News Releases: Commissioner of Canada Elections

Commissioner of Canada Elections Accepts an
Undertaking from Bill Morneau

Gatineau, September 10, 2020

The Commissioner of Canada Elections has accepted an undertaking from Mr. William F. Morneau Jr. to address events that occurred in the lead-up to the 2019 federal general election.

During the pre-election period for the 43rd general election, Mr. Morneau participated in a series of department-supported events in his capacity as federal Minister of Finance. In addition to community and business leaders, there were prospective Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) candidates in attendance at the events, which were held in the electoral districts of Oakville and Dufferin—Caledon. Mr. Morneau promoted these prospective candidates, which caused the expenses related to those events to benefit the LPC.

Ministers are prohibited from using public resources and funds from their departmental budgets for partisan purposes. The Prime Minister's guide to ministers entitled Open and Accountable Government specifically requires all official Government of Canada communications products and activities be devoid of partisan content. Mr. Morneau's failure to exercise due diligence therefore resulted in a circumvention of the rule at section 363 of the Canada Elections Act (the Act), and therefore, a contravention of paragraph 368(1)(a).

The full text of the undertaking is available on the Commissioner of Canada Elections' website at:

An undertaking is a pledge made by a person or entity that did not comply with a requirement of the Act. The undertaking is accepted by the Commissioner as a means of addressing situations of non-compliance and may be entered into when a person or entity has committed a violation or when a notice of violation imposing an administrative monetary penalty (AMP) has been served to a person or entity for a violation of the Act. Undertakings contain the terms and conditions that the Commissioner considers appropriate, which may include the payment of an amount, and are made public on the Commissioner's website. Failure to comply with any terms or conditions of an undertaking may result in the Commissioner issuing a notice of violation imposing an AMP. More information about undertakings can be found at section 521.13 of the Act.

The Commissioner of Canada Elections is the independent officer responsible for ensuring compliance with, and enforcement of, the Canada Elections Act and the federal Referendum Act.

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