What is the Election Compliance Audit Committee?
In accordance with the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 (the “MEA”), an Election Compliance Audit Committee (the “Committee”) is mandatory for all municipalities and school boards. Ontario municipalities are required to establish the Committee before October 1 of an election year and the term of office of the Committee is the same as the term of office of the City Council or School Board that takes office following the next regular election.
The Committee is an independent, statutory body whose responsibilities and powers are largely prescribed by the MEA. The Committee is responsible for reviewing and making decisions on applications for municipal election campaign finance compliance audits, and on reports from the City Clerk regarding apparent contraventions of contribution limits prescribed by the MEA, resulting from the regular municipal election or any by-election held during the term of office for the City Council for which the Committee was appointed.
Following consideration of applications for a compliance audit, the Committee may appoint an auditor to review campaign finances as required and decide whether to commence a legal proceeding against a candidate or a third party advertiser.
Following consideration of reports from the City Clerk, the Committee may decide whether to commence a legal proceeding against a contributor who appears to have exceeded the contribution limits prescribed by the MEA.
The Committee does not receive compliance audit applications for campaigns of School Board Trustees. Applications must be made to the secretary of the applicable school board.
The 2018-2022 Election Compliance Audit Committee’s term of office began on Saturday, December 1, 2018, and will end on Monday, November 14, 2022. The Committee members are:
- Douglas Wallace (Chair);
- Carmelle Bédard (Vice-Chair);
- Catherine Bergeron;
- Jason Huang; and
- Peter O’Callaghan.
Recruitment for the 2022-2026 Election Compliance Audit Committee
The deadline to submit an application to become a Committee member has closed.
The 2022-2026 Election Compliance Audit Committee’s term of office will begin on Tuesday, November 15, 2022, and end of Saturday, November 14, 2026.
A Selection Panel composed of the City Clerk, the Integrity Commissioner and the Auditor General, will recruit members as outlined in the report approved by City Council on Wednesday March 23, 2022, titled “Update on the 2022 Municipal Elections and amendments to Election-related By-laws and Policies”.
In accordance with the MEA, the Committee will be established by Sunday, October 1, 2022.
Who can submit compliance audit applications?
Under the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 (the “MEA”), any eligible elector who believes that a candidate or registered third party advertiser has contravened the campaign finance rules in the statute may apply for a compliance audit of that party’s election campaign finances.
Under Section 17 of the MEA, a person is considered to be an “eligible elector” for an election held in a municipality if, on Voting Day, they:
- reside in the local municipality or is the owner or tenant of land there, or the spouse of such owner or tenant;
- are a Canadian citizen;
- are at least 18 years old; and
- are not prohibited from voting under Subsection (3) or otherwise by law.
Subsection 17(3) further defines persons prohibited from voting as:
- A person who is serving a sentence of imprisonment in a penal or correctional institution;
- A corporation;
- A person acting as an executor or trustee or in any other representative capacity, except as a voting proxy. Under Subsection 44(1) of the Act, both the proxy and the individual who appoints the proxy must both be entitled to be electors in the local municipality; or
- A person who was convicted of a corrupt practice described in Subsection 90(3) of the Act (including giving, or promising to give, favourable consideration, money, or employment in exchange for a vote or the non-exercise of a vote), if 80 Voting Day in the current election is less than five years after Voting Day in the election in respect of which the person was convicted.
When can compliance audit applications be submitted?
There are currently no opportunities to submit a compliance audit application.
For the 2022 Municipal Elections, the first date a compliance audit application can be accepted is April 3, 2023.
In accordance with the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 (the “MEA”), applications for compliance audit must be made within 90 days after the latest of the following dates:
1. The initial financial statement filing date;
2. The date the candidate filed an initial financial statement, if the statement was filed within 30 days after the applicable filing date;
3. The candidate’s supplementary filing date, if any; or
4. The date on which the candidate’s extension, if any, expires.
How to submit a compliance audit application
To submit a compliance audit, eligible electors must:
- Complete the Application for a Municipal Election Compliance Audit for the City of Ottawa.
- Note: A separate form must be completed for each campaign compliance audit.
- Submit the completed form in person at the Elections Office during regular business hours.
Only applications related to candidates for municipal council and third party advertisers will be accepted by the Elections Office. Applications relating to candidates for School Board Trustee must be made to the secretary of the applicable school board.
All complete applications will be forwarded to the Committee for review.
Compliance audit application for School Board Trustees
|School board||2018-2022 term of office contact information for compliance audit applications|
|Ottawa-Carleton District School Board||Michèle Giroux 613-596-8211 ext. 8607 email@example.com|
|Ottawa Catholic School Board||Hilary Close 613-224-4455 ext. 2271 Corporate.Affairs@ocsb.ca|
|Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est||Annick Letang 613-746-3053 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario||Tara Gray 613-742-8960 ext. 2201 email@example.com|
Terms of reference and mandate for the 2022-2026 Election Compliance Audit Committee
As prescribed by Section 88.37 of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 (the “Act”), Ottawa City Council has approved the establishment of the Election Compliance Audit Committee (the “Committee”).
The Committee is responsible for reviewing and making decisions on applications for municipal election campaign finance compliance audits and on reports from the City Clerk respecting apparent contraventions of contribution limits.
With respect to applications for a compliance audit of the campaign finances of a candidate for municipal council or a registered third party, the Election Compliance Audit Committee shall be responsible for:
- Receiving and considering applications and determining whether the compliance audit should be granted or rejected. Applications to the Committee shall use a form prescribed by the City Clerk and be accompanied by a declaration confirming that the applicant:
- is an eligible elector in the City of Ottawa; and
- has reasonable grounds to believe that the candidate referenced in the application has contravened a provision of the Act relating to election campaign finances;
- Appointing an auditor, if the compliance audit is granted;
- Receiving the compliance audit report from the auditor; and
- Reviewing the auditor’s report and, if the report concludes that the candidate or registered third party appears to have contravened a provision of the Act relating to campaign finances, deciding whether legal proceedings should be commenced against the candidate.
The Committee is required to consider and render a decision on applications for compliance audits and reports from an auditor within 30 days of receipt.
With respect to reports from the City Clerk regarding apparent contraventions of contribution limits, the Election Compliance Audit Committee shall be responsible for:
- Receiving and considering report(s) from the City Clerk identifying each contributor to a candidate for office on council who appears to have contravened any of the contribution limits under Section 88.9 of the Act, and deciding whether to commence a legal proceeding against a contributor for an apparent contravention; and
- Receiving and considering report(s) from the City Clerk identifying each contributor to a registered third party who appears to have contravened any of the contribution limits under Section 88.13 of the Act, and deciding whether to commence a legal proceeding against a contributor for an apparent contravention.
The Committee is required to consider and render a decision on reports from the City Clerk within 30 days of receipt.
With respect to receiving information related to election compliance matters, the Committee may receive:
- Memoranda issued by the City Clerk to the Committee, including but not limited to a notice if no applications were received by the relevant application deadline, and the results of the City Clerk’s review of contributions if no over-contributions were identified. Such communications may be listed on the agenda for the following meeting of Committee; and
- Oral updates in open meeting, as required, in relation to matters that have been or are anticipated to be considered by the Committee during the 2022-2026 Term.
The Election Compliance Audit Committee will be comprised of five (5) members selected by the City Clerk, the Auditor General and the Integrity Commissioner. At least two (2) of the members shall be bilingual.
The following are not eligible to sit on the Election Compliance Audit Committee:
- Employees or officers of the City;
- Members of Council;
- Candidates of the municipal election for which the Committee is established; or
- Registered Third Parties in the municipality in the election for which the Committee is established.
Members must have a thorough understanding of municipal campaign finance rules such as retired municipal clerks and managers of elections, auditors, accountants, and lawyers.
Three members will be required for quorum.
An individual is ineligible to be a member of the Committee if they prepare the financial statements of, or have any other formal relationship with, any candidate running for office on City Council or any Registered Third Party during the term for which the Committee has been established.
The Election Compliance Audit Committee will meet as necessary for the purposes of reviewing an application for a compliance audit, a report from an auditor, or a report from the City Clerk regarding apparent contraventions of contribution limits set out in the Act. The Committee may also meet as necessary to organize and plan its work.
Meeting notices and agendas will be communicated through the City’s website.
The format and location of the meetings will be communicated by the City Clerk. Where applicable, electronic participation may be conducted by way of telephone or other electronic means, following instructions provided by the City Clerk in order to ensure that the meeting may proceed in the most transparent and successful manner under the circumstances.
The Chair and Vice-Chair shall be elected at the Committee’s first meeting.
Because the rules of procedural fairness require that both parties (applicant and candidate) have the opportunity to fully present evidence, Members of the Committee must be present throughout a hearing. A member of the Committee who arrives after a hearing has commenced will not be permitted to join the proceedings in progress.
Members of the Election Compliance Audit Committee shall serve the same term of office as the Council that takes office following a regular municipal election. Each new Committee shall be appointed by October 1 of a regular municipal election year.