The Canada Elections Act requires the Chief Electoral Officer to appoint a returning officer for each electoral district in Canada. A returning officer is responsible for administering the electoral process in the electoral district for which he or she is appointed, and ensuring that it is handled fairly and impartially. Each returning officer is an essential member of the national team of returning officers appointed by the Chief Electoral Officer through a merit-based process.
This process selects the right applicant for the position of returning officer. If you are selected, your employment begins when you receive a letter from the Chief Electoral Officer appointing you to the position and inviting you to sign your oath of office.
A returning officer works part-time before an electoral event (a general election, by-election or referendum) and full-time during the event. If you have other employment, you will have to apply for a leave of absence from your employer. You will need approximately two months of leave, with very little advance notice, at the time of an electoral event. Your election duties will usually end approximately 10 days after election day. This period may be extended in the case of a judicial recount in your riding until the recount is over.
If you are selected as a returning officer, you will have to make a commitment to attend approximately nine days of training shortly after your appointment.
To apply for the position of returning officer, you must complete the application form. A resume alone will not be accepted, but is required to support your application. You must complete the application form in full and return it by the closing date for the competition you are entering. If you have questions about how to complete the application form, please call 1-800-463-6868.
The Qualifications for Persons Appointed As Returning Officers describes the eligibility requirements for a returning officer, which are mandatory under the Canada Elections Act. To be appointed as a returning officer, you must:
By law, certain persons cannot be appointed as election officers. For more information, refer to subsection 22(3) of the Canada Elections Act or the application form for the position of returning officer.
If you are appointed as a returning officer, you must meet other conditions of employment, among them the following:
Further to being appointed, returning officers must sign an agreement to abide by the Code of Professional Conduct for Election Administrators.
The position of returning officer is demanding, both mentally and physically. Returning officers work long hours, seven days a week, during the minimum 36-day election calendar (from the date the writ is issued ordering the election until election day) and for several days after election day. The successful applicant must be available all day, every day, during that time. Outside the election period, you must also be able to free yourself from other commitments on an occasional part-time basis, to carry out pre-event planning assignments, attend training or briefing sessions, etc.
Returning officers are appointed based on the merit of their qualifications and skills. The evaluation and selection process consists of three stages.
After reviewing the Selection Committee's recommendations, the Chief Electoral Officer will send written confirmation of the decision to each applicant.
The deadline for filing an application is set out in the list of available positions.
Note: Failure to attend the interview and examination stage will be considered a withdrawal from the selection process.
We wish you good luck with your application and
appreciate your interest in the federal electoral process.