Political parties are groups of people with shared views, who form organizations that create or
influence government by competing in elections. To have candidates on a ballot in a federal election,
parties must be registered with Elections Canada. Parties can organize themselves in a variety of ways.
Here’s an example:
The party leader is the head of both the
parliamentary caucus and the party. He or she
makes key decisions about the direction of the
party and platform. Party members typically vote
to select a leader.
Parliamentary caucus is made up of those
Parliamentarians (MPs, and sometimes Senators)
from a single party who have the leader’s
permission to participate. It convenes weekly
behind closed doors and allows members to bring
forward views privately.
Political staff are paid for by Parliament and
serve the MP that hires them. They hold a variety
of jobs in both the local constituency office and on
The Executive is made up of the party leader and
other representatives selected through election or
appointment to lead internal party operations.
Party staff are paid by the party to oversee its
day-to-day operations, including fundraising,
recruitment of party members, research and
Party members participate in leadership review
and selection, local candidate selection and policy
conventions. They are people, as young as 14,
who pay an annual fee to the party (permanent
residents are also eligible to join).
Riding Associations (Electoral District
Associations) are local party organizations
that oversee the nomination of the local party
candidate at election time. Between elections,
they fundraise, keep local members engaged, and
provide a local presence for the national party.