What is the Function of an EDA?

The form above is all it takes to get Maverick running on the ground at the single-riding level. You may have heard Maverick HQ refer several times to something called an EDA. Today, we will explain what an EDA is, their function, who may serve on an EDA, the work and qualifications required (spoilers: the qualifications are minimal), and how to start an EDA.

Function and Purpose

An EDA is Maverick’s extension on the ground in one single, federal riding. Canada is divided into 338 ridings with each representing close to 100,000 people in population. The ridings usually bear the name of a major community or neighbourhood within a city. For example, Calgary’s million plus population gives it 10 federal ridings. The various names reflect their location in the city: Calgary Heritage, Calgary Signal Hill, etc. Ridings outside of major cities can bear the name of a major geographical landmarks such as Peace River–Westlock or several majors towns such as Medicine Hat–Cardston–Warner. Your local riding is easy to find, simple enter your postal code or residential address into the Elections Canada tool.

Now that you know what a riding is, let’s talk more specifically about EDAs. EDA stands for Electoral District Association. For the main federal parties, they maintain EDAs in all 338 ridings. Maverick is looking to maintain EDAs in each of the western provinces. Bloc Quebecois only maintains EDAs in Quebec. The PPC does not have a full slate of EDAs either. A Maverick EDA is a board of volunteers each with Maverick memberships that live in or have connection to a particular riding. The boards include executives that have a portfolio relating to the operation of the EDA. The minimum required to start an EDA is 2 people, but 4 is recommended to split the workload properly and to function effectively at meetings. The requirement of EDAs to be made up of locals to the area is necessary because no one knows the area better than the people who live and work there. As you will see, having knowledge of the local area is important to running the EDA.

The function of an EDA is threefold:

  1. Raise money to contest the next election,
  2. Find and vet a candidate who will run in that riding for Maverick, and
  3. Promote the party at public events such as trade shows, parades, and festivals.

To effectively perform these functions, it is necessary to have knowledge of the local area and the people living there. Maverick HQ is happy to assist with advice on performing these functions, but the leadership is not in an advantageous position to know every local event or the attitudes of people at the doors. This is why EDAs are so important. Maverick does not believe in parachuting candidates into ridings where they have no connection to the local economy. This is insulting to the locals who live in an area and deserve local representation. It is a primary pillar of Maverick’s beliefs.

EDAs can exist when a group of people (called the board of directors – or simply the board) come together and pledge to build and support the party. The only requirement is the willingness to do some volunteer work and to learn.

Who can serve on EDAs?

Essentially, any member of Maverick living in that riding can serve on the EDA. A person who is not involved in an EDA in their own riding may look to a neighbouring riding if they feel a connection to that local area. Especially in the larger cities, Maverick may not have EDAs in all the ridings and an enthusiastic volunteer without an EDA in their home riding may find their contribution is better utilized in another part of the city with an active EDA. You are expected to uphold the principles, policies, and values of Maverick including showing support for Maverick candidates and the Maverick leader. You may be disqualified from serving on a board by conduct bringing the party into disrepute, breaking elections laws whether it was as a Maverick board member or with another party, or by performing dishonest actions that are not otherwise illegal while representing the EDA.

The leader of the party has the final say to accept any group of volunteers as an official Maverick EDA. To this end, the leader must be satisfied that the group of people proposing an EDA will further the goals and aims of Maverick. People who believe in our mission and are of good character should not have any problems meeting this threshold. 

What qualifications are needed?

While there is no specific qualification needed, prior experience serving on non-profit boards will be helpful. In the case of CFO, financial abilities is a must. You do not need a professional designation or any requirement of experience. You simply need to read the law, know the law, and not break the law. A background in bookkeeping or accounting would be a tremendous asset as the CFO job can be among the most challenging on an EDA.

Most EDAs only require a 2-4 hour commitment per month. This can vary with the number of activities the board plans, but that is entirely at their own discretion. 

What are the roles of executive members of an EDA?

An optimal EDA will have 4 executives and 4 directors at large. The minimum recommended EDA is 4 people occupying all the executive positions. The legal minimum is 2 people, but they would be burdened with a lot of work each month. EDAs may create more executives if they have the numbers to support them. Also, a 4-person EDA can have one person who lives outside the EDA. Generally speaking, for every three in-riding board members, there can be one out-of-riding board member.

The required executive functions are:

President -> acts as the chief executive officer of the board. Acts as the chair of meetings. Their name and address are kept on file with Elections Canada as being the source for EDA records. This does not have to be a residential address and can be a PO Box. The president also supplies a phone number and email address to contact the EDA. Again these do not have to be their own personal contact information but it can be. They are also responsible for the EDAs annual compliance filings with Elections Canada and are the first point of contact between the EDA and other entities.

Vice-President -> is the second-in-command of the EDA. They perform the functions of the president when the president is not available and generally assist other board members with their duties.

Chief Financial Officer -> is in charge of the EDA’s finances. They open and operate the bank account on behalf of the EDA and are responsible for all financial transactions such as depositing donations, writing donation receipts, paying invoices, and reconciling bank records. They also complete annual financial returns on behalf of the EDA. This position is considered the most technically challenging due to having to keep accurate financial records and the severe penalties associated with non-compliance. The CFO also must find and appoint an auditor as a part of Elections Canada compliance requirements. The CFO does not have to live in the riding, but is expected to give monthly updates to the board on the state of finances. 

Secretary -> the administrative officer of the EDA. The secretary is generally expected to keep the EDA organized including ensuring: everyone knows when and where meetings will be held, the minutes of the meetings are taken, attendance is taken, and everyone’s contact information is kept current. This position is often occupied by someone who is well organized.

Directors at Large -> a board member who does not occupy an executive position. They can assist generally with any executive functions that they feel qualified to handle. Directors at Large are often dedicated volunteers and excel at organizing outreach and fundraising events, calling or emailing members in the riding to inform them of upcoming events, or technical skills such as law, technology, or policy.

All board members empower their executive to pursue certain courses of action on behalf of the EDA. For example, your local town has an upcoming trade show and the president reports that a table will cost $250 to reserve there. The board can then introduce a motion and vote to authorize the CFO to write a cheque for $250 to the trade show organizer and further authorize the secretary to obtain up to $250 of promotional materials (brochures, cards, stickers, pens, etc) and be reimbursed by the CFO upon presentation of a receipt. You can discuss organizing who will be in charge of the table at the trade show and who will reach out to Maverick members or family and friends to see if they can volunteer at the event.

Generally speaking, you require a proper motion, carried by a majority of the executive present to spend any EDA money or to authorize a board member to incur expenses on behalf of the EDA for later reimbursement. These procedures including what quorum is will all be found in the EDA handbook that Maverick HQ can provide as part of our training. A motion is also required when the board seeks to bind its executive to a course of action they deem to be to the benefit of the board. 

Starting an EDA

Starting an EDA should start with 4 Maverick Party members coming together and committing to the time necessary to do so. If you contact Maverick Party HQ (using the Contact Us form, email info at maverickparty.ca, calling the phone number, or any other communication method) and express interest in forming an EDA, we may match you up with other, like-minded people. The suggested minimum number of starting members is 4. 

Once you have found the people willing to put the work in, you need to determine if an EDA already exists or existed in your riding. Any previous, defunct EDA may be worth contacting for additional tips on running an EDA. Again, you can contact Maverick HQ for the info of any previous boards. Maverick EDAs usually hold a meeting (can be virtual or by teleconference) once per month. The average board member may spend 2-4 hours per month preparing for meetings and helping the party.

You need to designate who will be the CEO and the CFO of the EDA since these are the two required (and most difficult positions). A CEO should be someone with experience leading people and chairing meetings. A CFO should be someone with an accounting or bookkeeping background.

The next step will be to register the EDA with Elections Canada so that you may accept donations and give a tax receipt.  Maverick HQ can help with this step. If you are a new EDA, Maverick leader Colin Krieger must also approve the paperwork. 

Once the EDA is registered, fundraising activities can begin. 

The EDA has been started, now what?

Once the first meeting has been held, it is time to get to work. It is important to raise money. It is equally important to find someone willing to run as a candidate for Maverick. Maverick HQ can show you the proper procedures. A bank account will need to be opened and your filings with Elections Canada will need to be completed. Finally, the new EDA can purchase table space at a trade show, convention, festival, or parade. These highly visible locations bring new eyes on Maverick. Secondary to that goal is the ability to sell memberships to people who express interest in joining party. 

EDAs are also the vessels for advancing policy considerations at the Maverick AGM (annual general meeting). People may feel passionately about a political issue and they wish that Maverick advocates their position for them. A typical policy process requires gathering like-minded people and passing a policy resolution when solicited through the EDAs. These resolutions then get considered at the Maverick AGM and put to a vote of all Maverick members who attend. That means this policy process requires a lot of collaboration to gather the necessary allies to carry it through the process. EDAs make the perfect vessel for this process to occur so people with strong policy opinions may well see value in being involved at the EDA level. 

After the initial few months pass by, the board should look towards holding their own AGM so that they can stand for election by all Maverick members of the riding. Those processes are all written in Maverick bylaws and Maverick HQ can explain them in greater detail as needed.

How can Maverick HQ assist?

Maverick can train incoming executives with the skills needed to run an EDA in compliance with election laws. Maverick can also make their IT services available to help a new EDA start up a website to accept online donations, general email inboxes, and manage their mailing and membership lists. Maverick HQ can also connect inspired members to other liked-minded members either within their own riding or in a neighbouring riding. We want EDAs to succeed and we will consider any reasonable request from members to assist them in starting, reviving, or continuing an EDA.

It starts with Contacting Us.

I hope this was informative to Maverick members.