With a federal election scheduled for October 19, 2015, recent
amendments to the Canada Elections Act will soon be put
into practice. The Fair Elections Act (FEA) passed on June
12, 2014, has increased individual contribution limits and changed
elector identification requirements.
Contributions to political parties, associations or candidates
by persons or entities other than Canadian citizens or permanent
residents continue to be prohibited, so no corporate or union
contributions are allowed. However, the FEA has increased
contribution limits from C$1,200 to C$1,500 as of January 1, 2015.
Accordingly, under the new rules, no individual is permitted to
make contributions exceeding, in any given calendar year:
C$1,500 to a registered party;
C$1,500 to a registered party's
candidates, nomination contestants and registered associations;
C$1,500 to any leadership
The amounts of all individual contributions, guarantees and
unpaid balances on loans entered into during the relevant
contribution period all count towards an individual's overall
contribution limit. These contributions apply to the full calendar
year, whether or not there is an election period in that year.
The new identification requirements established by the FEA
permit electors to identify themselves in one of three ways:
By showing one piece of
government-issued identification that includes your name, address
and photo, such as a driver's licence (a passport is not
sufficient for this purpose)
By showing one piece of
identification that includes your name and a second piece of
identification that includes both your name and address
By showing two pieces of
identification that include your name, swearing a written oath with
respect to your residence and having your residence attested to on
oath by another elector
These new identification requirements effectively remove the
practice of vouching, whereby electors who met the identification
requirements were able to attest to the name and address of
electors who were unable to meet these requirements. Under the new
rules, electors can have a third party take an oath with respect to
their address, but must still produce two pieces of identification
that include their name. In addition, the use of voter information
cards as a form of identification is now explicitly prohibited.
These new requirements will change the way certain classes of
voters establish eligibility to vote. For example, young adults
living at home who do not have a driver's license will now be
required to bring one piece of identification showing their name,
such as a health card, Canadian passport, birth certificate, credit
card, debit card, or student card, and one piece of identification
showing their address, such as a bank statement, credit card
statement, personal cheque, or income tax assessment.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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