With Maxime Bernier ditching the Conservatives to create a political party of his own, you may be wondering, “Could I, an eligible Canadian voter, start my own federal party?”

Yes, you can. Here’s how.

First things first: you need supporters. The Canada Election Act requires 250 members who are electors -- that is, people who are 18 or older and eligible to vote in Canada. Their names, addresses and signatures are required. The contact information must be accurate, because Elections Canada reaches out to members to verify their affiliation.

Next, you need a unique name. It can’t include the word “independent,” so as not to be confused with candidates running as independents, and it can’t closely resemble an existing party’s name. Same goes if your party has a logo, an abbreviation or an alternate French name.

Then there’s the team. A party needs to have at least three “officers” in addition to its leader, an auditor with proper professional registration, and a chief agent who is legally able to enter into contracts in their province or territory.

With that, the party has enough to be considered eligible for registration in the eyes of the Canada Elections Act.

If you think something important seems missing, you’re right -- candidates. To go from eligible to officially registered, a party must endorse at least one candidate for a general election or by-election. With that, the candidate’s name will be ready to appear on the ballot.

An important timing note: the party must register at least 60 days before an election.

Once registered, a party is required to meet numerous requirements. There are strict rules on audits, maintaining party membership and deadlines for registration.

For full details on how to get your party off the ground and keep it running, visit Elections Canada.