Elections Canada

Elections Canada

January 09, 2007 13:27 ET

New Reporting Requirements Under the Canada Elections Act for Gifts to Candidates

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 9, 2007) - The Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, Jean-Pierre Kingsley, announced today that he is prepared to implement the new provisions on gifts received by federal election candidates when they come into force on June 12, 2007. These provisions are part of recent amendments to the Canada Elections Act as a result of the passing of Bill C-2, the Federal Accountability Act.

Under these provisions, candidates may not accept any "gift or other advantage" from the day on which they become candidates for the purposes of these provisions to the day they withdraw or become members of Parliament, or election day, in any other case.

The gifts or advantages to which these provisions apply are those "that might reasonably be seen to have been given to influence (the candidate) in the performance of his or her duties and functions as a member, were the candidate to be elected."

Exception: A candidate may accept a gift or other advantage that is given by a relative or as a normal expression of courtesy or protocol.

Reporting requirements: Within four months after election day, candidates must send the Chief Electoral Officer a statement with the name and address of every person or organization from which they received gifts or other advantages worth more than $500 during the candidacy period as defined in the Act. They must also report the nature of each gift, its commercial value and cost, if any, to the candidate, and the circumstances under which it was given. This statement is confidential, but may be examined by the authorities that prosecute offences under the Canada Elections Act.

Definitions: Certain definitions have been included in the Act for the purposes of these new provisions.

1. Gift or other advantage means:

a) an amount of money if there is no obligation to repay it

b) a service or property, or the use of property or money, that is provided without charge or at less than its commercial value

Contributions by an eligible individual within the limits set out in the Canada Elections Act or transfers as defined in section 404.2 of the Act are not considered gifts or other advantages for the purposes of these provisions.

2.Candidate:

For the purpose of these provisions, a person becomes a candidate on the earlier of:

a) the day on which he or she is selected at a nomination contest, or

b) the day on which the writ is issued for the election

3. Relative:

In the context of these provisions, a relative is defined as a person related to the candidate by marriage, common-law partnership, birth, adoption or affinity.

4. Common-law partnership:

If two persons have cohabited in a conjugal relationship for at least one year, the relationship is defined as a common-law partnership.

Elections Canada is an independent body set up by Parliament.

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