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Political Financing Handbook for Nomination Contestants and Financial Agents (EC 20182) – December 2018

Note: This handbook is to be used for contests starting on or after December 21, 2018. For earlier contests, please use the 2016 version of the handbook.

1. Reference Tables and Timelines

This chapter presents quick reference tools for nomination contestants and financial agents. It covers the following topics:

  • Starting the nomination contestant’s campaign
  • Role and appointment process—financial agent and auditor
  • Important deadlines for the nomination contestant’s campaign
  • Closing the nomination contestant’s campaign
  • Limits on contributions, loans and loan guarantees
  • Transfers—types and rules
  • Important reminders for nomination contestants and their financial agents

Starting the nomination contestant's campaign

Party or association decides to hold a nomination contest A nomination contest is a competition to select a person who will be proposed to a registered party for endorsement as its candidate in an electoral district.

A registered party or a registered association may decide to hold a nomination contest at any time. Elections Canada only needs to be notified within 30 days after the selection date.
Check the eligibility rules The registered party or registered association holding the contest sets the requirements that any person must meet to be a nomination contestant.

Under the Canada Elections Act, people in the following positions have to step down once they become nomination contestants:

  • auditors of candidates, nomination contestants, leadership contestants, registered parties or electoral district associations
  • financial agents of nomination contestants
Appoint financial agent The nomination contestant must appoint a financial agent before:

  • accepting a contribution, loan or transfer
  • incurring nomination campaign expenses

However, if the contestant's campaign is not accepting contributions, transfers or loans or incurring nomination campaign expenses, the contestant does not have to appoint a financial agent.
Appoint auditor A nomination contestant who has accepted contributions totalling $10,000 or more, or incurred nomination campaign expenses totalling $10,000 or more, must appoint an auditor without delay.

Note that transfers to affiliated political entities are not nomination campaign expenses.
Open bank account The financial agent has to open a separate bank account to be used exclusively for the contestant's campaign.

The account has to be with a Canadian financial institution or an authorized foreign bank, as defined by the Bank Act.

The financial agent must be named as the account holder, as follows: (name), financial agent. For example: “Peter Raymond, financial agent”.

It is also acceptable to add the contestant's name to the name of the bank account. For example: “Peter Raymond, financial agent for Anne Thomas”.

All monetary transactions in relation to the campaign have to go through the campaign bank account.

The bank account has to remain open until the campaign fulfills all financial obligations.

Note: The bank account opened for the nomination contest cannot be subsequently used for a nominated candidate's election campaign.
Start incurring expenses and accepting contributions, loans or transfers The campaign can start incurring expenses and accepting contributions, loans or transfers before the start date of the nomination contest, as long as the contestant has a financial agent and a bank account.

From a political financing perspective, a person is deemed to be a nomination contestant from the date a contribution or a loan is accepted or a nomination campaign expense is incurred.

A person remains a nomination contestant until the campaign fulfills all financial reporting requirements.

Important deadlines for the nomination contestant’s campaign

If a claim or loan is paid in full any time after the campaign return is filed, the financial agent must send an updated campaign return to Elections Canada within 30 days.

Contestant's campaign starts

Selection date

30 days after

Party or association sends Elections Canada:

  • General Form—Nomination Contest

3 months after

Contestant sends financial agent:

  • Nomination Contestant's Statement of Personal Expenses (with all supporting documents)

4 months after Note 4

Financial agent sends Elections Canada:

  • Nomination Contestant's Campaign Return (with all required documents) Note 5
  • Nomination Contestant's Statement of Personal Expenses (with all supporting documents) Note 5
  • Auditor's report Note 6

19 months after

Financial agent sends Elections Canada:

  • Nomination Contestant's Statement of Unpaid Claims and Loans 18 or 36 Months After the Selection Date (if applicable) Note 7

37 months after

Financial agent sends Elections Canada:

  • Nomination Contestant's Statement of Unpaid Claims and Loans 18 or 36 Months After the Selection Date (if applicable) Note 7

Note 1 Must be appointed before contributions, transfers or loans are accepted or nomination campaign expenses are incurred. A financial agent is not required if no contributions, transfers or loans are accepted and no nomination campaign expenses are incurred.

Note 2 Required before contributions, monetary transfers or loans are accepted or nomination campaign expenses are incurred.

Note 3 Must be appointed without delay after the campaign accepts contributions totalling $10,000 or more, or incurs nomination campaign expenses totalling $10,000 or more. Note that transfers to affiliated political entities are not nomination campaign expenses.

Note 4 If the selection date falls within an election period or within 30 days before it, the deadline is four months after election day rather than the selection date.

Note 5 Required if the campaign accepted contributions totalling $1,000 or more, or incurred nomination campaign expenses totalling $1,000 or more. Note that transfers to affiliated political entities are not nomination campaign expenses.

Note 6 Required if the campaign accepted contributions totalling $10,000 or more, or incurred nomination campaign expenses totalling $10,000 or more. Note that transfers to affiliated political entities are not nomination campaign expenses.

Note 7 Required if the campaign has unpaid claims and loans.

Role and appointment process—financial agent

Nomination contestant's financial agent

Role summary
  • The financial agent is responsible for administering the contestant's financial transactions and reporting those transactions to Elections Canada as required by the Canada Elections Act.
  • The contestant may have only one financial agent at a time.
  • The financial agent's role continues until the contestant's campaign fulfills all financial reporting requirements.
Nomination contestant's financial agent
Who is eligible? Yes/No
Canadian citizen who is at least 18 years old Yes
Corporation or partnership No
Candidate or nomination contestant No
Election officer or member of the staff of a returning officer No
Undischarged bankrupt No
Auditor appointed as required by the Canada Elections Act No
Person who does not have the capacity to enter into contracts in the province or territory in which the person ordinarily resides (e.g. a person with a diminished mental capacity) No
Any other person or group not mentioned above No
Appointment process
  • The contestant has to appoint a financial agent before the campaign can accept contributions, loans or transfers or incur nomination campaign expenses.
  • The financial agent has to sign a statement consenting to act in that capacity.
  • If for any reason the financial agent is no longer able to continue in that role, the contestant must appoint a new financial agent without delay and notify Elections Canada within 30 days. The notice has to include a signed consent from the new financial agent.
  • Although it is not a legal requirement, a financial agent should be experienced in managing finances. The role requires a strong ability to control, record and administer financial transactions as well as to create financial reports.

Role and appointment process—auditor

Nomination contestant's auditor

Role summary
  • If the campaign accepts contributions totalling $10,000 or more, or incurs nomination campaign expenses totalling $10,000 or more, the auditor has to examine the campaign's financial records and give an opinion in a report as to whether the financial return presents fairly the information contained in the financial records on which it is based.
  • The auditor has a right to access all documents of the campaign, and may require the contestant or the contestant's financial agent to provide any information or explanation that is necessary to enable the auditor to prepare the report.
Nomination contestant's auditor
Who is eligible? Yes/No
Person who is a member in good standing of a corporation, an association or an institute of provincially incorporated professional accountants (CPA designation)* Yes
Partnership of which every partner is a member in good standing of a corporation, an association or an institute of provincially incorporated professional accountants (CPA designation)* Yes
Candidate or their official agent No
Election officer or member of the staff of a returning officer No
Chief agent of a registered party or an eligible party No
Registered agent of a registered party No
Electoral district agent of a registered association No
Leadership contestant, their financial agent or a leadership campaign agent No
Nomination contestant or their financial agent No
Financial agent of a registered third party No
Any other person or group not mentioned above No
Appointment process
  • The nomination contestant has to appoint an auditor without delay after the campaign accepts contributions totalling $10,000 or more, or incurs nomination campaign expenses totalling $10,000 or more. Note that transfers to affiliated political entities are not nomination campaign expenses.
  • The auditor has to sign a statement consenting to act in that capacity.
  • If for any reason the auditor is no longer able to continue in that role, the contestant must appoint a new auditor and notify Elections Canada without delay. The notice has to include a signed consent from the new auditor.
  • The contestant may have only one auditor at a time.

*Provincial and territorial auditing bodies may require auditors to meet other professional criteria in order to perform this role.

Closing the nomination contestant's campaign

Fulfill reporting obligations

The nomination contestant's campaign must fulfill all reporting obligations before it can close the campaign.

See the Reporting obligations after the selection date and Additional reporting tables in Chapter 11, Reporting.

Manage unpaid claims and loans

Claims and loans should be paid within 36 months after the selection date (or election day, if the selection date falls within an election period or within 30 days before it).

If a claim or loan is still unpaid 36 months after the selection date (or election day, as described above), the financial agent or the contestant has to seek authorization from Elections Canada or a judge before paying it.

See Chapter 12, Managing Unpaid Claims and Loans.

File amended return(s)

An amended contestant's return has to be filed with Elections Canada to correct errors or omissions, or to report new transactions.

Corrections or revisions might be requested by Elections Canada, or by the contestant or financial agent.

See the Additional reporting table in Chapter 11, Reporting.

Dispose of surplus

After all financial obligations have been met, the campaign must dispose of any surplus of funds and fulfill the surplus reporting obligations.

See Chapter 13, Disposing of Surplus.

Close bank account

Once all unpaid claims, loans, other financial obligations and any surplus have been dealt with, the financial agent has to close the campaign bank account.

The financial agent has to send the final bank statement to Elections Canada.

Note: The bank account opened for the nomination contest cannot be subsequently used for a nominated candidate's election campaign.

Limits on contributions, loans and loan guarantees

Limits on contributions, loans and loan guarantees
Political entity 2019 annual limit Limit per election called between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2019
To each registered party $1,600* n/a
In total to all the registered associations, nomination contestants and candidates of each registered party $1,600* n/a
In total to all leadership contestants in a particular contest $1,600* n/a
To each independent candidate n/a $1,600*

Notes

  • 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 at any time exceed the contribution limit.
  • 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 $1,600* 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 candidate's electoral district and contributions to the candidate's 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 $1,600* 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 NoNote7 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.

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 nomination contestants and their financial agents

Before selection date
DO DON'T
  • Appoint a financial agent, who must open a bank account to be used exclusively for the campaign before any contribution, transfer or loan is accepted or any nomination campaign expense is incurred.
  • If contributions or nomination campaign expenses total $10,000 or more (not including transfers to affiliated political entities), appoint an auditor who is accredited under provincial law to perform accounting services (CPA designation).
  • Ensure that only the financial agent or the nomination contestant incurs nomination campaign expenses.
  • Issue receipts for each contribution over $20.
  • For any expense of $50 and over, keep a copy of the invoice and proof of payment. For any expense of less than $50, keep proof of payment plus a record of the nature of the expense.
  • Do not allow anyone other than the financial agent or the nomination contestant to incur nomination campaign expenses.
  • Do not allow anyone other than the financial agent to pay nomination campaign expenses.*
  • Do not accept contributions:
    • from any source other than an individual who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada
    • that exceed an individual's contribution limit
    • in cash that exceed $20
  • Do not accept loans from any source other than a financial institution or an individual who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada.
  • Do not accept loan guarantees from any source other than an individual who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada.
  • Do not accept a loan or loan guarantee from an individual if it exceeds the individual's contribution limit.

*Exceptions: A person authorized in writing by the financial agent can pay expenses out of petty cash. The nomination contestant can pay the nomination contestant's personal expenses.

After selection date
DO DON'T
  • Provide the Nomination Contestant's Statement of Personal Expenses to the financial agent no later than 3 months after the selection date, even if it is a nil statement.
  • Submit the Nomination Contestant's Campaign Return and related documents within 4 months after the selection date if contributions or nomination campaign expenses total $1,000 or more (not including transfers to affiliated political entities). If the selection date falls within an election period or within 30 days before it, the deadline is 4 months after election day.
  • Submit all loan, overdraft and line of credit conditions, including repayment schedules, with the nomination contestant's return.
  • Allow the auditor sufficient time before the submission deadline to review the financial documents and prepare the audit report (auditor's report is required if contributions or nomination campaign expenses, not including transfers to affiliated political entities, total $10,000 or more).
  • Pay all claims and loans within 36 months after the selection date. After that time, an authorization from Elections Canada or a judge will be required for late payments. If the selection date falls within an election period or within 30 days before it, the deadline is 36 months after election day.
  • File an updated return within 30 days of paying a claim or loan in full.
  • Dispose of any surplus in compliance with the Canada Elections Act after the campaign has met all its financial obligations. Notify Elections Canada within 7 days of the disposal.
  • Close the campaign bank account after all financial obligations are met and any surplus is disposed of. Provide Elections Canada with the final statement.
  • Do not pay unpaid claims or loans later than 36 months after the selection date (or election day, if the selection date falls within an election period or 30 days before it) without first obtaining Elections Canada's or a judge's authorization.
  • Do not close the campaign bank account until all financial obligations are met and any surplus has been disposed of.