a compliance agreement negotiated with the Commissioner. This mechanism, however, is only available to the Commissioner as an alternative to prosecution after he has concluded that reasonable grounds exist to believe an offence has been committed. It is therefore not an administrative sanction in the typical sense, existing outside the criminal court process.

AMPs, by contrast, are legislated regimes in which the failure to comply with a prescribed prohibition or requirement is established by an administrative, rather than judicial, process. In AMPs regimes, an official of the regulatory body is authorized to determine that a person or entity has contravened the law and to order the payment of a monetary penalty as a consequence. No resort to a court is required before an AMP can be ordered, although judicial review may take place after the fact.

The purpose of AMPs is to promote compliance with a regulatory regime by creating an incentive to comply—to avoid incurring a monetary penalty. The use of AMPs is a more efficient, immediate and, in many cases, effective tool to achieve compliance than the possibility of a future prosecution. It is also less stigmatizing and punitive than a prosecution in criminal courts, as individuals or entities subject to an AMP will not face the possibility of a criminal record or imprisonment. AMPs, therefore, help to provide a broader range of appropriate enforcement responses to unlawful conduct.

AMPs already exist in a wide variety of Canadian statutes and regulations. They were introduced in 1995 in the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act, S.C. 1995, c. 40, and are now used in many federal regulatory regimes. Notable examples include the Telecommunications Act, S.C. 1993, c. 38 (re: the CRTC), the Conflict of Interest Act, S.C. 2006, c. 9 (re: the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner) and the Consumer Products Safety Act, S.C. 2010, c. 21. Also, in 2012, an AMPs regime was added to Alberta's Election Act.

It is time to include AMPs in the Act. [Recommendation A28] Their inclusion is recommended for Parts 16, 17 and 18,Footnote 4 which address political financing and communications. These Parts of the Act correspond most to a traditional regulatory regime, with obligations being imposed on actors who choose to enter into a regulated area. In many cases, the ability to enforce these obligations is not particularly well served by a criminal enforcement regime, for the reasons set out above.

Adding AMPs to the political finance regulatory regime would provide an alternative, timely and effective administrative tool to deter non-compliance and assist in efficient regulation. It is a recommendation that is supported by the Commissioner. In the future, AMPs could also be added to other parts of the Act, but it seems sensible to introduce them first in the area where there is the most obvious rationale and they are likely to have the greatest impact.

To implement AMPs, the Chief Electoral Officer would need to develop a set of criteria for determining when to issue an AMP, as opposed to referring a matter to the Commissioner for investigation. The Chief Electoral Officer would also need to identify a set of criteria for determining the amount of the AMP to be imposed, up to a maximum set out in the Act (e.g. $5,000).Footnote 5 These criteria could be issued, after appropriate consultation with the members of the Advisory Committee of Political Parties and the Commissioner, as guidelines on the application of the Act to political entities pursuant to section 16.1.

It is proposed that the following process be set out in the Act to be applied in cases where an AMP is selected as the appropriate compliance mechanism. The components listed in this process are those typically found in existing federal AMPs regimes, with variations.

  1. A notice of violation would be issued to an identified individual or entity by a designated Elections Canada official, when reasonable grounds exist to believe that the individual or entity has contravened the Act.

  2. The notice of violation would name the individual or entity believed to have committed the violation, identify the relevant legislative provision, identify the non-compliant conduct with the supporting information and indicate the amount of the monetary penalty imposed.

  3. Within a prescribed time period, the individual or entity served with the notice could pay the penalty, thus bringing the matter to an end, or make written representations challenging the finding of a violation and/or the imposition of the penalty amount to a different, more senior official within Elections Canada, designated as the review officer.

  4. The review officer would review the proposed decision to impose the AMP, taking into consideration any new information provided within 30 days by the individual or entity involved, and would decide whether to confirm the imposition of the proposed AMP or instead to impose a different (or no) penalty.

  5. If no review is requested, or following the review process, once a final AMP is imposed, the imposition of the AMP and the reason for it would be made public, including identification of the individual or entity involved. This is consistent with Parliament's objective to maintain public confidence in the integrity of the political finance regulatory regime.

  6. The Act should also set out that an unpaid AMP is a debt to the Crown, recoverable according to established practices. This is a common feature in existing AMPs schemes.

  7. Finally, the imposition of an AMP would not be subject to appeal but would, like other discretionary decisions by federal entities, be subject to judicial review in the Federal Court according to the terms of the Federal Courts Act.

An AMPs system for Parts 16, 17 and 18 of the Act could be administered by Elections Canada as a complement to the audit function. It would not be necessary to create any new political financing obligations or prohibitions in the Act to provide for AMPs. Instead, contravention of specified existing requirements or prohibitions in Parts 16, 17 and 18 could be designated as violations, which could trigger the authority to apply an AMP in appropriate circumstances, as an alternative to the possibility of prosecution in criminal courts. Sections 495 to 497.5 of the Act currently list which contraventions of provisions in these Parts constitute offences. A similar list of contraventions could be developed that, if proven according to a civil standard, constitute violations leading to the imposition of an AMP.Footnote 6

Electoral district associations

In 2004, EDAs were brought into the political finance regulatory regime of the Act, closing what had been referred to as a "black hole" in transparency. However, while transparency has improved, some EDAs still do not submit their reports. This is especially true of EDAs that have been deregistered. These EDAs are required to file any outstanding financial returns, but they do not always do so.Footnote 7 And, in some cases, despite not having filed a return, the same, or a very similar, group will apply to be registered as a new EDA shortly after being deregistered.

In 2010, Elections Canada recommended that EDAs that fail to file the required returns be prevented from re-registering for four years. The House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs agreed with a two-year ban, but no change was included in amendments made to the Act in 2014. This report suggests a more calibrated approach. EDAs that do not file their required returns should lose the right to issue tax receipts for contributions, either until the filing is made (in the case of EDAs that remain registered) or for four years (in the case of deregistered EDAs, applicable to their successor). In addition, a new EDA should not be able to register with assets from unknown sources; at registration, an EDA should be required to report the source of all contributions or transfers to its bank account. [Recommendation A29]

Auditors and official agents

The roles of the official agent and auditor of a candidate would also benefit from amendments. The official agent is responsible for conducting and reporting on all of the candidate's financial transactions. Capable official agents ensure that the requirements of the law are met and produce timely returns that ensure transparency. The auditor appointed by the candidate audits the return prepared by the official agent and provides a level of scrutiny to the financial documents produced by the official agent.

The Act has evolved a great deal since the roles of official agent and auditor were first established. The job of the official agent has become much more complicated and includes a great deal of responsibility. Timely filing of candidate returns is dependent upon the official agent's work, and compliance with the law by the campaign is in large part dependent upon the official agent's knowledge of the requirements and ability to keep the other members of the campaign team informed.

Increasingly, and by contrast, the role of the external auditor has become less important. Elections Canada conducts its own review of submitted returns to ensure transparency and eligibility for public subsidies and, in many cases, a large number of changes must still be made to returns in order to comply with the Act, even after review by an external auditor. This is largely because the role of the external auditor is to look at a narrow aspect of the return—a financial audit—as opposed to conducting an audit of the compliance of the return with the law, which is performed by Elections Canada.

It is also noteworthy that in a high percentage of the returns that are filed late, the delay is because the auditor had trouble finding time to conduct the review. This is especially true when the returns are due during tax season, as they were after the most recent election.

Because of the diminishing importance of the auditor in achieving compliance and transparency, Elections Canada is recommending again, as in 2010, that the obligation for candidates to obtain an auditor's report on their returns be limited to those candidates who incur expenses or receive contributions of $10,000 or more. This is currently the case for nomination contestants. Table 1 provides information as to how many campaigns would have required auditors in the last election if this threshold had been applied.

Alongside the adoption of this threshold, an amendment is also recommended to increase the subsidy for a candidate's auditor, which has not been adjusted for inflation since 2003. [Recommendation A30]

Table 1—Candidates in the 42nd General Election—Effect of $5,000 and $10,000 Thresholds on Number of External Audits Required
  No threshold
(current law)
$5,000
threshold
$10,000
threshold
Qualified for reimbursement 984 984 984
Did not qualify for reimbursement but required audit 816 218 127
Total audits required 1,800 1,202 1,111
Total audits no longer required 598 689

Audit required if contributions or electoral campaign expenses less transfers out exceed the applicable threshold.

Data as of July 13, 2016: subject to change.

Finally, given the key role of the official agent, it is recommended that a public subsidy (such as is available to auditors) also be provided to official agents. The payment of the subsidy would be contingent upon timely filing of the return and the completion of certain training as directed by the Chief Electoral Officer. The amount of the subsidy could also depend on the volume of transactions contained in the return. The following table provides an estimate of the costs associated with this recommendation. [Recommendation A31]

Table 2—Estimated Costs of Proposed Official Agent Subsidy at Different Levels of Compliance
Compliance rates Total estimated cost of subsidy
100% of candidates $1,633,929
90% of candidates $1,470,536
80% of candidates $1,307,143
70% of candidates $1,143,750
60% of candidates $980,357
50% of candidates $816,964

Subsidy at 3% of campaign expenses to a maximum of $3,000.

Based on candidate returns from 41st general election (36 days).

Federal Court

Another recommendation regarding compliance pertains to judicial procedures that relate to requests for extensions and corrections by regulated entities. At present, the Act requires these procedures to take place in provincial superior courts. This may result in inconsistent jurisprudence among provinces in matters under the Act and limits the development of judicial expertise in the subject matter.

To address these issues, it is recommended that Parliament consider transferring the adjudication of the application of political financing provisions to the Federal Court, including applications for an extension of filing deadlines for financial returns and for authorizations to correct documents related to financial reporting obligations. [Recommendation A32] The Court's role in this respect would be complemented by its statutory responsibility to hear judicial review applications of decisions made by the Chief Electoral Officer in an AMPs regime, were that recommendation also to be adopted.

Commissioner of Canada Elections

The introduction of AMPs would allow the Commissioner to focus investigations on the most serious political financing offenders, alongside the investigation and enforcement of all other electoral offences.

Certain other amendments to the Act are required for the Commissioner to do his job more effectively. Previously, both the Commissioner and the Chief Electoral Officer recommended that the Commissioner be given the power to apply to a court for an order to compel testimony in his investigation of election offences, with appropriate safeguards to ensure compliance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including protection against self-incrimination, a statutory recognition of the right to counsel and a requirement for the examination to be conducted in private. This requirement remains as pressing today for the effective investigation of offences as it was when originally proposed. [Recommendation A33]

The Commissioner has also requested that he be granted the power to lay a charge on his own initiative, as is the case for the police and almost all federal regulatory investigators, instead of having to first obtain authorization from the DPP to do so. For the vast majority of federal offences, the investigator is the one to lay the charge and the DPP is the one to prosecute. The Commissioner has recommended the same process be followed for election offences, and the DPP has no objection to the adoption of this model under the Act. The Chief Electoral Officer also supports it. [Recommendation A34]

Finally, the Commissioner has requested that the Act's provisions on compliance agreements be reviewed to make them more useful as a means of dealing with offenders. Specifically, the Commissioner would like the authority to negotiate broader terms and sanctions with a contracting party. [Recommendation A35]

2.2 Other Amendments to Better Accomplish the Goals of the Regulatory Regime

This part proposes several additional amendments designed to better accomplish the goals of the political finance regulatory regime set out above, which include promoting transparency, ensuring a level playing field and reducing barriers to participation. In each of the specific instances identified below, Elections Canada's experience in administering the Act has revealed that the current provisions fall short of achieving the goals of the legislation.

Definition of leadership and nomination campaign expenses

A key area where the overall goals of the political finance regulatory regime are not well served is with respect to the regulation of leadership and nomination contests. The difficulties stem from the definition of "leadership campaign expenses" and "nomination campaign expenses." These definitions contain drafting deficiencies that have major impacts on the coherence of the regime. The problems are set out in detail in Elections Canada's Interpretation Note 2014-01, Definition of Leadership Campaign Expenses and Nomination Campaign Expenses from August 2015. In short, the particular drafting of these definitions impedes the coherent regulation of leadership and nomination campaigns both in terms of expenses and contributions.

Under the Act, only leadership and nomination campaign expenses incurred during the contest period are regulated. This is different from candidate campaigns, where two types of expenses are regulated: those for goods and services that are used during the campaign to promote the candidate and, more broadly, all of those incurred as an incidence of the campaign. In either case, it does not matter when the expense was incurred. The candidate regime works well. The leadership and nomination regimes do not, and they contain anomalies. The most significant of these is that any money given or loans obtained specifically to pay for unregulated contest expenses (i.e. those incurred outside the contest period, even if used during it) will not be reported and are not subject to the controls on contributions that apply everywhere else in the Act.

Because it allows many relevant expenses and contributions never to be reported, the current political finance regulatory regime applicable to nomination and leadership contestants fails to achieve the Act's goal of transparency. It does not restrict the role of money through limits on who may make contributions and in what amount because contributors can easily give contestants any amount without limit or restriction. Finally, the provisions limiting nomination contest spending are ineffective in controlling costs either in total or during a specific time period.

The definitions of leadership and nomination campaign expenses should be amended to mirror the candidate electoral campaign expense definition found in the Act. This will allow all expenses incurred as an incidence of the contest to be regulated in the same way that all expenses incurred as an incidence of an election campaign are regulated. Consequently, all contributions to a leadership or nomination campaign will also be reported and subject to the limits in the Act. [Recommendation A36]

Greater flexibility for certain categories of candidate expenses

For candidates, the fact that a particular expense is or is not considered an electoral campaign expense as defined in the Act carries a number of important consequences. If it is a campaign expense, then it must be reported as such (either as an election expense subject to the limit, as a personal expense, or as an other electoral campaign expense). It also means that it must be paid out of regulated contributions, loans or transfers.Footnote 8 The reverse is also true: if a particular expense is not an electoral campaign expense (e.g. a personal trip), then it is not regulated as an expense and may not lawfully be paid using regulated campaign funds.Footnote 9

Table 3—Types of Electoral Campaign Expense
Type of electoral campaign expense Period when incurred or used Regulated funds must be used and expenses reported Subject to the expenses limit Eligible for reimbursement
Election expenses
E.g. Renting a campaign office, election advertising
Incurred as an incidence of the election and used during election period to promote or oppose a candidate Yes Yes Yes
Personal expenses
E.g. Travel and living, childcare, expenses related to a disability
Incurred as an incidence of the election Yes No Yes
Other electoral campaign expenses
E.g. Pre-writ advertising
Incurred as an incidence of the election Yes No No

This all-or-nothing proposition is important for the coherence and integrity of the regime for candidates. However, in some cases, its consequences appear to go too far.

For example, the Act provides that expenses related to a candidate's disability are personal expenses. This is also true of childcare expenses and other expenses for the care of dependants with a disability. In all cases, this allows a candidate to use campaign funds and, more importantly, to seek partial reimbursement of those care expenses. However, classifying these costs as personal expenses requires that they be paid out of regulated funds. A candidate must in theory report all of these expenses, even if they are incurred well in advance of the issue of the writ, and cannot pay for them using his or her own money (except through statutorily limited contributions to the campaign). In effect, this could restrict the capacity of a person with such expenses to be a candidate because he or she is limited, by the Act, in the ability to pay for these expenses.

This is not the intention of the Act. A candidate's own disability expenses along with expenses related to childcare or the care of someone with a disability are classified as personal expenses, which means they are not subject to the spending limit but are eligible for reimbursement up to a certain limit. This is meant to create a benefit for candidates, but the goal was frustrated unintentionally by the contribution limits added to the Act for other reasons in 2004 and 2006.

It is not a solution to exempt such expenses from the Act. To do so would mean that a person would be prohibited from using contributions to their campaign to pay for such expenses, and such expenses would not be eligible for reimbursement. This also is not the intent of Parliament.

To ensure that costs related to care expenses are not a barrier to candidacy, it should be made clear that for disability or childcare expenses that would otherwise constitute electoral campaign expenses, candidates (and contestants) should have the option to pay or not pay such expenses using regulated funds. If the campaign chooses to use regulated funds, the expenses must be reported and should be eligible for reimbursement. If a candidate (or contestant) prefers to use his or her own funds to cover such costs, then the costs would neither be reported nor reimbursed.

A similar issue arises with respect to legal fees that are incurred as a result of a dispute or a judicial application under the Act. Such procedures include judicial recounts, contested elections and applications for an extension to file a return. Legal fees associated with any of these procedures constitute electoral campaign expenses, as they are incurred as an incidence of the election. However, as with the expenses discussed above, the interaction with contribution limits creates problematic results. Candidates would need to raise funds in accordance with contribution rules in order to be able to access their right to legal counsel to protect their rights under the Act, and in some cases this may not be appropriate. Legal fees should also be specifically exempted from the mandatory application of the electoral campaign expenses regime. Candidates and contestants should be free to incur legal fees subject to the regulatory regime, or outside of it. [Recommendation A37]

Accommodating electors with disabilities

A concern regularly raised with Elections Canada by its Advisory Group for Disability Issues is that political parties and individual candidate campaigns do not accommodate people with disabilities as a matter of regular practice. This makes it difficult for electors with disabilities to participate in the political process or, in some cases, even obtain sufficient information to be able to cast an informed vote. Specific examples include video products without captioning, paper and electronic products in inaccessible formats, and a lack of sign language interpretation at events.

Creating incentives under the Act would give political entities a needed push in this regard. Amendments to the Act to provide for a higher level of reimbursement for election expenses relating to the accommodation of electors with disabilities (90 percent rather than 50 or 60 percent) would at least encourage those candidates and parties eligible for reimbursement to incur such expenses. Depending on the success of this initiative, further incentives for all parties and candidates could be considered at a later date. [Recommendation A38]

Broadcasting

A final recommendation in this part of the report relates to the regulation of broadcasting during a general election. As with the voting regime, technological and societal changes have affected the regulation of political entities. This is particularly true with respect to political advertising.

Television and radio remain important tools for parties to get their messages out in an election campaign, despite changes in recent years in communication technologies and strategies. The broadcasting allocation created in Part 16 is a recognition of the continuing importance of these media, and was put in place to give the electorate adequate access to the views of all political parties and level the electoral playing field. However, several aspects of the regime create unfairness.

In his 2005 recommendations report, the previous Chief Electoral Officer summarized his concerns on this subject as follows:

The existing legislative system that regulates the apportioning of free and paid broadcasting time is overly complex and must be reformed.

Furthermore, the viability of the existing free-time system has been significantly undermined by the fact that there is now only one English-language television network, the CBC, required to provide free political broadcasting time. The loss of network status by CTV in 2004 had the effect of halving the free-time English-language television broadcasting available to parties in the 38th general election. [Two French networks, TVA and Radio Canada, continue to be bound by the regime.]

Finally, the current process of apportionment is strongly driven by past electoral success and raises concerns about potential infringement of the principles laid down by the Supreme Court of Canada in its decision in Figueroa v. Canada (Attorney General).Footnote 10

These three concerns about the broadcasting regime during a general election–that it is unnecessarily complex, that it imposes an obligation to provide free broadcasting time only on a few broadcasters, and that it favours parties that have been most successful in the past–continue to exist today. The Broadcasting Arbitrator has employed his statutory authority to modify the statutory broadcasting allocation to allow for a somewhat fairer allocation of broadcasting time among parties. However, with the multiplication of political parties in recent years, these modifications by the Broadcasting Arbitrator are no longer sufficient to achieve the objective of a level playing field.

Broadcasting is a complex legal area with various players involved, notably the Broadcasting Arbitrator, the CRTC and a wide variety of private and public broadcasters. In 2005, when responding to the report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, which had supported the Chief Electoral Officer's recommendation on broadcasting, the government agreed in principle with these recommendations, but suggested that extensive consultation would be required with political parties and the broadcasting industry to develop an appropriate regime.

In an effort to advance the consultation process, the Chief Electoral Officer contacted the CRTC in early 2016. The CRTC suggested that the Chief Electoral Officer consult the industry directly, so he accordingly wrote to both CBC/Radio-Canada and the Canadian Association of Broadcasters for their views on the previous recommendations; these views were then shared with the Broadcasting Arbitrator. Having considered the input of those consulted, the Chief Electoral Officer and the Broadcasting Arbitrator continue largely to support their original recommendations. [Recommendation A39]


Footnote 4 Part 16.1 of the Act, which addresses voter contact calling and is administered by the CRTC, should be exempt from the new AMPs regime. These provisions are already covered by AMPs under the Telecommunications Act.

Footnote 5 In line with other legislative schemes, certain factors could be taken into account, such as the compliance history of the persons involved; the advantage they obtained from the non-compliance; their level of familiarity with the electoral process; whether they made reasonable efforts to mitigate or reverse the effects of the violation; whether they provided all reasonable assistance to Elections Canada with respect to the violation, including voluntarily reporting it and providing all relevant documentation; whether they have taken steps to avoid a recurrence of the violation in the future; and the level of negligence they demonstrated.

Footnote 6 Whether or not the contravention had occurred would be decided on a balance of probabilities. A defence of due diligence would be provided, so that persons who exercise all due care to avoid violating the Act would not be liable. In addition, other common law excuses and justifications would apply.

Footnote 7 From 2010 to 2014, 411 EDAs were deregistered for various reasons. In 120 cases, the returns were filed after the six-month deadline and, in 40 cases, no return was filed.

Footnote 8 The payment of any electoral campaign expense using funds other than those in the campaign account amounts to the making of a non-monetary contribution by the entity paying the expense and is subject to the statutory restrictions on contributions.

Footnote 9 If campaign funds are used to pay for activities unrelated to the campaign, the disbursements will not be considered in the calculation of the surplus at the end of the campaign and any missing amount will have to be remitted to the campaign in order to allow the campaign to comply with the rules governing disposal of the surplus.

Footnote 10 Completing the Cycle of Electoral Reforms: Recommendations from the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada on the 38th General Election (Elections Canada, 2005), p. 75.