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ARCHIVED - RPP 2007-2008
Office of the Chief Electoral Officer

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Section II – Analysis of Program Activities by Strategic Outcomee

Elections Canada operates under a Program Activity Architecture (PAA) that contains one main strategic outcome:

An electoral process that contributes to fairness, transparency and accessibility for all participants, in accordance with the legislative framework.

The PAA contains one program activity: elections.

Program Activity: Elections

Financial Resources ($ thousands)




104,422 104,422 104,422

Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents)




387 387 387

Elections Canada is committed to providing four key results to Canadians:

  • Delivering federal elections, by-elections and referendums that maintain the integrity of the electoral process, and administering the political financing provisions of the Canada Elections Act.
  • Achieving and maintaining a state of readiness to deliver electoral events whenever they may be called, and to improve the delivery of electoral events.
  • Providing timely and high-quality public education and information programs, as well as assurance that support on electoral matters is available to the public, parliamentarians, political entities and other stakeholders.
  • Administering the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, under which readjustment of federal electoral boundaries is carried out by independent commissions after each decennial (10-year) census to reflect changes and movements in Canada's population.

We also identify major initiatives to improve our internal services and operations. These initiatives will increase our efficiency and ultimately our ability to deliver our strategic outcome more effectively. The initiatives planned for 2007–08 are identified later in this section under Key Program 5: Other Programs and Services.

Key Program 1: Electoral Event Delivery and Political Financing, and Compliance and Enforcement

Expected Results: The successful delivery of federal elections, by-elections and referendums that maintain the integrity of the electoral process, administration of the political financing provisions of the Canada Elections Act and compliance with electoral legislation.

Financial Resources ($ thousands)




34,251 34,251 34,251

Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents)




47 47 47

Political Financing

Sub-program: Administer the provisions of the Canada Elections Act related to political financing.

Expected Results: Increased awareness of financial reporting requirements and regulations among political entities, and enhanced transparency of political financing information on the Web.

Federal Accountability Act

New political financing rules went into effect on January 1, 2007, with the passing of the Federal Accountability Act. Among other things, the Act:

  • imposes a complete ban on contributions by corporations, unions and organizations
  • lowers the annual limit on contributions an individual can make to a particular registered party from $5,000 to $1,100*
  • lowers from $5,000 to $1,100* the annual limit on contributions an individual can make to the local entities of a particular registered party (candidates, nomination contestants and district associations)
  • lowers to $1,100* the contribution that a candidate, a nomination contestant or a party leadership contestant can make to his or her own campaign
  • makes it an offence to give or wilfully receive a cash donation of more than $20

* Current limits for this year. The limits are indexed on April 1 of each year.

Another provision that comes into force in June 2007 prohibits a candidate from accepting a gift or advantage (money with no obligation of repayment) that may be perceived to have been given for the purpose of influencing the candidate in his or her duties or functions if elected. Exceptions include gifts or other advantages given by relatives, received under a will or given as a "normal expression of courtesy or protocol." The Act imposes disclosure requirements on gifts.

In 2007–08, Elections Canada will ensure that all political entities and Canadians are aware of the new requirements and limits. For this purpose, the agency will use public information campaigns (as we did when Bill C-2 received royal assent) as well as other means. We will review the requirements and develop enhanced tools to assist political entities in complying with the provisions of the Act. In reviewing returns, we will work with various stakeholders to identify errors, omissions and other potential problems (e.g. using checks built into electronic filing software or during our review of files). We will help stakeholders identify administrative options that they can use to bring their returns into compliance, and we will refer potential cases of non-compliance to the Commissioner of Canada Elections.

File Review

We review files to verify compliance with the financing provisions of the Canada Elections Act, and to determine the reimbursement or subsidy amount to be paid to a political entity and/or its auditor, as required by the Act.

In 2007–08, Elections Canada plans to receive:

  • quarterly returns from registered parties that are required to submit them (due by April 30, 2007, for the first quarter; July 30, 2007, for the second quarter; October 30, 2007, for the third quarter; and January 30, 2008, for the fourth quarter)
  • 2006 financial transactions returns from 15 registered parties (due by June 30, 2007)
  • 2006 financial transactions returns from 1,144 registered electoral district associations (due by May 31, 2007)
  • the leadership contestant returns for the December 3, 2006, Liberal Party of Canada leadership contest (due June 4, 2007)
  • candidate electoral campaign returns for the November 27, 2006, by-elections (due by March 27, 2007)
Party Quarterly Allowances

Currently, political parties that receive 2 percent of the national vote, or 5 percent of the vote in ridings where they endorsed a candidate, are eligible to receive quarterly allowances. Quarterly allowances are withheld if a party's filings are overdue. The allowance payment is equal to the product of $0.4375 and the number of valid votes received in the general election preceding the quarter, multiplied by an inflation adjustment factor.

Registered Electoral District Association Audit Subsidies

A registered electoral district association that had contributions or expenses of $5,000 or more must have its return audited. The association is then eligible to receive an audit subsidy of up to $1,500 of the audit expenses incurred. This subsidy will be paid to the auditor once a completed financial transactions return, audit report and invoice have been received.

Publication of Financial Returns

Pursuant to section 412 of the Canada Elections Act, all financial transactions returns will be published as soon as practicable after receiving them. They are made available in hard copy and on the Elections Canada Web site.

mouse/souris For links to searchable databases of political entity financial returns, visit:

Compliance and Enforcement

Sub-program: Investigate complaints about contraventions of the Canada Elections Act.

Expected Results: Effective compliance and enforcement programs and electoral events, in accordance with legal requirements.

Under the Canada Elections Act, the Chief Electoral Officer appoints the Commissioner of Canada Elections. This official has the duty of ensuring that the Act is complied with and enforced. Any matter covered by an offence provision under the Act may be the subject of a complaint or referral to the Commissioner.

Legislative changes took effect with the entry into force of the Director of Public Prosecutions Act, contained in the Federal Accountability Act (Bill C-2). The Director of Public Prosecutions Act transfers the authority to initiate and conduct a prosecution under the Canada Elections Act from the Commissioner to the Director of Public Prosecutions. However, the Commissioner remains responsible for conducting any prosecution that was pending up to December 12, 2006. There are two such prosecutions: one having to do with the 38th general election in 2004 and the other with the 39th general election in 2006.

The Federal Accountability Act makes no change to the Commissioner's powers to investigate, enter into compliance agreements and apply for injunctions during an election period. The Commissioner remains responsible for the assessment of complaints or referrals, and for investigations.

The Office of the Commissioner will also revise its foundation document, the Investigators' Manual, to reflect the legislative changes in the Federal Accountability Act as well as other developments in both law and policy since the last revision. Posted on the Elections Canada Web site, the Manual provides crucial information and guidance to the public, participants in the electoral process and personnel in the Office of the Commissioner concerning the investigative process and criteria followed by the Commissioner in exercising the discretionary powers granted by the Canada Elections Act.

Key Program 2: Electoral Event Readiness and Improvements

Expected Results: Achieve and maintain a state of readiness to deliver electoral events whenever they may be called, and improve the delivery of electoral events.

Financial Resources ($ thousands)




59,344 59,344 59,344

Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents)




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Electoral Readiness and Improvements

Sub-program: Well-trained staff and election officers, as well as up-to-date electoral processes, systems, databases and materials ready for any electoral event.

Expected Results: Improved delivery of electoral events that respond to stakeholders' concerns.

A constant state of readiness is critical to our ability to conduct elections, by-elections and referendums. In view of the results of the 39th general election held on January 23, 2006 – the second general election in under 18 months – our first priority has remained achieving the necessary state of readiness to conduct another general election. In 2007–08, we will continue to maintain that state of readiness.

Readiness Activities

As we commence the 2007–08 fiscal year, Elections Canada will have reached a new level of readiness for the delivery of electoral events. We are benefiting from the completion of a series of preparatory activities, as well as the implementation of enhancements to the administration of the electoral process. Key among these are the following:

  • The appointment and training of returning officers and their assistants by the Chief Electoral Officer, in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Accountability Act. Elections Canada has launched 118 competitions across Canada and will train the successful candidates by March 1, 2007. For the 190 reappointed returning officers, Elections Canada will conclude refresher training courses in Ottawa in March 2007.
  • The review and reprinting of a number of field manuals and forms to reflect new initiatives successfully conducted during the two by-elections of November 27, 2006. The initiatives included providing large-scale mock-up ballots to assist electors with impaired vision at the polls, and collecting voter information cards at polling stations to ensure that electors did not use them as proof of identity at the polls.
  • The continuous update of the National Register of Electors from the most current data sources, and the accompanying completion of quality estimates of list and revision projections bases.
  • The revision of some 10,100 polling divisions, 800 mobile polls and 2,070 advance polling districts on the basis of recommendations received from returning officers in consultation with members of Parliament and local riding associations.
  • Since May 2006, the completion of several phases of returning officers' pre-event activities, with the aim of updating Elections Canada's information and helping returning officers prepare for a general election.
  • The ongoing identification of potential returning offices and the rental of telephone lines to the demarcation point of those buildings to ensure the rapid installation of phone service at the start of an electoral event.

Throughout this fiscal year, Elections Canada will continue to engage in ongoing preparatory activities. The aim is to ensure that all resources can be quickly mobilized at the start of an electoral event and that all products are optimized with the most current data available.

National Register of Electors

The National Register of Electors was established in 1997. Register information is shared with provinces, territories and municipalities, saving taxpayers money and increasing co-operation. The success of the Register was most recently demonstrated during the 39th general election, when it was shown to contain more than 94 percent of electors and 85 percent (±2 percent) at the correct address. Since the Register was developed, geocoding has been added to it, and a computer application called REVISE has been developed to capture revisions to the lists of electors during an electoral period.

Even though revision and targeted revision processes and technology have been refined and improved in the years since the Register was established, Elections Canada must build on the experience gained to continue to improve voter registration.

In 2007–08, we will continue to identify opportunities for further improving the quality of the lists of electors (in terms of coverage and currency) and voter registration services, with the aim of meeting stakeholders' requirements and increasing their participation. We will also develop a plan for making the improvements identified.

We will review and create new geography products and maps to facilitate the grouping and location of advance polling districts and polling sites, and to help in determining an elector's electoral district and polling division.

As well, we plan to contact electors with no links to existing data sources to confirm their elector status and address. In addition, we are improving processes and strategies to reduce the incidence of non-residential addresses in the National Register of Electors.

We have launched a project to develop an Elector Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), complementing the existing National Register of Electors application. To improve incomplete and inaccurate elector records, EQUIS will enable staff to query and interactively edit individual records, using current and historical source information. The application design and development are expected to be completed in 2007.

To account for changes in the electoral population, the National Register of Electors is updated using files from federal, provincial and municipal sources. Over the years, Elections Canada has developed programs to allow matching of records between the Register and external files. We recently initiated a project to implement the Generalized Record Linkage System developed by Statistics Canada; the aim is to improve record matching and facilitate the identification of elector records to be included in mailing initiatives.

In June 2006, Elections Canada completed the first Data Quality Confirmation Study to provide external estimates of quality and accuracy of the Register's information. The study involved selecting and contacting a sample of 30,800 electors and asking them to respond to a series of questions, with the aim of determining whether the information in the Register was correct and up to date. The results, which were shared with the Advisory Committee of Political Parties, were integrated into the quality model used to prepare quality measures of lists provided to members of Parliament and registered political parties on October 15, 2006. The study will be repeated in June 2007.

With our stakeholders, in March 2005 we completed an extensive review of the Quality Program, identifying all the requirements of an improved system. The functional design and technical architecture of the system were approved in November 2006, and the implementation of a more advanced, automated Quality Measurement System will start in early 2007. The new system will allow Elections Canada to prepare quality estimates more efficiently.

Voter Registration Review

In 2007–08, we will continue to implement key activities and projects, as recommended during the business requirements definition phase of the Voter Registration Review. This is a strategic review to improve voter registration; the goal is to increase the registration and participation of eligible voters in electoral events. The projects focus on enhancing the convenience, efficiency, integrity and security of voter registration. Elector convenience will be facilitated through access to a mix of traditional and modern channels for registration, revision and voting. The projects include the following:

  • On-Line Registration
    A project designed to make voter registration more accessible to the electorate by enabling electors to add, update and/or confirm their elector information on-line. This would improve the quality of voters lists and voter registration services. Security will be a key component in the design of this process. The conceptual and technical designs are to be completed in the first part of 2007–08. The implementation of key components will begin during the latter part of the fiscal year.
  • Enhanced Targeted Revision Program
    A quantitative assessment and review of how voter populations are targeted in current revision processes. The aim is to improve the quality of the voters lists and ensure that as many electors as possible are correctly registered to vote. In-depth analysis and recommendations for change will be completed during the first half of 2007–08 in preparation for implementation by the end of the year.
  • Enhancing Polling Day Registration and Voting Processes
    An assessment of current voting day procedures and assumptions so that they can be continuously improved. The aim is to ensure that our approach continues to focus on the needs of voters and make the voting process as convenient as possible for electors, while at the same time maximizing security to collectively maintain the integrity of the electoral process. In-depth analysis and recommendations for change will be completed over an 18-month period. During this time frame, plans call for the project to take into account opportunities that might arise, such as a general election or by-elections.
  • Review of Current Notice of Confirmation Tools (Voter Information Cards)
    A quantitative evaluation of the effectiveness of the voter information card (VIC). This will include a review of the VIC and related processes, an assessment of its effectiveness during an election and the exploration of other possible notification tools. Plans call for the project to be carried out during 2007–08 and implemented in 2008–09.
Special Voting Rules

To increase the accessibility, efficiency, transparency and integrity of the voting process, in 2007–08 we will continue to review and update Special Voting Rules (SVR) systems and processes. The SVR applies to the following types of electors:

  • Canadian residents temporarily absent from their electoral districts during an election or referendum, whether they are in Canada or abroad
  • Canadian residents who are in their electoral districts, but who cannot or do not wish to go to an ordinary or advance poll to vote
  • Canadian citizens temporarily residing outside Canada
  • Canadian Forces electors, including civilians employed as teachers or administrative support staff in Canadian Forces schools outside the country
  • Incarcerated electors

Currently, three separate systems are used to administer the SVR program: Special Voting Domestic, Special Voting International and the Inmate Elector System. Elections Canada intends to implement an integrated system, which will be flexible enough to adapt to legislative changes and the ongoing development of the electoral system. The new system will improve accuracy and information exchange with various Elections Canada applications, and will enhance delivery of services to electors.

Our review of the administration of the SVR program and partnerships will continue. This includes improving training materials, reviewing and updating readiness material and application forms on the Elections Canada Web site, and reviewing and updating our communications strategy for reaching Canadians abroad.

We will also undertake ongoing consultations with the Department of National Defence and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to improve lists of electors and communications services for electors under their jurisdiction.

The expected result is improved service to electors who are eligible under the SVR in future electoral events.

Information Technology Renewal

Over the past decade, Elections Canada has embraced the use of information technology (IT) and developed a unique IT environment. However, while the field systems – both hardware and software – have served us well, they are nearing the end of their lifespan and must be replaced. Elections Canada must adopt an approach for ensuring that IT systems use new technology to improve services to voters.

The Elections Canada Information Technology Renewal project began in 2006 and will continue through 2007–08. The project involves replacing or upgrading the agency's technology infrastructure and field systems. One aim is to ensure that we continue to be able to conduct an electoral event in the field; another is to position the agency to exploit the opportunities provided by new technology for improving service. In 2007–08, the IT Renewal project will conduct the necessary procurement activities to put in place contracts with private-sector partners for goods and services. The contracts will be used to begin the transformation of our IT environment.

The result will be a new IT environment for Elections Canada that is simplified, takes full advantage of modern information and communications technology, provides improved business capability with the same high reliability during events as in the past and fulfills our IT requirements for the next 5 to 10 years.

Technical Advice and Implementation of Electoral Reform

As noted in the section Risks and Challenges, a number of significant bills have recently been passed or are before Parliament. Both enacted and proposed legislation is expected to have a major impact on the current electoral process and the administration of electoral events.

Elections Canada will continue to provide its expertise in support of initiatives to review electoral legislation. For stakeholders – including electors, candidates and political parties – we will continue to provide timely and high-quality information on changes that are adopted.

Key Program 3: Public Education, Information and Support for Stakeholders

Expected Results: Provide timely and high-quality public education and information programs, as well as assurance that support on electoral matters is available to the public, parliamentarians and political entities.

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10,827 10,827 10,827

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Sub-program: Provide timely and high-quality public education and information programs, as well as assurance that support on electoral matters is available to the public.

Expected Results: Electoral processes are better known to the public, particularly persons and groups most likely to experience difficulties in exercising their democratic rights.

Voter Education and Outreach Programs

If a general election occurs during 2007–08, Elections Canada will reuse existing outreach plans with minor modification. The plans were initially developed for the 38th general election in 2004; they focus on improving elector participation among youth, Aboriginal communities, ethnocultural communities and electors with special needs.

As a priority in 2007–08, Elections Canada intends to prepare for the next general election by enlarging and strengthening its Community Relations Officer Program to enhance engagement with youth, Aboriginal, ethnocultural and special needs voters. We will seek to strengthen relationships with student federations, make voting more accessible for students on campuses and refine methods for communicating with youth. We will work to strengthen and expand our outreach to Aboriginal electors through partnerships. For instance, with the Assembly of First Nations, in 2007–08 we will develop a voter education campaign for First Nations electors; the objective is to increase their awareness of the federal electoral process and make it more accessible to them. We will continue to engage ethnocultural communities by developing formal partnerships with organizations and making services available in a wide variety of languages. Our efforts for special needs voters will focus on enhancing access to the electoral process for homeless electors and electors with visual disabilities.

Corporate Research

In 2007–08, we will publish the four concept papers that we commissioned in 2006–07 focusing on youth, Aboriginal people, ethnocultural communities and electors with special needs. The papers will further refine our understanding of why these groups are less likely to participate in the federal electoral process and will assist us in identifying the best means to reach the groups. We will pursue our partnership with the Canadian Policy Research Network to better understand why and how young people engage in civic and political activities (including elections), as well as to examine the current barriers and challenges to their participation.

Elections Canada also intends to develop a corporate research plan with a number of objectives:

  1. To build knowledge for delivering high-quality and cost-effective services to our key stakeholders – Canadian electors and legislators, parliamentarians and political entities.
  2. To build knowledge for strengthening Canadian democracy and governance. Such policy research would involve studies to better understand:
    • voter turnout of various groups within the Canadian electorate, especially those that tend to vote less than the mainstream
    • electoral participation of various groups, especially under-represented groups (e.g. women and ethnocultural communities)
    • regulatory regimes of political financing
  3. To strengthen the agency's relationships with academics, researchers and other experts in electoral matters.
  4. To disseminate and share knowledge through various means, including participating in conferences, producing publications and strengthening partnerships.
International Research and Co-operation

Elections Canada is regularly called on to assist countries in the process of democratization. The agency further plays a primary role within various international electoral bodies. Our research and co-operation work enables us to expand our knowledge of trends in electoral administration in other developed democracies.

The agency has shown innovation by developing a more comprehensive approach to its monitoring activities abroad, one of accompaniment – for instance, in its involvement in the international election missions in Iraq and Haiti, both chaired by the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada. This approach consists of assisting the electoral commissions concerned before, during and after an election by helping them to develop the sustainable institutional framework and the expertise they need for a democratic process.

mouse/souris For further information, visit the Elections Canada Web site at and click the International Activities icon.

In 2007–08, we will continue to provide assistance through multi-faceted initiatives such as international monitoring missions. We will work together with electoral commissions in other countries, as well as with multilateral organizations such as the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Union of Electoral Organizations and others.

Again in 2007–08, Elections Canada will participate in international forums and projects to advance electoral knowledge and expertise. An example is the ongoing Administration and Cost of Elections (ACE) Project Electoral Knowledge Network. The network is a partnership involving Elections Canada, EISA, the Federal Electoral Institute of Mexico, IFES, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and the United Nations Development Programme. ACE enables professionals to use capacity-development initiatives, with the aim of generating, sharing and applying knowledge to solve problems and improve the professionalism of those engaged in electoral activities. In 2007–08, we will participate in a number of ACE activities to further the expansion of the network's reach and capacity.

mouse/souris For further information, visit the ACE Project Web site at or visit:

Key Program 4: Electoral Boundaries Redistribution

Expected Results: Administer the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, under which federal electoral boundaries are readjusted by independent commissions after each decennial (10-year) census to reflect changes and movements in Canada's population.

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Note: This priority was last completed in May 2004 with the coming into force of the Representation Order of 2003. Planning will begin in 2010–11 to receive the 2011 Census return, after which redistribution will formally begin again.

Key Program 5: Other Programs and Services

Expected Results: Deliver high-quality leadership and management throughout the agency.

Elections Canada has identified four corporate initiatives that will begin or continue in 2007–08.

Human Resources Modernization

Elections Canada will continue to adapt its human resources management system to the profound changes arising from the Public Service Modernization Act, passed by Parliament in 2003.

Like many other federal organizations, Elections Canada will be affected by a number of retirements in the coming years and will have to take the necessary measures to replenish its ranks. This is a major challenge: the knowledge of seasoned election managers will be as difficult to replace as that of scientific experts.

Elections Canada will continue to encourage its staff members to hone their skills and take advantage of various development opportunities in order to broaden their knowledge and improve their capacity for addressing stakeholders' needs.

Elections Canada also faces significant human resources challenges during a major electoral event. In Ottawa, the number of Elections Canada employees doubles to approximately 600 at that time. Counting agency temporary help and consultants, the staff number triples to approximately 900.

A master human resources plan for the agency will be finalized in 2007–08. The plan will build on the individual directorates' human resources plans currently being developed, as well as the strategic plan. Managers will continue to receive mandatory staffing training. The development of human resources plans, policies and mandatory training is scheduled for completion by March 2008.

Performance Management Framework

Elections Canada has developed extensive indicators for tracking and monitoring electoral readiness and delivery activities at its office in Ottawa and in the 308 federal electoral districts.

In 2007–08, Elections Canada will continue to further enhance the quality of its performance measurement by developing and implementing a performance measurement framework at the corporate level and for ongoing activities.

As part of the Performance Management initiative, we will enhance our Integrated Business Management process in order to streamline our planning and reporting activities.

Internal Audit

The internal audit function is a key component of Elections Canada's governance framework. In accordance with the new internal audit policy that came into force on April 1, 2006, Elections Canada has initiated the enhancement required and is committed to continuing the work in 2007-08 to meet the April 1, 2009, deadline for full implementation.

Elections Canada followed up on specific commitments made in response to the 2005 audit recommendations from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada. A master list and status report of the actions completed are planned for review by the Audit Committee in 2007–08. Similarly, the internal audit plan was updated for 2007–08 to take into account the Auditor General's recommendations. It will be finalized during the year.

mouse/souris For further information on the Auditor General's recommendations concerning Elections Canada, go to: