Meeting Summary – Annual General Meeting of the Advisory Committee of Political Parties – June 21–22, 2010
The new on-line registration project will enable electors to confirm that they are on the list, change their address and eventually add themselves to the list of electors. Electors will still be able to contact Elections Canada by telephone or by mail to update their information.
Discussion with ACPP Members
Some members expressed concerns with the overall security of on-line voter registration, questioning what personal information about voters will be compiled, what archiving methods will be used, how accessible the information will be, and what assurance there would be that confirms the citizenship of voters. Other questions were raised with regard to the lack of access to Manitoba and Quebec licensing information.
A recommendation was made for a mechanism that would check the name and birth date of an elector against birth records in all provinces as a means of verifying Canadian citizenship. Also noted was the recommendation for an internal identifier; for example, the use of numbers as identification.
Members also wanted to know about Internet access for rural Canadians.
In response, Elections Canada explained that due diligence for the e-registration project will be done with respect to privacy concerns, including a privacy impact assessment. It was clarified that on-line voter registration is simply another option for registration – a new channel of service to be available to Canadians.
Other concerns were clarified:
- Currently, there is nothing under the existing regime that requires one to prove one's citizenship within the electoral process – it is grounded on an honour system.
- Elections Canada is currently working with the provinces of Manitoba and Quebec to acquire driver's licence data.
- Excluding satellite, it is estimated that 22% of Canadian households in rural areas lack broadband (1.5 Mbps) service access. (Source: Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Communications Monitoring Report, 2009.)