Transcript of Video on Third Party Reporting Requirements
If you are a registered third party, you have reporting requirements after a general election or by-election. But you might also have to submit interim returns during a general election. This module outlines a third party's reporting requirements for a non-fixed-date general election or by-election.
When does a third party become obligated to submit interim returns to Elections Canada? When the third party's contributions or spending reach one of two major thresholds:
- If a third party received contributions totalling $10,000 or more for regulated activities, and it has conducted regulated activities with combined expenses totalling $500 or more in the election period, it needs to submit interim returns; or
- If a third party has conducted regulated activities with combined expenses totalling $10,000 or more during the election period, it needs to submit interim returns.
Third parties have to submit up to two interim returns. The number of returns depends on when the third party reaches the threshold. If a third party reaches the threshold on or before the 23rd day before election day, then it will be required to file both interim returns. But if the threshold is met between the 22nd and 9th days before election day, then only the second interim return will need to be provided. No interim returns need to be provided if the threshold is met later than the 9th day before election day.
Interim returns list the contributions received for regulated activities since the last general election and the expenses incurred for regulated activities that have taken place during the current election period. Each interim return includes only transactions that were not previously reported. There is no interim reporting for by-elections.
For example, let's say your third party received a $25,000 contribution in 2020 for the next general election. A general election is called in 2021, and you spend $5,000 on an ad that runs on the second day of the election period. You must register with Elections Canada after the ad runs and submit your first interim return 21 days before election day. You will also have to submit a second interim return seven days before election day, even if no additional contributions were accepted or expenses were incurred for regulated activities.
Now what about after election day? After a general election or by-election, every registered third party must submit a Third Party's Electoral Campaign Return within four months after election day. The electoral campaign return includes all contributions received since the day after the previous general election that were not reported in a return for a prior election and all expenses incurred for regulated activities that took place during the election period. An auditor's report must also be submitted within four months after election day, if the third party incurred expenses totalling $10,000 or more for regulated activities conducted during the election period.
Third parties must keep documents supporting their financial transactions. These include invoices, bank statements, deposit slips and cancelled cheques. Elections Canada might request these documents when it reviews a third party's returns.
Please consult the Political Financing Handbook for Third Parties on the Elections Canada website for details about third party activities, prohibitions and reporting obligations.