Review of an Administrative Monetary Penalty by the Chief Electoral Officer
- New Administrative Monetary Penalty Regime
- Right to Request a Review
- How to Request a Review
- Review Process
- Rules for Service of a Decision of the Chief Electoral Officer
- Judicial Review
New Administrative Monetary Penalty Regime
With the enactment of Bill C-76 (the Elections Modernization Act), an additional compliance and enforcement tool was created in the Canada Elections Act (the Act). The new administrative monetary penalty (AMP) regime is administered by the Commissioner of Canada Elections (the Commissioner) and gives him the power to issue notices of violations, which can include a monetary penalty, to persons or entities who are found to be in contravention of certain sections of the Act. The role of the Chief Electoral Officer is limited to the review of some AMPs imposed by the Commissioner.
Section 508.1 of the Act provides that any person or entity that:
- contravenes section 281.3, 281.4 or 281.5 (illegal voting) or a provision of any of Parts 16 (communications), 17 (third parties) and 18 (political financing) of the Act, or
- fails to comply with a requirement of the Chief Electoral Officer under any of Parts 16, 17 and 18 of the Act, with a provision of a compliance agreement or with a provision of an undertaking that has been accepted by the Commissioner,
commits a violation and is liable to pay an AMP.
For more information on the new AMP regime administered by the Commissioner, please consult the Penalties (AMP) page on the Commissioner's website.
Right to Request a Review
If you have received a notice of violation from the Commissioner and you disagree with the content of the notice, you may request a review of the amount of the penalty, the facts of the violation, or both.
You can request a review:
- by the Commissioner, if the amount of the penalty is $500 or less for a notice of violation issued to an individual, or $1,500 or less for one issued to a corporation or an entity; or
- by the Chief Electoral Officer, if the amount of the penalty is more than $500 in the case of a notice of violation issued to an individual, or more than $1,500, in the case of a notice of violation issued to a corporation or an entity.
When a review is requested, the Chief Electoral Officer or the Commissioner, as the case may be, must do one or more of the following:
- determine, on a balance of probabilities, whether the person or entity committed the violation;
- confirm or reduce the amount of the AMP; or
- determine that there should be no AMP in respect of the violation.
How to Request a Review
You must request a review within 30 days after the day on which you were served with the notice of violation or, if you provided an undertaking to the Commissioner, within 30 days after the day on which you were served with a notice informing you that your undertaking has not been accepted. The date of service will be indicated on the notice issued by the Commissioner.
The request must be made in the manner specified in the notice of violation. All requests for review must be submitted to the AMP Secretariat, located within the office of the Commissioner, which will triage the requests. If the review is to be conducted by the Chief Electoral Officer, the Secretariat will transfer the request to the Chief Electoral Officer once all necessary documents have been received.
If you wish to request a review of a notice of violation issued by the Commissioner, please fill out the Form to Request a Review, available on the Commissioner's website.
The review process will be conducted in writing, as the Chief Electoral Officer and the Commissioner are only authorized by the Canada Elections Act to consider written evidence and written submissions when deciding on a review application.
After your request for a review has been received, the AMP Secretariat will contact you and provide you with the applicable timelines and instructions on how to prepare and communicate the written evidence and submissions in support of your request. In addition, a copy of the documents on which the decision maker based their decision will be provided to you.
The Chief Electoral Officer will review all submissions before deciding on the application. Determinations regarding whether or not the person committed the violation must be made on a balance of probabilities. This legal standard of proof means that the violation is more likely than not to have occurred (the probabilities are higher than 50%). The Chief Electoral Officer may also review the amount of the administrative monetary penalty to determine whether it should be maintained or reduced, or whether there should be no penalty in respect of the violation.Once the Chief Electoral Officer has reached a decision, it will be communicated to you in writing.
Rules for Service of a Decision of the Chief Electoral Officer
After concluding the review, the Chief Electoral Officer must provide a copy of the decision by serving the decision on the person or entity that requested the review, in the manner set out below. The Chief Electoral Officer must also provide a copy of the decision to the Commissioner.
Section 521.21 of the Canada Elections Act provides that the Chief Electoral Officer must determine the manner of service of the review decision and publish the information on the process on the Chief Electoral Officer's website. For the purposes of section 521.21 of the Act, the Chief Electoral Officer has determined that service of a copy of a decision will be made to the applicant in one of the following manners:
- by registered mail or courier to the address provided by the applicant; or
- electronically to the email address provided by the applicant.
Whether service is made by mail or email is at the discretion of the applicant. On the Form to Request a Review, the applicant is required to indicate their preference for how documents are to be delivered.
The Canada Elections Act does not provide for a right to appeal a decision of the Chief Electoral Officer or of the Commissioner of Canada Elections on a request for review of a notice of violation.
If you disagree with the review decision, you may challenge the decision through an application for judicial review under the Federal Courts Act.