Are you or your organization thinking about engaging in election advertising or partisan activities such as organizing a political rally or door-to-door canvassing in the lead up to the Federal Election in October?
If so, make sure you know the new rules governing third parties under the Canada Elections Act. The rules have changed significantly since the 2015 general election. For instance:
- Activities by third parties are now regulated not only during the writ period but also during a pre-writ period which starts June 30, 2019.
- The Act now regulates not just election advertising but also “partisan activities”, which are defined as activities, other than advertising or fundraising, that promote or oppose a political party, leader or candidate, such as canvassing and calling voters, or organizing rallies.
- The Act also regulates election surveys. The expenses associated with calls to voters to gather information about their voting preferences or positions on issues are now reportable under the federal regime where the results are relied on for partisan activities or advertising purposes.
- Third parties have new reporting requirements, including a requirement to file an interim report before the general election in October and to report on all contributors who have contributed funds for partisan activities or advertising or election surveys since the last general election in October 2015.
A third party includes an individual, association, trade union, entity or corporation other than a political party, candidate or riding association that engages in any of the regulated activities (partisan activities, partisan or election advertising, and election surveys) during the regulated period from June 30 to October 21, 2019. If you incur $500 or more in expenses in relation to regulated activities that are carried out during the regulated period, you must register immediately with Elections Canada.
If you would like more information about the new rules governing third parties under the Canada Elections Act, please feel free to contact Paul Cavalluzzo and Adrienne Telford.