Summary of the public consultation of the Policy for the Administrative Monetary Penalties Regime of the Commissioner of Canada Elections
In the fall of 2019, the Policy for the Administrative Monetary Penalties Regime of the Commissioner of Canada Elections (AMP Policy) underwent a six-week formal consultation where any interested person could submit comments.
The following is a summary of the main comments received during the consultation period and how they were addressed in the final version of the AMP Policy:
- It was suggested that the history of compliance with legislation of provincial, territorial, and local or municipal elections should be specifically referenced as a factor that the Commissioner considers under paragraph 508.6(j) of the Act. As the Commissioner’s mandate relates to compliance with, and enforcement of, the federal electoral regime, this suggestion will not be considered as an aggravating or mitigating factor. In any event, it should be noted that the Commissioner does not readily have access to this information.
- Some comments suggested that the baseline amounts for the AMPs were too low to promote compliance with the Act. The Commissioner considered various options for determining the AMP amounts, and believes that the chosen approach ensures fairness while adequately dealing with the most serious contraventions. That said, the regime will be reviewed two years after it has been implemented, and AMP amounts will be part of the review.
- Suggestions were made with a view to reclassify certain violations. While analyzing the suggestions relating to the Act’s requirements for partisan advertising, the Commissioner realized that a few violations had been wrongly classified as Type B when they should have been categorized as Type C. With respect to the different classification for tagline requirements as they relate to third parties, on one hand, and parties and candidates, on the other, the Commissioner maintains that the harm done to transparency is potentially greater when third parties fail to identify themselves as required by the Act. Unlike for parties and candidates—for which contact information can be obtained through the registry of parties or their nomination papers—the Act’s tagline provisions for third parties require that they provide contact information. Without this information, it is often extremely challenging to identify the persons responsible for the group when the third party is not an entity such as a corporation or union, consequently making enforcement of the Act extremely difficult.
- Some suggested that additional examples of AMP calculations for the various types of violations would be helpful. Additional examples were included in the final version of the AMP Policy.
- A number of editorial changes were made to the final version of the AMP Policy, as well as clarifying certain aspects of the application of the AMP regime. For example, the fact that a violation is committed by a volunteer can, in certain circumstances, be taken into consideration when choosing the appropriate compliance and enforcement measure, or as a mitigating factor in the calculation of the AMP. An additional example was included to clarify when the publication of the Notice of Violation occurs when a person has requested a review of said Notice of Violation.