An elector who is concerned about a candidate's election finances and wishes to challenge them can file a compliance audit request.
What is a compliance audit?
Candidates for municipal council and school board trustee positions are bound by specific election campaign finance rules and must file provincially prescribed financial statements with the Municipal Clerk outlining their campaign finance activities.
Any voter who is entitled to vote in an election and believes on reasonable grounds that a candidate has contravened a provision of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 (MEA) relating to election campaign finances, may apply for a compliance audit of the candidate’s campaign finances.
A compliance audit is an audit of a candidate's election campaign finances and their compliance with the provisions of the MEA related to election campaign finances.
An application for a compliance audit must be addressed to the Municipal Clerk. This application must be in writing and set out the reasons for the elector’s belief within 90 days after the candidate’s financial filing date. Note: the 90-day period does not start earlier than March 31, 2023.
The Municipality of Clarington's 2022-26 Election Compliance Audit Committee is an independent, statutory body that receives and makes decisions on applications for compliance audits of candidates' municipal election campaign finances.
The powers and functions of the Committee are set out in the Municipal Elections Act, 1996. The Clarington Municipal Election Compliance Audit Committee consists of three members with an alternate. It does not include employees or officers of the municipality, members of the council, or any persons who were candidates in the election for which the committee is established. The Committee holds the same term of office as council.
The Committee will:
- Within 30 days of receiving the compliance audit written letter of application, consider whether an application should be granted or rejected.
- If the application is granted, appoint an auditor to conduct a compliance audit of the candidate's election campaign finances.
- Receive the auditor's report.
- Within 30 days of receiving the auditor's report, consider the report and decide whether legal proceedings should begin or make a finding whether there were reasonable grounds for the application.
- Recommend to Clarington Council whether or not to pursue the recovery of the costs of conducting the compliance audit from the applicant if the auditor's report indicates there were no apparent contraventions and if it appears there were no reasonable grounds for the application.
Read more about the Clarington Municipal Election Compliance Audit Committee.
Application for an Election Compliance Audit
What steps do I take if I have a concern about a candidate's election campaign finances?
- Contact the Municipal Clerk and see if further information can be provided that answers your questions or concerns.
- If you believe that a candidate's election campaign finances contravened the Municipal Elections Act, submit the Compliance Audit Committee application form to the Municipal Clerk.
How to apply for an election compliance audit
Submit an application for a compliance audit and deliver your written information with original signature to the Municipal Clerk within 90 days of the candidate's filing date. Note: the 90-day period does not start earlier than March 31, 2023.
- Your application form must include:
- Notice that you are eligible to vote as an elector in the municipal elections.
- Your name and contact information, including mailing address, phone number and email address (if applicable).
- Name of the candidate whose election finances you are requesting a compliance audit for and the office they were running for in the election.
- The reasons you believe the candidate has contravened the provisions of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 relating to municipal election campaign finances.
- Any other relevant information.
- Your original signature.
Email, mail, or deliver your request for a compliance audit to, such that it is received before the deadline to the Municipal Clerk, Municipality of Clarington, 40 Temperance Street, Bowmanville, ON L1C 3A6.
In accordance with section 81(3) of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, the Municipal Clerk must receive all applications within 90 days after the latest of:
- The filing date under section 78;
- The candidate's supplementary filing date, if any, under section 78;
- The filing date for the final financial statement under section 79.1; or
- The date on which the candidate's extension, if any, under section 80(4) expires.
Within 10 days after receiving the application, the Clerk will forward the application to the compliance audit committee.
Within 30 days after the committee has received the application, the committee will consider the application and decide if it should be granted or rejected.
The committee's decision may be appealed to the Superior 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 election campaign finances.
The auditor will promptly conduct an audit of the candidate’s election campaign finances and prepare a report outlining any apparent contravention by the candidate.
The auditor will submit the report to the candidate, the Municipal Clerk, and the applicant. Within 10 days after receiving the report, the Clerk will forward the report to the compliance audit committee.
The committee will consider the report within 30 days after receiving it. If the report concludes that the candidate appears to have contravened a provision of the Act relating to election campaign finances, the committee will decide whether to initiate a legal proceeding against the candidate for the apparent contravention.