Frequently Asked Questions – Administrative Monetary Penalties
- What is an Administrative Monetary Penalty?
- What is a Notice of Violation?
- Why did I get an AMP?
- How is the amount of an AMP determined?
- What are the minimum and maximum amounts of an AMP?
- I don't agree with the AMP I've been issued. How can I contest it?
- What happens when I request a review?
- Are there consequences if I don't pay the AMP within the required timeframe?
- Are AMPs made public?
- If I received an AMP, can I also be charged?
- Where can I find more information about AMPs?
What is an Administrative Monetary Penalty?
An Administrative Monetary Penalty (AMP) is part of the Commissioner of Canada Elections' (the Commissioner) compliance and enforcement toolkit under the Canada Elections Act and is designed to promote and ensure compliance, not to punish.
AMPs can be imposed by the Commissioner, or in certain cases by the Deputy Commissioner, by way of a Notice of Violation (NOV) to address certain types of violations under the Act, including those related to:
- illegal voting;
- third parties; and
- political financing.
They can also be imposed for failure to comply with the terms and conditions of a compliance agreement or undertaking, or with a requirement of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO).
If you have received a NOV, it is because the Commissioner has reasonable grounds to believe that you have committed a violation under the Act.
What is a Notice of Violation?
The NOV is the document that sets out the details of the violation and the amount of the AMP to be paid.
The NOV includes the following information:
- the alleged violation;
- a description of the act or omission;
- the amount of the AMP;
- the payment options available;
- the option of making an offer to sign an undertaking as an alternative to the AMP;
- the procedure for requesting a review of the NOV.
Why did I get an AMP?
AMPs are usually imposed when the Commissioner has reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a contravention of the Act. To address the violation, an AMP was deemed to be most appropriate compliance and enforcement tool.
How is the amount of an AMP determined?
Using factors set out in the Act, the Commissioner has adopted a general formula. The formula ensures fairness and consistency in the application of AMPs.
There are four (4) types of violations that can lead to an AMP. This categorization is based on the seriousness of the violation and its impact on the electoral process or the political financing regime.
Each of the four types has a baseline amount. This amount can be increased or decreased, depending on aggravating or mitigating factors.
A more detailed description of the different types of violations can be found in Section 6.0 of the Policy for the Administrative Monetary Penalties Regime at the Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections.
What are the minimum and maximum amounts of an AMP?
The minimum and maximum amounts of an AMP can vary depending on the type of violation and whether it was committed by an individual or an entity.
Except in cases of illegal voting, the minimum AMP for an individual is $50. The maximum AMP is $1,500.
For an entity, the minimum AMP is $300 and the maximum is $5,000.
Illegal voting carries its own minimum amount due to the serious nature of this type of violation (Type D violation). The minimum AMP for an illegal voting violation is $500, with a maximum of $1,500.
Complete details on how AMPs are calculated can be found in the Policy for the Administrative Monetary Penalties Regime at the Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections.
I don't agree with the AMP I've been issued. How can I contest it?
If you have been served with a NOV, you may ask for a review. You may challenge the violation itself, the amount of the penalty, or both. Your request must be made within 30 days after the day on which the NOV is served. Information on this topic is included with your NOV.
The review will be carried out by:
- the Commissioner, if the amount of the penalty is $500 or less in the case of an individual, or $1,500 or less in the case of a corporation or entity; or
- the CEO, if the amount of the penalty is more than $500 in the case of an individual, or more than $1,500 in the case of a corporation or entity.
A form to request a review is available on the Commissioner's website.
The Commissioner is responsible for reviewing NOVs that were issued by the Deputy Commissioner. The CEO will review NOVs that were issued by the Commissioner. The Commissioner or CEO will analyze all evidence and submissions in support of the request for a review and will usually make their decision within 90 days. The Commissioner or CEO's decision is based only on written evidence and submissions.
If the Commissioner or the CEO determine that the person is more likely than not to have committed the violation, the person is required to pay the penalty. The Commissioner or CEO can also reduce the amount of the penalty imposed, or can determine that the person did not commit the violation and the NOV is cancelled.
The decision stemming from a review cannot be appealed. However, it may be challenged by way of an application for judicial review under the Federal Courts Act.
What happens when I request a review?
Depending on who issued the NOV, either the Commissioner or the Chief Electoral Officer will be responsible for the review.
After you've submitted your request for review, you'll be asked to submit written evidence or information that supports your position. This can outline defences or provide new facts, including ones that were unknown at the time that the NOV was issued. They can also outline the existence of a mitigating factor that was not identified in the NOV.
Once you've provided your submission, the Deputy Commissioner or Commissioner have 15 days to determine if they also want to present additional arguments or written evidence. If so, this will be communicated both to you and the reviewer.
Once the 15-day timeline has elapsed, the file is submitted to the Commissioner or the Chief Electoral Officer, who conducts the review and usually renders their decision within 90 days. This timeframe may be extended if there are extraordinary circumstances or during an election period.
A copy of the Commissioner or CEO's decision will be sent to you. If the review is conducted by the Chief Electoral Officer, a copy of the decision is also sent to the Commissioner.
These decisions can not be appealed, however, under certain conditions it may be challenged by way of an application for judicial review under the Federal Courts Act.
Are there consequences if I don't pay the AMP within the required timeframe?
If the penalty is not paid within 30 days or after a review decision, it is considered a debt to the Crown which may be recovered in Federal Court.
Are AMPs made public?
Yes. When a person or entity has paid the AMP, or following the 30-day deadline after the refusal by the Commissioner to accept an undertaking or after a review decision, a short summary is made public on the Commissioner's website. This summary includes:
- the date that the violation took place;
- a description of the violation and the section of the Act to which it refers;
- the name of the individual or entity; and
- the amount of the AMP.
If I received an AMP, can I also face charges?
No. You cannot be subject to both an AMP and a prosecution for the same violation. AMPs also carry no possibility of imprisonment, no penal consequences and do not result in a criminal record.
Where can I find more information about AMPs?
For a more detailed explanation of the Commissioner's administration of the AMP regime under the Act, including how penalty amounts are determined, consult the Policy for the Administrative Monetary Penalty Regime.