Commissioner Of Canada Elections
Canada Elections Act
This notice is published by the Commissioner of Canada Elections, pursuant to section 521.34 (2) of the Canada Elections Act, S.C. 2000, c. 9.
On April 15, 2020, the Commissioner of Canada Elections accepted an undertaking from Unifor, pursuant to section 521.13 of the Canada Elections Act. The text of the undertaking is set out in full below.
May 22, 2020
Pursuant to section 521.13 of the Canada Elections Act (the Act), the Commissioner of Canada Elections (the Commissioner) has accepted this undertaking from Unifor. The undertaking is aimed at ensuring compliance with the Act.
The relevant provisions of the Act are paragraph 357.03(b) and section 508.1, which make it a violation for a third party to file an interim third-party expenses return that does not substantially set out the required information.
Statements by Unifor
For the purpose of this undertaking, Unifor acknowledges the following:
- Laura Johnson has been duly authorized by Unifor to sign this undertaking on its behalf.
- Unifor was a registered third party during the 43rd federal general election, which was held on October 21, 2019. As a registered third party that incurred regulated third-party expenses, it submitted four interim third-party expenses returns in the months before polling day for the general election, including a final interim report that was due seven days before polling day.
- On Saturday, October 5, 2019, Unifor had held a ‘Pancakes and Politics’ event at the Oxford Heights Community Club, in Winnipeg, during which the campaign for the election of the New Democratic Party candidate for the electoral district of Elmwood—Transcona, Mr. Daniel Blaikie (NDP candidate), was promoted. Approximately 20 Unifor members and staff were in attendance.
- Unifor’s expenses for this event totaled $1,446.69, and included costs for venue rental, food and supplies, and travel expenses for one staff member. This total amount also included pro-rated salary expenses for Unifor staff in attendance, and a per diem paid to one staff member.
- The costs incurred for this event constitute partisan activity expenses pursuant to the Act, since the Unifor event promoted the NDP candidate.
- Unifor reviewed various activities it had conducted during the 43rd general election after having being contacted by the Office of the Commissioner in relation to other activities that, ultimately, were not found to have breached the Act. During this review of its activities, Unifor identified—on its own initiative—its failure to have considered these particular event costs as having been partisan activity expenses.
- Unifor self-reported this error and has since filed its final third-party expenses return with Elections Canada, containing the above-noted partisan activity expenses.
Factors considered by the Commissioner
In accepting this undertaking, the Commissioner took into account the factors set out in paragraph 32 of the Compliance and Enforcement Policy of the Commissioner of Canada Elections. In particular, the Commissioner considered the facts that:
- Unifor co-operated fully and in good faith with a Commissioner’s investigation into allegations surrounding certain unrelated expenses. The investigation of these allegations did not uncover any breach of the Act. However, in the process of reviewing their election-related activities as part of that investigation, Unifor identified a situation where partisan activity expenses had not been reported in its last interim third-party expenses return;
- Unifor took steps to report this violation, and provided a final return to Elections Canada that included these partisan activity expenses;
- The expenses that were not reported in the last interim third-party expenses return represent 0.1% of the $1,405,398.65 in total regulated expenses for the pre-election and election periods that Unifor reported in its final expenses return; and
- Unifor’s offer of this undertaking will enhance future compliance by others by making these new rules better known to other third parties
Terms and conditions
Unifor undertakes to instruct its Director of Membership Mobilization and Political Action, in writing, to provide training to Unifor political action organizers on what constitutes a regulated activity for the purposes of the Act. Unifor will provide this training in order to assist its political action organizers in their organization of activities to be held during future regulated pre-election and election periods. Unifor will provide evidence that this written instruction was issued to its Director within 30 days of receiving notice of the signing of the undertaking by the Commissioner.
Pursuant to subsection 521.13(4) of the Act, the Commissioner has informed Unifor that this undertaking will be published on the Commissioner's website, as required by subsection 521.34(2) of the Act.
The Commissioner agrees that the fulfillment by Unifor of its obligations as stated herein will constitute compliance with the undertaking. In accordance with section 508.1 of the Act, failure to comply with any provision of this undertaking may result in the Commissioner issuing a notice of violation imposing an administrative monetary penalty against Unifor and/or its directors, officers, agents or mandataries.
Signed on behalf of Unifor in the City of Toronto, in the province of Ontario, this 9th day of April, 2020.
Signed by the Commissioner of Canada Elections, in the City of Gatineau, in the province of Quebec, this 15th day of April, 2020.
Yves Côté, QC
Commissioner of Canada Elections