Guideline: 2020-06 (November 2020)
The Chief Electoral Officer issues guidelines and interpretation notes on the application of the Canada Elections Act to registered parties, registered associations, nomination contestants, candidates and leadership contestants, in accordance with section 16.1 of the Act. Before the issuance of any guideline or interpretation note, registered federal political parties and the Commissioner of Canada Elections are consulted and invited to provide comments on a draft version. Guidelines and interpretation notes provide guidance and promote consistency in the interpretation and application of the Act. However, they are for information only and do not displace the provisions of the Act.
Regulated Fundraising Events
This content will become a part of the Political Financing Handbook for Registered Parties and Chief Agents. It will be integrated into the chapters on fundraising and reporting. Parts of the guideline will also be integrated into other political financing handbooks, with necessary adaptations.
What is a regulated fundraising event?
A regulated fundraising event is an event that meets all these conditions:
- it is organized to financially benefit a registered party with a seat in the House of Commons (or, during a general election, a party that had a seat on dissolution) or one of its affiliated entities
- it is attended by one of these prominent people: the party leader, the interim leader, a leadership contestant or a federal Cabinet minister (minister of the Crown or minister of state)
- at least one person had to pay or contribute over $200 to attend or to have another person attend
Note: Events held in person, online or by telephone are all potentially regulated. A prominent person is "attending" if they are present at the event in real-time. By contrast, if they are present only by prerecorded video or audio message, they are not attending the event.
It excludes the following events:
- a leadership debate
- a party or leadership convention
- a donor appreciation event at a party or leadership convention
- an event where at least one person paid over $200 to attend but no part of the payment was a contribution
Flowchart 1 can be used to check whether a fundraising event is regulated.
Any person can attend an event, even if they are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, as long as they did not make a contribution in order to attend. For example, an eligible contributor can pay to bring a foreign guest.
Note: Fundraising events organized after an election or a contest for the financial benefit of a candidate or a contestant continue to fall under these rules.
Are leadership contestants after a contest period and ministers during an election still prominent attendees?
Leadership contestants continue to be contestants and prominent attendees after the contest period, until they have fulfilled their reporting obligations (for example, after they have paid their claims and loans, disposed of surplus and closed the bank account).
Leadership contestants should wait for confirmation from Elections Canada, following its review of their financial returns, that they are no longer prominent attendees.
Ministers continue to be prominent attendees during an election.
Note: A regularly updated list of leadership contestants who are prominent attendees is available on the Elections Canada website under Political Financing > View Regulated Fundraising Events.
Flowchart 1: Regulated fundraising events
Text description of "Flowchart 1: Regulated fundraising events"
This flowchart shows the basic rules for determining when a fundraising event for a registered party or its affiliated entities is regulated or not.
If all five of the following conditions are met, the event is regulated:
- any person had to contribute or pay over $200 to attend, or to have another person attend
- the party leader, the interim party leader, a leadership contestant or a federal Cabinet minister is attending
- as of event day, the party had at least one sitting MP or, if a general election is underway, it had an MP on dissolution, and
- the event is not an excluded event
Excluded events are a leadership debate, party or leadership convention, donor appreciation event at a party or leadership convention, and events where guests paid over $200 to attend but no part of the payment was a contribution.
- Barbara paid the $250 ticket price to attend a wine and cheese organized to benefit a nomination contestant. The guest of honour is a federal Cabinet minister who supports the contestant. This is a regulated fundraising event. Even though Barbara's contribution is only $190 after the benefit is deducted, the event is still regulated because the ticket price was over $200 and part of the payment was a contribution.
- Mehdi paid the $225 entrance fee to play in a baseball tournament organized to benefit a candidate. The candidate is attending but there will be no prominent attendees from the party. This is not a regulated fundraising event.
- A leadership contestant's campaign charges $250 for participants to join a virtual event held on a videoconferencing platform. The contestant will also be online, interacting with attendees. This is a regulated fundraising event.
- The registered party sells tickets to its fundraising dinner for $150 each. Jim buys a table of tickets for $1,200 and brings his family. Even though he paid more than $200 total for himself and his guests, no single person was required to pay over $200 to attend. This is not a regulated fundraising event. This event would be regulated if a person had to buy a whole table.
- A registered association is holding an end-of-year donor appreciation event for people who contributed $1,000 or more to the association or the registered party, or in combination to both. The interim party leader will be in attendance. This is a regulated fundraising event.
- As a thank-you to contributors, a party leader holds a teleconference with individuals who regularly contribute $1,500 or more per year. This is a regulated fundraising event.
- The registered party has a monthly giving program that requires a minimum contribution of $60 per year. The party hosts an event with a federal Cabinet minister. For individuals who are not part of the program, the ticket price is $185. For individuals who are part of the program, the ticket price is $150. This is not a regulated fundraising event because no person had to pay or contribute over $200 to attend. Being part of the program is not a requirement to attend, it simply gives individuals a discount from the regular price of $185.
- During a leadership convention, the registered party holds a donor appreciation event for people who contributed $500 or more during the year. If people have not contributed $500, they can buy tickets for $100 in order to attend. The party leader will be present. This is not a regulated fundraising event. This event would be regulated if tickets were sold for over $200 or if it were not held during a convention.
Disclosure requirements for a regulated fundraising event
A regulated fundraising event is organized to benefit a registered party or one of its affiliated entities. In all cases, the party is the one responsible for disclosing the event to the public and Elections Canada.
The party may need information from organizers to meet the disclosure requirements.
|If all or part of the event was organized by the registered party||Other organizers have no official role to play in providing information to the party.|
|If all of the event was organized by other persons or entities||
Organizers have to give the party the information it needs to follow the disclosure rules. See details in the table below.
Information must be provided far enough in advance of the disclosure deadline that the party has time to publish or report on it. Parties may wish to set an internal deadline for receiving information and share it with potential organizers.
Organizers must notify the party as soon as possible about changes to the information they provide.
Note: If an event was organized by more than one political entity, they should coordinate sending information to the party.
The disclosure requirements are different for fundraising events held outside and during a general election.
|Notice 5 days before the fundraising event||Reporting to Elections Canada after the fundraising event|
Submit the Regulated Fundraising Event Report within 30 days after the event.
The report must include:
|Notice before the fundraising event||Reporting to Elections Canada after the fundraising event|
No notice is required.
Within 60 days after election day, submit a single Regulated Fundraising Event Report on all events held during the election period.
For each event, the report must include:
*In addition to minors, attendees are not listed in the reports if they attended solely for the following purposes:
- to assist someone with a disability
- as an employee involved in organizing the event
- as part of a media organization or as a freelance journalist
- as a member of security or support staff for the prominent attendee who led to the event being a regulated event
- to provide volunteer labour
Note: For virtual events, it may be difficult to control attendance and produce an accurate list of attendees. Organizers should exercise due diligence so that an accurate report of all attendees can be filed. For example, they could advise people who sign up for an event that attendance is being published and that the link or phone number to attend is for their use only.
Returning contributions for non-compliance with disclosure rules
If the disclosure rules are not followed, the political entity that received monetary or non-monetary contributions as part of the regulated fundraising event must return them to the contributor or remit their amount to Elections Canada.
Any of these circumstances may require contributions to be returned:
- outside a general election, the registered party fails to publish an event notice or notify Elections Canada about the event five days before it is held
- the registered party fails to submit a report by the deadline or extended deadline, or includes the name or address of a person excepted from the list of attendees (for example, a minor)
- an organizer fails to give the registered party information about an event in time for the party to publish an event notice or submit a report, or provides the name or address of a person excepted from the list of attendees (for example, a minor)
- an organizer fails to notify the registered party of changes to the information it provided
- the registered party fails to update an event notice on its website or a report to Elections Canada when it becomes aware of changes to the information
For the process that needs to be followed when on returning contributions, see Chapter 2, Contributions, of the Political Financing Handbook for Registered Parties and Chief Agents.
Reports in this table must be submitted to Elections Canada.
|Deadline||Mandatory document||Description||Who is responsible|
|5 days before a regulated event held outside a general election||Notice of a Regulated Fundraising Event
|The notice provides basic information on a regulated fundraising event held outside a general election.||Registered party|
|30 days after a regulated event held outside a general election||Regulated Fundraising Event Report
|The report provides information on a regulated fundraising event held outside a general election, including on beneficiaries, organizers and attendees.||Chief agent|
|60 days after election day||Regulated Fundraising Event Report
|The report provides information on all regulated fundraising events held during a general election, including on beneficiaries, organizers and attendees.||Chief agent|
Additional reporting if corrections or revisions are required
The chief agent may become aware of a need to correct or revise a Regulated Fundraising Event Report that has been submitted. The chief agent has to apply to Elections Canada for authorization to file an amended report, using the Request for Amendment form. An amended report must be submitted within 30 days after the correction or revision is authorized.
Requesting a filing deadline extension
If the registered party is not able to submit the Regulated Fundraising Event Report by the deadline, the chief agent may apply to submit the report within an extended period. The application must be received by Elections Canada no later than two weeks after the filing deadline.
Note: Only a judge may grant an extension requested more than two weeks after the deadline has passed.
Elections Canada will grant an extension unless the chief agent's failure to provide the document was deliberate or was the result of a failure to exercise due diligence.
If Elections Canada refuses to authorize an extension for the original submission of the report, or if the chief agent is unable to file the report within the extended period, the chief agent may apply to a judge for an extension.
|Document to submit||Extension from Elections Canada||Additional extension from Elections Canada||Extension from a judge|
|Regulated Fundraising Event Report|
|Corrected or revised, as requested by the party||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Note: The Canada Elections Act does not allow for extensions on publishing an event notice or notifying Elections Canada of a regulated fundraising event held outside a general election.