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Meeting Summary – Meeting of the Advisory Committee of Political Parties – April 20, 2009

Debriefing by the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO)

The Summary of Proceedings of the meeting on June 16, 2008, was tabled and approved by members.

The CEO informed members of the many activities Elections Canada is undertaking in wrapping up the 40th general election, a process that takes about two years to conclude. As part of the process, a report on the administration of the election was tabled to the House of Commons on February 2, 2009. For this purpose, the CEO told members about his appearance before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to discuss his report. (He also noted that since the last ACPP meeting, he appeared before a Senate committee to discuss the voter identification procedures and Aboriginal electors.)

The CEO told members of the audit reports on Elections Canada released by the Auditor General and Privacy Commissioner. The CEO indicated that the reports find that while in some cases Elections Canada management practices exceed the privacy requirements, there are some problematic cases, namely in the collection of information on Canadians about to reach the age of majority, and date of birth information found on some voters lists. He added that the Privacy Commissioner is studying the access and use of private information by political parties for a report to be released later in 2009.

Looking forward, the CEO informed members that Elections Canada will be occupied over the next several months with a number of matters of interest to the ACPP, including: the preparation of a recommendations report to Parliament for tabling in late 2009; following up on external and internal audits; and completing ACPP renewal activities. More specifically, he mentioned that his Office is undertaking a considerable renewal of the information and communication technologies used by Elections Canada during and between elections; developing a new human resources strategy; and performing an A-base review of financial resources to ensure alignment with the objectives of the Strategic Plan 2008–2013: accessibility, trust and engagement.