You've made the decision to become a candidate in the next federal election.
To get your name on the Keyword: ballot, you'll need to take a few steps.
Keyword: The Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy brought together past and current candidates to talk about how they became candidates.
(EC commissioned resource)
For a quick overview of what you need to know about becoming a candidate, check out this video made by our Political Financing team.
Check that you are allowed to become a candidate. Part 6 of the Canada Elections Act outlines the details.
Decide between running with a political party or as an independent candidate.
Select an official agent.
Have your official agent open a bank account for your campaign. You can do this before or after you have submitted your nomination. Once your bank account is open, you can start collecting and spending money for your campaign.
Get your Nomination Paper or create a Political Entities Service Centre (PESC) account to access the online nomination form.
Complete the nomination process.
Once the election is officially underway, submit your nomination to the returning officer.
Within 48 hours, receive confirmation from the returning officer that your nomination has been accepted. Congratulations, you're officially a candidate!
This is just a partial list. For the complete list, see section 65 of the Canada Elections Act.
If you have any questions about your eligibility to be a candidate, contact Elections Canada at 1 800‑486‑6563.
Make sure you are allowed to run as a candidate.
You can be a candidate for a Keyword: registered political party, as long as you are officially endorsed by that party. If the party endorses you, it means they have chosen you to represent them in your electoral district. The process for becoming a candidate for a political party is different for each party.
Check out this video on Launching your Bid (EC commissioned resource) or contact the party of your choice for more information on their candidate nomination process.
Check the Elections Canada list of Canada's registered federal political parties.
Here is another Elections Canada resource you might need if you decide to run for a political party: Becoming a political party nomination contestant. If a political party chooses you to represent them in a federal election, make sure they include your name on the list of endorsed candidates they give to Elections Canada.
In Launching your Bid, we explore some of the differences between running as a candidate of a political party and running as an independent candidate.
(EC commissioned resource)
Decide if you are going to run as a member of a political party, or as an independent.
Before you can become a candidate, accept any Keyword: contributions or spend any money related to your campaign, you must first choose your Keyword: official agent. Official agents play a key role in running a campaign, and their job continues until well after the election has passed. Watch this video, created by the Political Financing Team at Elections Canada, to learn more.
For more information about your official agent, check out this chart: Role and Appointment Process – Official Agent
Appoint your official agent. You can't become a candidate without one.
Before you start your campaign, your official agent opens your campaign bank account. There is a package for official agents developed by the Political Financing team at Elections Canada to help with the process.
Remember: You don't have to be a confirmed candidate to have an official agent, a bank account, or to spend or receive contributions. But, you cannot give tax receipts to anyone who gives contributions before you are officially confirmed by the returning officer. For more information, please see the Political Financing Handbook for Candidates and Official Agents (EC Resource).
Your official agent opens your campaign bank account.
The account needs to be with a Canadian financial institution, or an authorized foreign bank.
All transactions related to the campaign must go through the campaign bank account, unless they involve the payment of personal or litigation expenses.
The campaign bank account must only be used for the campaign and you cannot use an account used for a previous general election or by-election.
This bank account stays open until the campaign fulfills all financial obligations, such as paying back any loans and submitting reports with Elections Canada.
Decide how your team will keep track of election expenses to make sure that you do not spend more than you are allowed to (see Chapter 7: Electoral Campaign Expenses, in the Political Financing Handbook for Candidates and Official Agents).
Get your Nomination Paper from your returning officer or the Elections Canada website.
Use this chart to make sure you've filled out all the sections of the Nomination Paper. The online nomination form in the Political Entities Service Centre (PESC) makes this easy!
|Section||Details||Who is involved?|
Give your name and other personal information. You'll need to provide proof of identification using ID from this list.
If the name you want to appear on the ballot is different from your given name, you will need to prove that you are known by that name using ID from this list.
List your Keyword: political affiliation (the name of the political party you're running for), or “independent” (if you will not run for a political party) or leave this line blank.
You (the candidate)
Confirm with your political party that they've included your name on their list of endorsed candidates.
Make the candidate's solemn declaration before an authorized individual.
A witness who meets the criteria in subsection 549(1) of the Canada Elections Act must receive your declaration free of charge.
You (the candidate)
An individual who is authorized to receive solemn declarations can include
This section is optional. If you choose to authorize someone to act on your behalf for certain purposes during the election, you must fill out this section. This person is called the campaign delegate. The campaign delegate can submit the Nomination
You (the candidate) and your campaign delegate
Give the name and other personal information for your official agent. The official agent also signs the privacy notice and declaration page.
Complete this section if you need an auditor. Your campaign needs an auditor if
You might not need to fill out this part of the form now. If you meet these requirements later, you must come back and complete Section D of the Nomination Paper with the auditor's information.
The auditor signs the privacy notice and declaration page.
Auditor (if you need one)
This section is optional. You can choose to give the telephone number, website or links to social media platforms to be included in the Voter Information Service on Elections Canada's website.
This information can help electors access your campaign information.
You (the candidate) or your campaign delegate
Fill out all the parts of the Nomination Paper.
Get your Nomination Paper to your returning officer by 2:00 p.m. on the 21st day before the election.
Make an appointment with the returning officer to make sure everything is done. If you file online, call your returning officer to receive your nomination submission key.
Make sure that the returning officer receives all your documents before the close of nominations.
Nominations can be filed in person at your Elections Canada office or electronically using the Political Entities Service Centre (PESC) Portal.
If you file online, your returning officer will give you a nomination submission key.
Submit your papers early! That way you have time to fix anything if the returning officer asks you to make changes.
It's a good idea to make an appointment with the returning officer when you are ready to file.
Check that the names and addresses of the electors who signed Section F are easy to read, complete and clear. This will help the returning officer review your file quickly.
Get more signatures than you need – we recommend getting 50 more than required. That way, if there are any issues with any of the electors on your list when your returning officer reviews the signatures, you will still have enough. Once nominations are closed, you cannot provide more signatures.
You can make a few changes, such as your name, address, and occupation, once your nomination has been confirmed. These changes must be made before 5:00 p.m. on the closing day for nominations.
Filing your documents online is a good way to make sure you have everything covered. The online application won't let you file if documents are missing from your submission.
Your Nomination Paper needs to be filed by 2:00 p.m. on the 21st day before the election. Double check the following:
After you submit your nomination, the returning officer has 48 hours to review your Nomination Paper and confirm the electors' signatures. The returning officer will contact you to let you know if your nomination has been confirmed or refused.
Reminder: If your Nomination Paper is incomplete, you may correct it or file a new copy before the close of nominations (2:00 p.m. on the 21st day before election day).
If you have more questions about the nomination process, visit our website.
You can withdraw your name as a candidate up until 5:00 p.m. on the closing day for nominations. Give the returning officer a written statement signed by you and two electors from your electoral district.
The returning officer confirms that your Nomination Paper has been accepted. You're officially a candidate!