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Political Financing Handbook for Nomination Contestants and Financial Agents (EC 20182) – June 2016

Note: This handbook is to be used for contests that started before December 21, 2018. For later contests, please use the 2018 version of the handbook.

Chapter 5 – Closing the Nomination Contestant's Campaign

This chapter covers the following topics:

Introduction

Once the nomination contestant's reporting requirements are met, it is time to close the nomination contestant's campaign. This chapter explains what has to take place before the financial agent can close the campaign bank account and subsequently the nomination contestant's campaign.

The financial agent has to manage unpaid claims and loans, and dispose of any surplus in accordance with the rules and timelines of the Canada Elections Act. In addition, the financial agent has to inform Elections Canada about these transactions by updating the contestant's return to reflect the payment of unpaid claims or loans, and by submitting an amended nomination contestant's return or a statement of surplus.

Once unpaid claims, loans, other financial obligations and any surplus have been dealt with, the financial agent can close the campaign bank account and send the final bank statement to Elections Canada.


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5.1 Managing unpaid claims and loans

If the nomination contestant's campaign has unpaid claims or loans, updates are required on the status of payments.

Note: Loans, including overdrafts and lines of credit, obtained specifically to pay for expenses incurred outside the contest period are not subject to the controls on loans in the Canada Elections Act. They are not to be deposited in the campaign bank account, are not reported, and do not form part of the campaign surplus.

Update after final payment of claim or loan within 36 months after selection date

If a claim or loan is paid in full after the filing of the return and within 36 months after the selection date (or election day, if the selection date falls within an election period or 30 days before it), the financial agent must send an updated contestant's return to Elections Canada within 30 days after the final payment was made.

Nomination Contestant's Statement of Unpaid Claims and Loans 18 or 36 Months After the Selection Date

The Nomination Contestant's Statement of Unpaid Claims and Loans 18 or 36 Months After the Selection Date is required if the campaign has unpaid claims and loans.

  • The first update is due 19 months after the selection date (or election day, if the selection date falls within an election period or 30 days before it), and covers unpaid claims and loans as of 18 months after the selection date.
  • The second update is due 37 months after the selection date (or election day, if the selection date falls within an election period or 30 days before it), and covers unpaid claims and loans as of 36 months after the selection date.

Note: Elections Canada's authorization is not required to pay a claim or loan within 36 months after the selection date (or election day, if the selection date falls within an election period or 30 days before it).

Update after final payment of claim or loan more than 36 months after selection date

If a claim or loan is still unpaid 36 months after the selection date (or election day, if the selection date falls within an election period or 30 days before it), the financial agent has to seek authorization from Elections Canada or a judge before paying it. After paying a claim or loan, the financial agent must send an updated contestant's return to Elections Canada within 30 days after the payment was made.

5.2 Filing an amended nomination contestant's return

An amended Nomination Contestant's Campaign Return has to be filed with Elections Canada to:

  • correct errors or omissions, or
  • report new transactions
Corrections or revisions requested by Elections Canada

In certain circumstances there is a need to make corrections or revisions in the nomination contestant's return.

On reviewing the nomination contestant's return, Elections Canada may request the nomination contestant or his or her financial agent to correct the return within a specified period.

Corrections or revisions requested by the nomination contestant or the financial agent

The nomination contestant or the financial agent may become aware of a need to make a correction or revision to a return that has been filed. In that case, the nomination contestant or the financial agent has to submit a written request for authorization to file an amended return.

An amended return must be submitted within 30 days after the correction or revision was authorized.

Submitting a full return is not necessary. Only the new or corrected data has to be submitted to Elections Canada, along with a declaration signed by the nomination contestant or the financial agent.

For more on filing an amended contestant's return, see Section 4.3, Submission to Elections Canada.

5.3 Disposing of surplus

After all financial obligations have been completed, the campaign must dispose of any surplus of funds in accordance with the Canada Elections Act. The amount of the surplus should equal the money left in the campaign bank account after all the financial obligations have been met.

Note: Campaign funds may only be used to pay nomination campaign expenses and disbursements, such as loan repayments and transfers to affiliated political entities. This means that using campaign funds to pay expenses incurred outside the contest period constitutes an improper use of the funds and could lead to an offence for failure to dispose of the campaign surplus in accordance with the requirements of the Canada Elections Act.

Definition

The surplus amount of nomination campaign funds is the amount by which the contestant's nomination campaign revenues exceed the total of nomination campaign expenses paid and transfers made by the contestant's campaign.


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Nomination campaign revenues include:

  • monetary contributions made to the nomination contestant
  • any other amount that was received by the nomination contestant for his or her nomination campaign, including bank interest and refunds from suppliers

For the purposes of surplus calculation, expenses include all nomination campaign expenses that were paid using campaign funds:

  • nomination campaign expenses and the contestant's personal expenses

Transfers made by the nomination contestant's campaign include:

  • any funds that the nomination contestant's campaign transfers to its registered party or to the registered association that held the nomination contest
  • any funds transferred by the nomination contestant's campaign to the candidate of the same party in the same electoral district where the contest was held
Notice of estimated surplus by Elections Canada

After the review of the nomination contestant's return, in some cases it is determined that the nomination contestant has a surplus of campaign funds. Elections Canada sends a notice about the estimated amount of the surplus to the nomination contestant's financial agent.

The financial agent has to dispose of the surplus within 60 days of receiving the notice.

If financial agent is aware of a surplus

If the financial agent is aware of a surplus of campaign funds but has not yet received a notice from Elections Canada, the financial agent has to dispose of the surplus within 60 days after filing the Nomination Contestant's Campaign Return.

How to dispose of a surplus

Surplus nomination campaign funds have to be transferred to:

  • the official agent of the candidate endorsed by the registered party in the same electoral district, or
  • the registered association that held the nomination contest, or
  • the registered party
Nomination Contestant's Statement of Surplus

The financial agent has to submit the Contestant's Statement of Surplus / Amended Campaign Return form within seven days after disposing of the surplus. The statement notifies Elections Canada of the amount and date of disposal of the surplus, and to whom the surplus was transferred.

In some cases, amendments are also made to the original contestant's return to report financial transactions that occurred since the date the return was submitted. In these cases, any new financial transactions reported in the Contestant's Statement of Surplus / Amended Campaign Return will be treated as a request to correct or revise the Nomination Contestant's Campaign Return and Elections Canada will update the return accordingly.

Section 5.2 discusses the reasons for submitting amendments to the contestant's return.

Note: Elections Canada publishes the notice referring to the disposal of the surplus on its website.

Dispose of a surplus when a nomination contestant's return is not required

A Nomination Contestant's Campaign Return is not required if the contributions accepted or the nomination campaign expenses incurred by the campaign are less than $1,000. However, if the campaign has surplus funds at the end of the contest, the financial agent has to dispose of the surplus and notify Elections Canada by completing the Nomination Contestant's Statement of Surplus.

5.4 Closing the campaign bank account

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

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

Note: The bank account opened for the nomination contest cannot be subsequently used for an electoral campaign.