Political Financing Handbook for Electoral District Associations and Financial Agents (EC 20089) – August 2021
This chapter explains the rules and procedures for accepting and sending transfers. It covers the following topics:
- What is a transfer?
- Transfers sent to the registered association
- Transfers sent by the registered association
- Irregular transfers
What is a transfer?
A transfer is a provision of funds, property or services between specified political entities of the same political affiliation. Where specifically permitted under the Canada Elections Act, a transfer is not considered to be a contribution, and contribution rules therefore do not apply.
|Monetary transfer||Non-monetary transfer|
|A monetary transfer is a transfer of funds.||
A non-monetary transfer is a transfer of property or services. The amount of a non-monetary transfer is the commercial value of the property or service.
Unlike non-monetary contributions from individuals not in the business of providing that property or service, a non-monetary transfer has to be reported even if its commercial value is $200 or less.
Transfers are permitted only between related political entities (registered party, electoral district association, candidate and leadership or nomination contestant) of the same political affiliation.
However, not all types of entities are authorized to provide all types of transfers. For a quick reference guide to eligible and ineligible transfers, see the Transfers—types and rules table in Chapter 1, Reference Tables and Timelines.
Note: If an invoice requiring payment is prepared by one political entity and sent to its related political entity, together with the original supplier invoice representing the commercial value of the goods or services provided, this is not a transfer but a sale of goods or services from one entity to another.
Transfers sent to the registered association
Only the financial agent can accept transfers on the registered association's behalf. The following transfers may be accepted by a registered association:
- property, services or funds from the registered party or from any registered association of the registered party
- property, services or funds from a candidate of the registered party it is affiliated with
- funds from a nomination contestant to the registered association that held the nomination contest
- funds from a leadership contestant of the registered party it is affiliated with
If the registered association receives property or services from an affiliated political entity for less than the commercial value, the financial agent has to report the difference as a non-monetary transfer from the affiliated political entity.
After election day, the candidate's campaign transfers 100 unused signs and 750 recovered signs to the registered association. The commercial value of the 850 signs is calculated by the candidate's campaign, and the registered association reports the amount as a non-monetary transfer from the candidate.
Note: Transfers may not be accepted from provincial parties or electoral district associations of provincial parties. Transfers from a registered provincial division of a federal registered party are considered transfers from the registered party.
Transfers sent by the registered association
Only the financial agent can send transfers on the registered association's behalf.
The registered association may transfer property, services or funds to the following political entities:
- the registered party it is affiliated with
- another registered association of the registered party
- a candidate
For transfers to a candidate, the following should be kept in mind:
- before an election is called, transfers from the association to a candidate are allowed
as long as:
- the candidate has appointed an official agent
- in the case of monetary transfers, the official agent has opened a campaign bank account
- after election day, monetary transfers from the association to a candidate are allowed only to pay claims and loans related to the candidate's campaign
The registered association may transfer property or services, but not funds, to the following political entities:
- a nomination contestant, if the non-monetary transfer is offered equally to all contestants
- a leadership contestant, if the non-monetary transfer is offered equally to all contestants
The registered association purchases tablets and transfers them to the candidate. The financial agent sends a copy of the original supplier invoice to the candidate's campaign and reports the commercial value of the tablets as a non-monetary transfer. The candidate's official agent reports the same commercial value as an electoral campaign expense and as a non-monetary transfer from the registered association.
Note: A deregistered association may not send transfers, except as permitted after an electoral boundaries readjustment or party merger. For more information, see Voluntary and involuntary deregistration of a registered association in Chapter 1, Reference Tables and Timelines.
When the registered association sends or accepts a transfer that is not permitted under the Canada Elections Act, the consequences will depend on the sender, recipient and transfer type.
The tables below deal with irregular transfers between affiliated political entities only.
|Recipient of irregular transfer sent by association||Transfer type||Consequence|
|Monetary||Prohibited transfer with offences for sender and recipient; not a contribution|
|Non-monetary, not offered equally to all contestants||Prohibited transfer with offence for sender; not a contribution|
A registered association sends funds to its preferred contestant in the party’s leadership contest. This is not an allowable transfer. Both the financial agent who sent the funds and the financial agent who accepted them have committed an offence.
|Sender of irregular transfer accepted by association||Transfer type||Consequence|
|Nomination contestant in contest not held by association||Any||Improper surplus disposal with offence for sender; not a contribution|
|Nomination contestant in contest held by association||Non-monetary||If capital asset, improper surplus disposal with offence for sender; not a contribution*|
|Leadership contestant||Non-monetary||If capital asset, improper surplus disposal with offence for sender; not a contribution*|
*Remaining non-capital assets or services can be provided to the association, but they must either be sold to the association or contributed by the contestant as a personal non-monetary contribution.
After holding a nomination contest, a registered association accepts tablets valued at $300 each from a contestant’s campaign. This is not an allowable transfer. It is an improper disposal of surplus by the contestant that will need to be corrected. To properly dispose of the tablets, which are capital assets, the campaign should have sold the tablets at fair market value and transferred the proceeds of the sale to the association or party.
For a detailed discussion of this topic, please refer to Elections Canada's interpretation note 2020-07, Irregular Transfers Between Affiliated Political Entities, on the Elections Canada website.