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Advisory Committee of Political Parties – Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference

Mandate and objectives

The Advisory Committee of Political Parties (ACPP) is a forum for information, consultation and advice on federal electoral matters between registered political parties and the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada.

The purpose of the Committee is to provide the Chief Electoral Officer with advice and recommendations relating to elections and political financing.

Its objectives are:

The ACPP is a body operated and administered by Elections Canada and presided by the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada. 

The ACPP is not:

Membership and structure

The ACPP membership consists of the Chief Electoral Officer and two representatives of each registered party appointed by the party's leader.

The Chief Electoral Officer or his/her delegate may establish and mandate other ongoing and ad hoc committees and working groups considered to be required. Such groups shall report at the ACPP's Annual General Meeting.

The ACPP Steering Committee on Written Opinions, Guidelines and Interpretation Notes (OGIs) has been established to support the implementation of sections 16.1 to 16.4 of the Canada Elections Act. The structure and operations of this subcommittee of the ACPP are set out in the terms of reference in Annex 1. It reports on its activities at the ACPP's Annual General Meeting.

It is the responsibility of the party leader of each registered political party to identify who will represent their party at the ACPP. To ensure senior participation and continuity, members designate at least one senior official (e.g. a member of the party's national executive) as a representative and primary contact.

One of the two party representatives will sit and represent the party on the Steering Committee on Written Opinions, Guidelines, Interpretation Notes (OGIs).

The two representatives of each registered political party may attend the Annual General Meeting, and those requiring travel and accommodation support will have their expenses reimbursed.  

Party leaders or officially designated party representatives may identify replacements to attend ACPP meetings.

All new members are provided a kit containing the Terms of Reference, information with regard to travel, an Elections Canada contacts list, and a list of registered political parties.

Forward agenda

A forward agenda is developed in agreement with members and made available on an ongoing basis. The forward agenda includes both standard agenda items (i.e. debriefs from Elections Canada following electoral events) as well as items on key issues, including legislation, political financing, regulatory and compliance matters, the National Register of Electors, etc.

Meeting agendas seek to strike a balance between legislative and administrative issues.

Meetings

Annual General Meeting

One regular meeting is held each calendar year with all registered political parties, with meeting dates established well in advance. The ACPP does not meet face-to-face during an electoral event.

Members have the opportunity to make presentations on various issues that could be of interest to all. From time to time, outside stakeholders, e.g. academics, market researchers, and representatives of the office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections, are invited to participate.

ACPP meetings are open to designated representatives from registered political parties and Elections Canada. Deliberations are conducted based on the Chatham House rule and no formal minutes with attribution are taken. However, a summary of proceedings is prepared by Elections Canada after each meeting, provided to members and posted online.

Meetings prior to electoral events

These meetings, held in the form of teleconferences, are held on an as-needed basis to share Elections Canada’s approach to upcoming electoral events and respond to questions and issues of common interest.

Feedback sessions and joint working groups

From time to time, Elections Canada will engage and consult with the objective of seeking feedback that will help it to pursue and analyze specific topics in greater depth. In many cases, a joint working group may involve participation from a selected number of members as determined by the Chief Electoral Officer.

To ensure all members are kept informed, as issues are identified they will be noted on the forward agenda and circulated to all members. Also, Elections Canada will report back on the proceedings at the Annual General Meeting.

Protocol

Members should seek to ensure that their representatives are able to represent the interests of their political party. 

To the extent that it is possible, members should consider the advantages of using the same representative for a defined period to foster continuity.   

Representatives should strive to be in attendance for the full meetings.

All representatives are expected to meet the high standards of courtesy and professionalism required to ensure success in ACPP meetings.

To encourage flow and productivity, one speaker is designated per member and with some exceptions, comments are limited to one round.

Recording devices of any type, including photographic, audio and video, are not to be used at any time, including in the meeting room or during teleconferences.

Ongoing communications

A dedicated e-mail account (cccp-acpp@elections.ca) is set up to distribute information to designated representatives. Bulletins and e-mail messages providing news, updates and follow-ups on the Chief Electoral Officer's parliamentary appearances, Elections Canada initiatives, and research products are sent on an ongoing basis.

Each representative is responsible for ensuring that their coordinates – phone, fax, e-mail, etc. – are kept up to date. Contact information can be sent to cccp-acpp@elections.ca

Logistics

Elections Canada manages its communications with ACPP both individually and collectively through a secretariat (cccp-acpp@elections.ca).

Simultaneous translation is provided at each regular meeting, and all material is provided in both official languages, including material submitted by members.

Elections Canada makes logistical arrangements for ACPP meetings and will reimburse eligible ACPP participants through a travel letter contract to cover their meeting travel and accommodation expenses based on the Treasury Board Travel Directive.

Annex 1: Terms of Reference for the Steering Committee on Written Opinions, Guidelines and Interpretation Notes (OGIs) of the ACPP

Mandate and objectives

The Steering Committee on Written Opinions, Guidelines and Interpretation Notes (OGIs) is a standing subcommittee of the Advisory Committee of Political Parties (ACPP) to support the Chief Electoral Officer in issuing written opinions, guidelines and interpretation notes (OGIs) and in fulfilling the associated consultation requirements of ACPP members, as prescribed under sections 16.1 to 16.4 of the Canada Elections Act.

Its objectives are:

The Steering Committee is operated and administered by Elections Canada and is presided over by the Deputy Chief Electoral Officer (DCEO) of Regulatory Affairs on behalf of the Chief Electoral Officer.

The Steering Committee is not:

Membership and structure

The Steering Committee membership consists of one representative of each registered party appointed by the party's leader and the DCEO of Regulatory Affairs on behalf of the Chief Electoral Officer.

The Steering Committee sitting representative of each registered party is one of the two appointed by the party's leader to be members of the ACPP.

Members attend Steering Committee meetings and the Annual General Assembly of the ACPP, and those requiring travel and accommodation support will have their expenses reimbursed.

All new members are provided with a kit containing the Terms of Reference of the Steering Committee and relevant background information on the OGI process.

Forward agenda

A forward agenda is developed in agreement with members and made available on an ongoing basis. The forward agenda includes both standard agenda items (forward agenda and priority areas for the [proactive] establishment of guidelines and interpretation notes) as well as items related to the implementation of the OGI process with ACPP members.

One forward agenda item may be the review of the Terms of Reference of the Steering Committee to identify amendments and improvements for later submission to the ACPP for approval.

Meetings

At least one meeting of the Steering Committee is held each calendar year. Additional meetings, face-to face and/or in the form of teleconferences, may be held during the year.

The dates of all Steering Committee meetings are established well in advance.

The Steering Committee does not meet during an electoral event.

No formal minutes are taken. A summary of proceedings is prepared by Elections Canada after each meeting and provided to members.

A report on the activities of the Steering Committee is presented at each Annual General Meeting of the ACPP.

Protocol

The Protocol provisions in the Terms of Reference of the ACPP also apply to this Steering Committee.

Ongoing communications

A dedicated e-mail account (ali-ogi@elections.ca) is set up to distribute information related to the OGI process to designated representatives.

Each representative is responsible for ensuring that his or her coordinates – phone, fax, e‑mail, etc. – are kept up to date. Contact information can be sent to ali-ogi@elections.ca.

Logistics

Elections Canada manages its communications with Steering Committee members about the OGI process both individually and collectively through a secretariat (ali-ogi@elections.ca).

Simultaneous translation is provided at each meeting, and all material is provided in both official languages, including material submitted by members.

Elections Canada makes logistical arrangements for Steering Committee meetings and will reimburse eligible ACPP participants through a travel letter contract to cover their meeting, travel and accommodation expenses based on the Treasury Board Travel Directive.