Political Financing Handbook for Candidates and Official Agents (EC 20155) – July 2021
This document is Elections Canada's guideline OGI 2021-04.
Click on the link for the latest Political Financing Handbook for Candidates and Official Agents.
This chapter describes the financial reports that must be completed and submitted by set deadlines under the Canada Elections Act. It covers the following topics:
- Reporting obligations after election day
- Additional reporting
- Reporting gifts and other advantages
- Submitting reports to Elections Canada
- Requesting a filing deadline extension
Note: Financial forms and instructions are available on the Elections Canada website.
Reporting obligations after election day
Reports in this table must be submitted to Elections Canada, unless otherwise noted.
|Reports and documents||Description||Who is responsible|
|1 month after election day|
| Official tax receipts
All unused and cancelled receipts and copies of used receipts, if applicable
|Applies to paper tax receipts obtained from Elections Canada. Does not apply to tax receipts prepared using the Electronic Financial Return (EFR) software.||Official agent|
|3 months after election day|
| Candidate's Statement of Expenses
Signed, with all supporting documents
| The statement lists the candidate's personal, travel and living, and litigation expenses that were reasonably incurred in relation to the campaign and have not been reimbursed by the campaign.
It must be completed even if the expenses were nil.
Submitted to official agent
|4 months after election day|
| Contributions to a Candidate at an Election—Information Return
| The official agent must use the electronic form available on the CRA website to report contributions received and receipted.
A link to the form is posted on the Elections Canada website.
| Official agent
Submitted to Canada Revenue Agency
| Candidate's Electoral Campaign Return
Signed, with all supporting documents
| The candidate's return includes the following:
| Auditor's report
|After the official agent has completed the candidate's return, the auditor has to examine the candidate's financial records and give an opinion in a report as to whether the candidate's return presents fairly the information contained in the financial records on which it is based.||Official agent|
| Auditor's invoice
|Prepared and signed by the auditor.||Auditor and official agent|
| Checklist for Audits
|The auditor's report has to include a completed checklist for audits in the prescribed form.||Auditor and official agent|
| Candidate's Statement of Expenses
Signed, with all supporting documents
|The official agent must submit the expenses statement, together with the Candidate's Electoral Campaign Return.||Official agent|
| Candidate's Statement of Gifts or Other Advantages Received
| The candidate has to submit this report if they received certain gifts or other advantages during a prescribed period.
See the Reporting gifts and other advantages section below.
*Required if contributions totalling $10,000 or more were accepted, electoral campaign expenses totalling $10,000 or more were incurred, or the candidate received 10% or more of the valid votes cast in their electoral district. (Note that transfers to affiliated political entities are not electoral campaign expenses.)
It is very important to give the auditor enough time to properly audit the Candidate's Electoral Campaign Return before the deadline.
In some cases, the reporting obligations do not end soon after election day. The campaign might still have unpaid claims or loans, or need to correct an error in the candidate's return. The following table summarizes these additional reporting requirements.
Reports in this table must be submitted to Elections Canada.
|Reports and documents||Description||Deadline||Who is responsible|
|Candidate's Electoral Campaign Return (EC 20120)|
|Corrected or revised, as requested by the candidate or official agent||The candidate or the official agent may become aware of a need to make a correction or report new transactions in a return that has been filed. In that case, the candidate or the official agent has to submit a written request for authorization to file a corrected or revised return.||30 days after the correction or revision was authorized||Official agent or candidate|
|Corrected or revised, as requested by Elections Canada||On review, Elections Canada may request the official agent to correct or revise the candidate's return.||Within a period specified by Elections Canada||Official agent|
|Updated after the final payment of a claim or loan||The official agent must send an updated Candidate's Electoral Campaign Return indicating the source of funds used to pay the claim or loan.||30 days after a claim or loan is paid*||Official agent|
|Candidate's Statement of Unpaid Claims and Loans 18 or 36 Months After Election Day (EC 20003)|
|Statement as of 18 months after election day||The statement is required if the campaign still has unpaid claims and loans 18 months after election day.||19 months after election day||Official agent|
|Statement as of 36 months after election day||The statement is required if the campaign still has unpaid claims and loans 36 months after election day.||37 months after election day||Official agent|
*Claims and loans must be paid within 36 months after election day. Authorization is required from Elections Canada or a judge to pay claims or loans more than 36 months after election day.
Reporting gifts and other advantages
|Definition||A gift or other advantage is money, property or services provided without charge or at less than commercial value.
Note: This definition excludes monetary or non-monetary contributions or transfers, as defined in the Canada Elections Act and in the chapters of this handbook.
|Important to know||
|Reporting gifts and other advantages||
Submitting reports to Elections Canada
Financial forms and instructions are available on the Elections Canada website.
Elections Canada has developed free software to help with the preparation of financial returns:
the Electronic Financial Return (EFR) software. It can be accessed from the Political Entities Service Centre on the Elections Canada website.
The EFR software is updated regularly. Check for the latest version before preparing a return.
Note: Using EFR to complete or update the Candidate's Electoral Campaign Return makes reporting much easier because EFR validates the entries and creates a submission file with the required fields populated.
Any other report
|Mail or fax||
Any financial reports
Elections Canada 30 Victoria Street, Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0M6
Political Financing 1-888-523-9333 (toll-free)
- When submitting online, there is no need to send physical copies by mail.
- It is recommended that the campaign keep a copy of all documents submitted.
- The campaign can print a confirmation of its submission and track the status of its financial return in the Political Entities Service Centre.
Requesting a filing deadline extension
Reports eligible for an extension
The Canada Elections Act specifies deadlines for submitting reports. The official agent or the candidate may apply for an extension if they cannot submit a report on time
If only a few invoices or receipts are missing, campaigns should submit the mandatory documents on time and send the missing documentation later.
The following table explains which reports are eligible for an extension and from whom.
|Document to submit||Extension from Elections Canada||Additional extension from Elections Canada||Extension from a judge|
|Candidate's Electoral Campaign Return|
|Original submission, including the auditor's report (if required)||Yes||No||Yes|
|Updated after the final payment of a claim or loan at any time after election day||Yes||No||Yes|
|Corrected or revised, as requested by the candidate or the official agent||Yes||Yes||No|
|Corrected or revised, as requested by Elections Canada||No||No||No*|
|Candidate's Statement of Unpaid Claims and Loans 18 or 36 Months After Election Day|
|Statement as of 18 months after election day||Yes||No||Yes|
|Statement as of 36 months after election day||Yes||No||Yes|
*Corrections or revisions requested by Elections Canada are not eligible for extensions and must be filed within the specified period. However, the official agent or the candidate can apply to a judge to be relieved of the obligation of complying with the request.
Note: If an elected candidate does not meet certain filing requirements, a possible consequence is that they will be unable to continue to sit or vote in the House of Commons until the documents are submitted or an extension is granted.
Submitting an extension request to Elections Canada
To apply for an extension from Elections Canada, the official agent or the candidate has to send the Request for Extension of Filing Deadline form. It 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 official 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 or if the official agent or candidate is unable to file the required documents within the extended period, the candidate or the official agent may apply to a judge for an extension.
Submitting an extension request to a judge
To apply for an extension from a judge, an application must be submitted to one of the courts listed below. Any of the courts can be applied to, no matter where the campaign has its headquarters.
A copy of the application must be sent to Elections Canada by email or fax.
If the campaign sends a draft of its application to Elections Canada before filing it with the court, Elections Canada staff will verify whether the request will enable the campaign to fulfill its obligations and provide a letter confirming that it has been notified of the application.
|Province or territory||Court that can receive the application|
|Alberta||Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta|
|British Columbia||Supreme Court of British Columbia|
|Manitoba||Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba|
|New Brunswick||Court of Queen's Bench of New Brunswick|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||Trial Division of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador|
|Nova Scotia||Supreme Court of Nova Scotia|
|Nunavut||Nunavut Court of Justice|
|Ontario||Superior Court of Justice of Ontario|
|Prince Edward Island||Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island|
|Quebec||Superior Court of Quebec|
|Saskatchewan||Court of Queen's Bench of Saskatchewan|
|Northwest Territories||Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories|
|Yukon||Supreme Court of Yukon|
In the application, the campaign has to request a new deadline for submitting the documents to Elections Canada. Sometimes the new deadline will be for a past date. This happens when a campaign submitted its mandatory documents late before requesting an extension and is now regularizing its filing.
|Extension to future date||Extension to past date (retroactive)|
The campaign can request any reasonable date as the new filing deadline, based on its circumstances.
Make sure the date chosen gives the campaign enough time to meet its obligations; otherwise, a new application will need to be filed with the court.
The campaign must request the date that all mandatory documents were received by Elections Canada as the new filing deadline.
Please contact the Political Entities Support Network to get the correct date.
Note: If the campaign is not using a lawyer to prepare its application, it may wish to contact the registrar of the court for information on the process or ask a legal clinic for sample documents.