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Understanding political financing

Mandatory financial reports

Summary

To ensure transparency and compliance with the rules on political financing, authorized political entities must produce financial and expense reports within the time limits prescribed by the various laws.

Provincial

In this section

Financial reports

Annual financial reports

Under the Election Act, the official representatives of authorized political entities must file an annual financial report covering the period from January 1 to December 31. They must send this report to the Chief Electoral Officer:

  • Before April 1, if it is the financial report of a political party authority, candidate, or an authorized independent MNA
  • Before April 30, if it is a political party's financial report
  • 90 days after polling day, in the case of the financial report of an independent candidate who was not elected

View the financial reports of political entities and statistics

These reports are published as of the deadline for their presentation. If they are produced after the deadline, they are accessible from their presentation date.

Signed declaration

The financial reports must include a declaration signed by the leader of the political party, the Member of the National Assembly, the authorized independent candidate or, in the case of a party authority, by the senior official designated by the authorized party authority. These declarations are intended to make these parties accountable for their financing and expenses.

Independent audit of political parties' financial reports

A political party's financial report must be accompanied by a report from an auditor (independent auditor) and include:

  • A balance sheet
  • A statement of operations
  • A statement of changes in net assets
  • A statement of cash flows

These documents must be prepared in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework (generally accepted accounting principles).

Additional financial report of an authorized independent candidate who was not elected

An independent candidate who was not elected may have debts arising from their election expenses or hold sums or assets from the election fund. In this case, his or her official representative must file an additional financial report no later than April 1 of the year following each fiscal year during which the independent candidate is authorized.

Our role following receipt of the financial reports

All financial reports are subject to review or audit. During a review, we assess the financial data as provided. During an audit, we perform a more in-depth analysis. In that case, additional supporting documents may be required. Should we notice irregularities, we may carry out an investigation. We may also take legal action in the courts for any violation of the Election Act.

Election expense returns

Presenting the return

All parties and candidates must file an election expense return. These returns must include items such as expenses incurred for advertising, goods and services, rental of premises, and travel and meal.

A declaration signed by the candidate concerning the rules respecting political financing and election expenses must accompany the return. Party leaders must also sign a declaration, which is intended to make them more accountable to these rules.

Filing deadline

The official agent of an authorized party must file their election expense return within 120 days following polling day, whereas the official agent of a candidate must do so within 90 days. These reports must be submitted using the appropriate forms.

Access to information

The election expense returns are public and may be viewed by anyone contacting us for that matter.

Private intervenor expense return

Filing deadline

Private intervenors (an elector, a group of electors, or a political party) must send us a report of all thier expenses within 30 days following polling day. They must file their expense return on the appropriate form.

Allowable expenses

The only expenses that a private intervenor can incur are related to advertising. They cannot exceed $300 for the entire election period.

Expense return for private intervenors (PDF - DGE-708-VA)

Filing an election expense return

Online

The official agent of a candidate may use an online form to file and print their election expense return. In this way, their data is transferred directly to our computer system.

They may also download and print the reports that must be filed following a general election or by-election as well as the additional financial report, if required.

Printed election expense returns

We must receive a signed copy of the return, including declarations, along with the required supporting documentation.

Additional information

You can contact us for more information on online reporting.

Municipal

In this section

Authorized political entities in municipalities with a population of 5,000 people or more are required to produce several reports that account for their revenues and expenditures.

Political parties

Annual financial report

The official representative of an authorized political party must submit a financial report for the previous fiscal year to the treasurer of the municipality no later than April 1 of each year. This report must include a balance sheet as well as statements of income, changes in net assets and cash flows.

Where income is in excess of $5,000, the report must be accompanied by a duly signed report by the party's independent auditor.

The annual financial reports must include sections with the additional information required under the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities and include signed statements from the leader of the party and its official representative. These statements are intended to make party leaders more accountable for election financing and expenses.

Election expenses return

Following an election in which a party has presented one or more persons as candidates, its official agent must file an election expenses return. They must submit this report, along with supporting documentation, to the municipal treasurer within 90 days following the election. This report must include signed statements from the party leader and the official agent.

Authorized independent candidate

Authorized elector report

When a person undertakes to run as an authorized independent candidate, their report must provide their income and expenses for the year preceding a general election. It must be submitted no later than April 1 of the year in which the election is held.

Reports from authorized independent candidates

Following an election, a financial report and an election expenses return, as well as the supporting documentation, must be produced and submitted to the municipal treasurer within 90 days following the election.

Additional financial reports from authorized independent candidates

In some contexts, following the filing of an authorized independent candidate's reports, the official representative must file an additional financial report with the municipal treasurer. They must do so under one of the following conditions:

  • The authorized independent candidate still has debts that were incurred during their authorization
  • The official representative holds assets or money that remains in the candidate's election fund

These additional reports must also be accompanied by signed declarations by the candidate, their representative and official agent. These statements are intended to make them accountable for financing and expenses.

Private intervenor

Election expenses return

Private intervenors (electors or those who represent a group of electors) are required to send a report of all their expenses to their respective municipal treasurers. This must be done within 30 days of the fixed polling day, using the Return of expenses of a private intervenor form.

This report must be accompanied by invoices, receipts and other required supporting documentation or certified copies thereof. Private intervenors or those representing a group must sign the report.

If the private intervenor has not incurred any publicity expenses, they must produce an expenses return nevertheless and submit it to the treasurer. A zero may be entered into the appropriate boxes.

All such reports will be made available to the public as soon as the deadline for their submission has passed.

School board

In this section

Reports from authorized candidates

Under the provisions of the Act respecting school elections to elect certain members of the boards of directors of English-language school service centres, which cover the financing of candidates and the auditing of election expenses, authorized candidates must file the appropriate reports regardless of whether they have collected contributions, incurred expenses, or contracted a loan.

They must file these reports and the required supporting documents and submit them to the director general of the school board within 90 days of the election.

These reports are then made publicly available.

Given the ongoing court challenges, any reference to the Act respecting school elections to elect certain members of the boards of directors of English language school service centres refers to the provisions of the Act respecting school elections in effect prior to the passage of Bill 40, which have been adapted to reflect the repeal of the election process in French-language school service centres.

Reports

Additional financial reports from authorized candidates

If an authorized candidate still has debts arising from their election expenses or if they have any remaining sums of money or assets that they obtained as a candidate on the day that they file the report, they must file an additional financial report with the director general of the English-language school board. The report must be filed no later than April 1 of the year following each fiscal year during which they remained authorized after the submission of their first financial report.

Reports

Private intervenor expense return

Private intervenors who are electors, or the representative of private intervenors, must submit a report of all their expenses in the appropriate form to the returning officer within 30 days after polling day.

The report must be accompanied by invoices, receipts, other supporting documents (or certified copies thereof) as well as a remittance slip and an affidavit using the appropriate form.

Maximum expenditure of $300

The private intervenor may spend a maximum of $300 for texts, objects, materials, ads, or publicity.

Reports

Online reporting

We suggest that authorized candidates use the online reports to generate and print their authorized candidate report.

Online reporting allows the data to be transferred directly to our computer system. The director general of the English-language school board can access this system.

All authorized candidates must print and sign their return of election expenses as well as the declaration of the authorized candidate and file them with the English-language school board within the prescribed time limit, along with all required supporting documents.

You can also download and print the reports that must be filed following a general election or by-election as well as the additional financial report if required.

Other resources

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