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Meeting Summary – Annual General Meeting – June 8, 2015

Remarks by the Commissioner of Canada Elections

Yves Côté, Commissioner of Canada Elections, introduced Eric Ferron, Senior Director of Investigations, and Marc Chénier, General Counsel and Senior Director of Legal Services, at the Commissioner's office. They shared information on the Commissioner's role of ensuring compliance and enforcement during the 2015 general election.

The Commissioner gave an update on changes at the Commissioner's office since the last ACPP meeting, explained the Commissioner's role, and specified how to get in touch with the office using the online complaint form.

Discussion

Questions and comments were raised about how to ensure that all offences are dealt with consistently and thoroughly to address improper practices. It was reinforced that it is important to gather as much information as possible on each incident, and to get in touch with the Commissioner. Depending on the need, public announcements can be made; there are ways to reach out to electors to rectify misleading information, for example.

It was clarified to members that a fair balance needs to be struck when addressing allegations in order to ensure that fair investigations are conducted in a timely manner.

Due to the changes in Bill C-23, the Commissioner's office is no longer a part of EC; it is now part of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. Because this change is recent, Canadians might not differentiate between EC and the Commissioner's office. For this reason, it is important that information be shared between the institutions to address the issues and endeavour to resolve them quickly. Canadians should not be concerned if they are not clear about these roles. Complaints will come through the website, e-mail or telephone and officers will deal with matters according to their subject and direct them to the appropriate authority (EC or the Commissioner).