What is a Compliance Audit Committee?

Compliance Audit Committees are required by the Municipal Elections Act (the “Act”) to consider applications requesting audits of candidates’ and registered third party advertisers’ campaign finances.

Section 88.37 of the Act requires a council or local board to establish a compliance audit committee before October 1 of an election year. The Act further states that the committee shall be composed of not fewer than three (3) and not more than seven (7) members, and shall not include:

  • employees or officers of the municipality or local board;
  • members of the council or local board;
  • any persons who are candidates in the election for which the committee is established; or
  • any persons who are registered third parties in the municipality in the election for which the committee is established.

For the 2022 municipal election, the City of Pickering has partnered with the Town of Ajax, the Regional Municipality of Durham, the City of Oshawa, and the Town of Whitby to form a Joint Compliance Audit Committee. Should a compliance audit application be received, the City Clerk shall select three (3) individuals from the roaster of members to serve on the Compliance Audit Committee in accordance with the approved Terms of Reference.

The mandate of the Compliance Audit Committee is considered complete at the end of the four year term of Council or when the Committee has disposed of any remaining matters in accordance with the Act, whichever is later.

Compliance Audit Application Process

Sections 88.33(1) and 88.35(1) of the Municipal Elections Act provides that an eligible elector, who believes on reasonable grounds that a candidate or registered third party has contravened a provision of the Act relating to election campaign finances, may apply for a compliance audit of the candidate’s election campaign finances. The application must be submitted to the City Clerk in writing, include the reasons for the application, and must be made within 90 days after the latest of the following dates:

  • the filing date for financial statements;
  • the date the candidate or registered third party filed a financial statement, if the statement was filed within 30 days after the applicable filing date;
  • the candidate’s or registered third party’s supplementary filing date, if any; or,
  • the date on which the candidate or third party advertiser’s extension, if any, expires.

Compliance audits can also be commenced if the City Clerk identifies that any contributor to a candidate or registered third party appears to have contravened any of the contribution limits under Section 88.9 or 88.13 of the Act.

The Compliance Audit Committee is responsible for the following:

  • Reviewing applications received within 30 days of receiving it, and decide whether the application should be granted or rejected. (If the request is granted, the Committee will appoint an auditor under the Public Accounting Act, 2004, to audit the candidate or registered third party’s election campaign finances).
  • Reviewing the auditor’s report within 30 days of receiving it, and it may, if the report concludes that the candidate appears to have contravened a provision of the Act relating to election campaign finances, commence a legal proceeding against the candidate or registered third party for the apparent contravention; or,
  • If the auditor’s report indicates that there was no apparent contravention of the Act and should the Committee finds that there were no reasonable grounds for the application, Council is entitled to recover the auditor’s costs from the applicant.

Members:

At the Council Meeting of June 27, 2022, By-law 7949/22, was enacted to establish the 2022-2026 Municipal Election Joint Compliance Audit Committee and Appoint a Roster of Individuals to serve on the Committee. The following individuals were appointed to the roster of members for the Committee:

  • Richard Austin
  • Joe Brown
  • Kalli Chapman
  • Gary Cohn
  • Kelly Gravelle
  • Paul Jones
  • Sachin Persaud

Terms of Reference:

At the Council Meeting of February 28, 2022, Report CLK 01-22, was approved through Resolution #818/22, to give authority to approve the Terms of Reference for the 2022 Municipal Election Joint Compliance Audit Committee.