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Referendum Act (S.C. 1992, c. 30)

Full Document:  

Act current to 2024-05-28 and last amended on 2023-04-27. Previous Versions

Conduct of Referendum (continued)

Marginal note:Lists made available

  •  (1) On a request made before Friday, the tenth day before polling day, by an agent designated in writing for an electoral district by the leader of a registered referendum committee, a federal party or a provincial party, the returning officer for the electoral district shall

    • (a) before Monday, the seventh day before polling day, furnish the agent with one copy of the certified preliminary list of electors for any polling division in the electoral district specified by the agent; and

    • (b) before polling day, furnish the agent with one copy of any amendments to the certified preliminary list of electors and one copy of the lists of electors who have voted in that polling division before polling day.

  • Marginal note:Misuse prohibited

    (2) No person shall, for any purpose not related to the conduct of the referendum or an election, copy or use a list or any part of a list furnished to an agent under this section.

Marginal note:Appointment of agents

  •  (1) The agent of each registered referendum committee designated pursuant to subsection 10(1) may appoint in writing one agent of the committee to be present when voting is taking place at each polling station in the electoral districts in which it indicated, in its application for registration under section 13, it intends to support or oppose the referendum question.

  • Marginal note:Appointment of witnesses

    (2) In the absence at a polling station in an electoral district of an agent of at least one of the registered referendum committees that support the referendum question or an agent of at least one of those committees that oppose the question or if there is no registered referendum committee that supports or opposes the question in that district, the returning officer for the district shall, as far as possible, appoint a person who supports or opposes the question, as the case may be, to act as a witness at that polling station when voting is taking place.

  • Marginal note:Rights and obligations

    (3) Each agent of a registered referendum committee, and each witness, appointed for a polling station in an electoral district has, for the purposes of proceedings at the polling station, all the rights and obligations under the Canada Elections Act of a candidate’s agent for that polling station.

Marginal note:Appointments in writing and on oath

 Every person appointed pursuant to section 11 shall be appointed in writing and shall take such oath of office as the Chief Electoral Officer may specify.

  • 1992, c. 30, s. 12
  • 1996, c. 35, s. 90

Registration of Referendum Committees

Marginal note:Application for registration

  •  (1) A referendum committee may apply for registration for the purposes of a referendum by filing with the Chief Electoral Officer, at any time during the referendum period, an application in accordance with this section.

  • Marginal note:Contents of application

    (2) An application for registration shall be signed by the leader of the referendum committee and shall

    • (a) set out

      • (i) the full name of the committee,

      • (ii) the name, address and telephone number of the leader of the committee,

      • (iii) the address and telephone number of the office of the committee where its books and records are kept and of the office to which communications may be addressed,

      • (iv) the name, address, telephone number and title of each officer of the committee,

      • (v) the name, address and telephone number of the auditor of the committee, and

      • (vi) the name, address and telephone number of the chief agent of the committee;

    • (b) indicate the electoral districts in which the committee intends to support or oppose the referendum question; and

    • (c) be accompanied by two statements, one signed by the person named pursuant to subparagraph (a)(v) and the other signed by the person named pursuant to subparagraph (a)(vi), that the signer has accepted the appointment as auditor or chief agent, as the case may be, of the committee.

  • Marginal note:Examination and disposition of application

    (3) Forthwith on receipt of an application for registration of a referendum committee, the Chief Electoral Officer shall examine the application and determine whether the committee can be registered and shall

    • (a) if the committee can be registered, register it and so inform the person who signed the application; or

    • (b) if the committee cannot be registered, inform the person who signed the application that the committee cannot be registered and indicate the reason why it cannot be registered.

  • Marginal note:Restrictions on registration

    (4) A referendum committee cannot be registered if

    • (a) the application for registration does not comply with this section; or

    • (b) the name of the committee so resembles the name of a previously registered referendum committee that the committee is likely to be confused with that previously registered referendum committee.

  • Marginal note:Idem

    (5) A referendum committee cannot be registered if the name or logo of the committee is the name or logo of a federal party or a provincial party or so resembles such a name or logo that the committee is likely to be confused with the party, unless the committee is that party.

  • Marginal note:Name of parties

    (6) For the purposes of subsection (5), the name of a party means

    • (a) the full name of the party; and

    • (b) any name, or abbreviation of a name, used to identify the party in election documents.

  • Marginal note:Examination in order of receipt

    (7) Applications for registration shall be examined in the order in which they were received by the Chief Electoral Officer.

  • Marginal note:Amendment of information

    (8) Subject to subsections 18(2) and (3), where a referendum committee is registered and any information given by the committee pursuant to subsection (2) or this subsection ceases to be applicable or to be complete or accurate, the committee shall forthwith send a report in writing, signed by the leader or chief agent of the committee, to the Chief Electoral Officer setting out such information as is necessary to bring the information up to date.

  • Marginal note:Validity of registration

    (9) The registration of a referendum committee for the purposes of a referendum is valid only for that referendum.

  • 1992, c. 30, s. 13
  • 2000, c. 9, s. 566(F)

Referendum Expenses and Contributions

Marginal note:Restriction on contributions

 No registered referendum committee shall accept contributions from

  • (a) an individual who is not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident;

  • (b) a corporation that does not carry on business in Canada;

  • (c) a trade union that does not hold bargaining rights for employees in Canada; or

  • (d) a foreign government or an agent thereof.

Marginal note:Limit on referendum expenses

  •  (1) No person or group, other than a registered referendum committee, shall incur referendum expenses during a referendum period that, in the aggregate, exceed five thousand dollars.

  • Marginal note:Idem

    (2) No registered referendum committee shall incur referendum expenses during a referendum period that, in the aggregate, exceed the product obtained by multiplying the number referred to in subsection (3) by the number of names appearing on all preliminary lists of electors at the referendum for the electoral districts in which the committee indicated, in its application for registration under section 13, it intends to support or oppose the referendum question.

  • Marginal note:Escalator

    (3) For the purposes of subsection (2), the number

    • (a) for the year commencing on April 1, 1992, is 56.4 cents; and

    • (b) for the year commencing on any subsequent April 1 is the product obtained by multiplying 30 cents by the fraction published pursuant to subsection 39(2) of the Canada Elections Act for that year.

  • Marginal note:Records

    (4) Every registered referendum committee shall keep such record of the referendum expenses and contributions of the committee as the Chief Electoral Officer may prescribe.

  • Marginal note:Bank accounts

    (5) Every registered referendum committee shall, with any of the following financial institutions, keep such accounts and make such deposits therein and payments therefrom as the Chief Electoral Officer may prescribe:

    • (a) a member of the Canadian Payments Association; and

    • (b) any local cooperative credit society that is a member of a central cooperative credit society having membership in the Canadian Payments Association.

Marginal note:Payment out of contributions

  •  (1) A registered referendum committee that incurs referendum expenses during the referendum period shall pay the expenses out of contributions received by it during or after that period, except that it shall not knowingly pay them out of contributions accepted contrary to subsection (4).

  • Marginal note:Use of borrowed money

    (2) Money provided to a registered referendum committee in the manner and under the conditions described in paragraph (a) of the definition contribution in subsection 2(1) may be used to pay referendum expenses incurred by the committee during the referendum period.

  • Marginal note:Repayment of borrowed money

    (3) Before the chief agent of a registered referendum committee files the referendum finances return with the Chief Electoral Officer, the committee shall repay any money provided and used as described in subsection (2) and pay any interest thereon or other charges or costs of obtaining it out of contributions received by the committee during or after the referendum period.

  • Marginal note:No contributions after return filed

    (4) No person shall accept a contribution on behalf of a registered referendum committee after the chief agent of the committee has filed the referendum finances return.

  • Marginal note:Repayment of contribution

    (5) Any person who accepts a contribution contrary to subsection (4) shall return the amount of the contribution to the contributor or, if that is not possible, shall pay that amount to Her Majesty in right of Canada.

  • Marginal note:Idem

    (6) Where the aggregate of all contributions received by a registered referendum committee exceeds the aggregate of all referendum expenses and other expenses incurred by the committee before the chief agent of the committee files the referendum finances return with the Chief Electoral Officer, the committee shall return the amount of the excess to the contributors in proportion to their contributions or, to the extent that a return is not possible, shall pay to Her Majesty in right of Canada an amount equal to the amount of the excess that is not returnable.

  • Marginal note:Debt due to Her Majesty

    (7) Any amount not paid as required by subsection (5) or (6) is a debt due to Her Majesty in right of Canada and is recoverable as such in any court of competent jurisdiction.

Agents and Auditors

Marginal note:Registry of chief agents

 The Chief Electoral Officer shall maintain a registry of chief agents of registered referendum committees in which shall be recorded the name, address and telephone number of the chief agent of each such committee.

Marginal note:Appointment of chief agent and auditor

  •  (1) Every referendum committee that intends to apply for registration under section 13 shall, before applying, appoint a chief agent and an auditor.

  • Marginal note:Appointment of new chief agent

    (2) Where the position of chief agent of a registered referendum committee or of a referendum committee that has applied for registration becomes vacant or the chief agent is unable to perform the duties of chief agent, the committee shall forthwith appoint a new chief agent and file with the Chief Electoral Officer a notice in writing, signed by the leader of the committee, of the name, address and telephone number of the new chief agent and a statement, signed by the new chief agent, that the signer has accepted the appointment as chief agent of the committee.

  • Marginal note:Appointment of new auditor

    (3) Where the position of auditor of a registered referendum committee or of a referendum committee that has applied for registration becomes vacant or the auditor ceases to be qualified as an auditor or becomes ineligible to act as an auditor before having complied with this Act in respect of any referendum finances return of the committee, the committee shall forthwith appoint a new auditor and file with the Chief Electoral Officer a notice in writing, signed by the leader of the committee, of the name, address and telephone number of the new auditor and a statement, signed by the new auditor, that the signer has accepted the appointment as auditor of the committee.

  • Marginal note:Election officers ineligible

    (4) No returning officer or assistant returning officer, or the partner or employee of any of them, shall act as chief agent or auditor of any registered referendum committee.

Marginal note:Return by chief agent

  •  (1) Within four months after polling day at a referendum, the chief agent of each registered referendum committee shall file with the Chief Electoral Officer a true return, signed by the chief agent, substantially in prescribed form and containing detailed statements of

    • (a) all referendum expenses incurred by the committee;

    • (b) the amount of the contributions received during and after the referendum period by the committee from each of the following classes of contributors:

      • (i) individuals,

      • (ii) corporations the shares of which are publicly traded,

      • (iii) corporations the shares of which are not publicly traded,

      • (iv) trade unions,

      • (v) corporations without share capital, other than trade unions,

      • (vi) political parties,

      • (vii) governments, and

      • (viii) other groups;

    • (c) the number of contributors in each class described in paragraph (b); and

    • (d) the name of each contributor, listed according to the classes described in paragraph (b), that made one or more contributions to the committee during or after the referendum period that exceeded, or the aggregate of which exceeded, two hundred and fifty dollars and, in each case, the amount of the contribution or aggregate.

  • Marginal note:Other documents

    (2) Each return shall include the auditor’s report thereon and the originals of all bills, vouchers and receipts related thereto and be accompanied by an affidavit or statutory declaration made by the chief agent in prescribed form.

Marginal note:Auditor’s report

  •  (1) The auditor of a registered referendum committee shall make a report to the chief agent of the committee on the referendum finances return of the committee and shall make such examinations as will enable the auditor to state in the report whether in the auditor’s opinion the return presents fairly the financial transactions contained in the accounting records on which it is based.

  • Marginal note:Explanatory statement

    (2) An auditor’s report shall contain such statements as the auditor considers necessary where

    • (a) the referendum finances return does not present fairly the information contained in the accounting records on which it is based;

    • (b) the auditor has not received from agents and officers of the committee all the information and explanations that the auditor required; or

    • (c) proper accounting records have not been kept by the committee, so far as appears from the auditor’s examination.

  • Marginal note:Right of access

    (3) The auditor of a registered referendum committee is entitled to have access at all reasonable times to all records, documents, books, accounts, bills, vouchers and receipts of the committee, and is entitled to require from agents and officers of the committee such information and explanations as in the auditor’s opinion may be necessary to enable the auditor to report as required by subsection (1).

 

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