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Political Financing Handbook for Electoral District Associations and Financial Agents (EC 20089) – December 2023

1. Reference Tables and Timelines

This chapter presents quick reference tools for electoral district associations and financial agents. It covers the following topics:

  • Reporting obligations of an electoral district association
  • Limits on contributions, loans and loan guarantees
  • Transfers–types and rules
  • Important reminders for registered associations, financial agents and electoral district agents

Reporting obligations of an electoral district association

This infographic presents the reporting obligations of electoral district associations in different circumstances.


Application for registration

To apply for registration, an association must appoint a financial agent and an auditor, and then submit the Application to Register an Electoral District Association, including the party leader's declaration certifying that it is an association of the party.


Updates to registry information

Within 30 days after a change to the information or a new appointment, a registered association must submit the Registered Association's Changes to Registry Information.


Annual reports

No later than May 31 each year, a registered association must submit:

  • Registered Association's Financial Transactions Return and, if required, an auditor's report*
  • Registered Associationís Annual Confirmation of Registry Information
  • Contributions to a Registered Party or to a Registered Association–Information Return to the Canada Revenue Agency

Statement of assets and liabilities

Within six months after it is registered, an association must submit the Registered Association's Statement of Assets and Liabilities.


Nomination contest report

If a registered association holds a nomination contest, it must submit the Nomination Contest Report within 30 days after the contest.


Reports after deregistration**

Within six months after being deregistered, an association must submit the Registered Association's Financial Transactions Return and, if required, an auditor's report. A report must be submitted for:

  • the current fiscal period up to the date of deregistration, and
  • any previous fiscal period for which a financial return is outstanding.

*An auditor's report is required if the registered association accepted contributions totalling $10,000 or more, or incurred expenses totalling $10,000 or more, in a fiscal period. Note that audit fees and transfers that the association sends to affiliated political entities do not count toward the $10,000 threshold.

**The financial agent is responsible for submitting financial returns. If they resign but are not replaced, they are still responsible for submitting returns that were due before they resigned.

Limits on contributions, loans and loan guarantees

Limits on contributions, loans and loan guarantees
Political entity 2024 annual limit Limit per election called between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2024
To each registered party $1,725* n/a
In total to all the registered associations, nomination contestants and candidates of each registered party $1,725* n/a
In total to all leadership contestants in a particular contest $1,725* n/a
To each independent candidate n/a $1,725*

Notes

  • Only individuals who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents can make contributions.
  • The contribution limits apply to total contributions, the unpaid balance of loans made during the contribution period, and the amount of any loan guarantees made during the contribution period that an individual is still liable for. The sum of these three amounts cannot exceed the contribution limit at any time during the relevant contribution period.
  • A nomination contestant is permitted to give an additional $1,000 in total per contest in contributions, loans and loan guarantees to their own campaign.
  • A candidate is permitted to give a total of $5,000 in contributions, loans and loan guarantees to their campaign. A candidate is also permitted to give an additional $1,725* in total per year in contributions, loans and loan guarantees to other candidates, registered associations and nomination contestants of each party. (This includes contributions to the registered association in the candidateís electoral district and contributions to the candidateís own nomination campaign.)
  • A leadership contestant is permitted to give a total of $25,000 in contributions, loans and loan guarantees to their campaign. A leadership contestant is also permitted to give an additional $1,725* in total per year in contributions, loans and loan guarantees to other leadership contestants.

*The limits increase by $25 on January 1 in each subsequent year.

Transfers–types and rules

This table shows the allowable monetary and non-monetary transfers between related registered political entities.

TO
FROM Nomination Contestant Leadership Contestant Candidate Registered Electoral District Association Registered Party
Monetary Non- monetary Monetary Non- monetary Monetary Non- monetary Monetary Non- monetary Monetary Non- monetary
Nomination Contestant No No No No YesNote 1 No YesNote 2 No Yes No
Leadership Contestant No No No No No No Yes No Yes No
Candidate YesNote 3 YesNote 3 No No NoNote 4 NoNote 4 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Registered Electoral District Association No YesNote 5 No YesNote 5 YesNote 6 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Registered Party No YesNote 5 NoNote 7 YesNote 5 YesNote 6 Yes YesNote 8 YesNote 8 n/a n/a

Note 1 A nomination contestant may transfer funds (but not property or services) to a candidate of the same party in the electoral district in which the nomination contest was held. After election day, monetary transfers are allowed only to pay claims and loans related to the candidate's campaign.

Note 2 A nomination contestant can only transfer funds to the registered electoral district association that held the nomination contest.

Note 3 Candidates may transfer property, services and funds to their own nomination contestant campaign for the same election.

Note 4 Candidates in a superseded by-election may transfer property, services and funds to their campaign for the general election.

Note 5 Non-monetary transfers must be offered equally to all contestants.

Note 6 Monetary transfers other than trust funds are allowed. After election day, monetary transfers are allowed only to pay claims and loans related to the candidate's campaign.

Note 7 Directed contributions are the only exception: they may be transferred to the leadership contestant.

Note 8 Registered parties may transfer property, services and funds to electoral district associations, whether registered or not.

Note: Independent candidates may not send or accept transfers of funds, property or services to or from other political entities.

Important reminders for registered associations, financial agents and electoral district agents

This infographic presents some of the basic rules for registered associations.

Roles Within Your Association

  • Some roles can only be filled by certain people or groups. Check the eligibility rules in Chapter 2 before appointing or replacing your agents or auditor.
  • Replace the financial agent or auditor without delay if they can't continue in their role.
  • Report appointments and changes to your information in Elections Canada's registry within 30 days.
  • Only the financial agent and authorized electoral district agents can accept contributions, incur expenses and pay expenses.
  • Only the financial agent can send or accept transfers.


Contributions and Other Resources

  • Don't accept contributions:
    • from any source other than a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
    • over an individual's contribution limit
    • in cash over $20
  • Issue receipts for contributions over $20.
  • Different sources can give different amounts of loans and loan guarantees. Check the rules in Chapter 4 before accepting loans or guarantees.
  • Issue tax receipts only if your party leader has authorized it and only for monetary contributions.

Working with Your Affiliated Entities

  • Get authorization from your party or its candidates' official agents before incurring expenses on their behalf. You can't incur election expenses on your own.
  • Keep your finances separate and traceable. Record transfers or charge for property or services that you send to an affiliated entity.
  • Don't transfer funds to a candidate after election day unless they are using it to pay campaign debts.
  • Don't transfer funds to a nomination contestant or leadership contestant. Only transfer property or services if they are offered equally to all contestants in the contest.
  • Check the partisan advertising rules in Chapter 8 in the year of a fixed-date general election. Your advertising may impact your party.

Record Keeping

  • For any expense under $50, keep proof of payment plus a record of the nature of the expense.
  • For any expense of $50 and over, keep a copy of the invoice (or other document evidencing the expense) and proof of payment.

Reporting

  • Your association has to submit reports:
    • 6 months after registration
    • every year on May 31
    • 30 days after it holds a nomination contest
    • 6 months after deregistration
  • Make sure the current financial agent signs your financial return (by hand or digitally through the Political Entities Service Centre) and is listed in Elections Canada's registry.
  • Check Chapter 10 for details on reporting.