What is a Compliance Audit?
A compliance audit is an audit of a candidate's or registered third party's election campaign finances and their compliance with the provisions of the Municipal Elections Act (MEA) related to election campaign finances.
What is a Municipal Compliance Audit Committee?
Section 88.37 of Municipal Elections Act, 1996 (MEA) requires all municipalities and local boards to establish a compliance audit committee. In accordance with the MEA, the Municipal Election Compliance Audit Committee is composed of no more than three (3) and not more than seven (7) members , and is responsible for considering applications when an eligible elector believes that a candidate or a registered third party has breached finance rules in the campaigning period.
The Municipal Election Compliance Audit Committee will:
- Consider a compliance audit application received by an elector and decide whether it should be granted or rejected
- Appoint an auditor to conduct a compliance audit of the candidates' or registered third party's campaign finances, if the application is granted
- Receive the auditor’s report
- Consider the auditor’s report and it may:
- Commence legal proceedings against the candidate or registered third party of an apparent conviction if the report concludes that the candidate appears to have contravened a provision of the MEA relating to election campaign finances
- Make a finding as to whether there were reasonable grounds for the application if the report concludes that the candidate or registered third party does not appear to have breached election campaign finance rules. Based on this finding, the Committee can recommend to Council whether or not to pursue the recovery of costs from the applicant.
Applying For a Compliance Audit
An elector who is entitled to vote in an election and believes on reasonable grounds that a candidate or registered third party has contravened a provision of the MEA relating to election campaign finances or advertisements may apply for a compliance audit of the candidate’s or third party's election campaign finances.
How Do I Apply for a Compliance Audit?
The Application for a Compliance Audit Request must be made completed and sworn in front of a commissioner and addressed to the City Clerk. It must also include the reasons for the elector’s belief that the candidate has contravened the MEA, and must be made within 90 days after the latest of:
(a) the filing date under section 88.25 of the MEA for candidates, section 88.29 for a registered third party;
(b) the candidate's supplementary filing date, if any, under section 88.25 of the MEA , section 88.29 for registered third parties; or;
(c) the filing date for the final financial statement under section 88.32 of the MEA; or
(d) the date on which the candidate’s extension, if any, under subsection 88.23(6) or section 88.27(3) for third party of the MEA.
*There is no fee associated with the application process*
An eligible elector can have the application sworn before a commissioner of oaths at the City Clerk’s Office when they file the application with the City Clerk:
City Clerk’s Office
3rd Floor of City Hall
300 Dufferin Ave London ON N6A 4L9
Monday to Friday (excluding holidays) 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
What Happens Next?
Within 10 days after receiving the application, the City Clerk will forward the application to the compliance audit committee for consideration.
Within 30 days after receiving the application, the committee will consider the application and decide whether it should be granted or rejected. The decision of the committee may be appealed to the Ontario Court of Justice within 15 days after the decision is made and the court may make any decision the committee could have made.
If the committee decides to grant the application, it will appoint an auditor to conduct a compliance audit of the candidate’s or registered third party's election campaign finances. The auditor shall promptly conduct an audit of the candidate’s or registered third party's election campaign finances to determine whether he or she has complied with the provisions of this Act relating to election campaign finances and shall prepare a report outlining any apparent contravention by the candidate or registered third party. The auditor will submit the report to the following: the candidate or registered third party; the council or local board, as the case may be; the Municipal Clerk; the secretary of the local board, if applicable; and the applicant.
What if the Auditor's Report Finds That There Was No Apparent Contravention of the Act?
If the report indicates that there was no apparent contravention and the committee finds that there were no reasonable grounds for the application, the council or local board is entitled to recover the auditor’s costs from the applicant.