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The Electoral System of Canada

Appendix 2: Further Information on Canada's Electoral System Since 1867

Representation in the House of Commons

Federal electoral boundaries are readjusted after each decennial (10-year) census to reflect changes and movements in Canada's population, in accordance with the Constitution and the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act. Readjustment usually results in an increase in the number of electoral districts, each of which elects a representative to sit in the House of Commons.

Year Can. N.B. N.S. Ont. Que. Man. B.C. P.E.I. N.W.T. Y.T.
1867 181 15 19 82 65          
1871 185 15 19 82 65 4        
1872 200 16 21 88 65 4 6      
1873 206 16 21 88 65 4 6 6    
1882 211 16 21 92 65 5 6 6    
1887 215 16 21 92 65 5 6 6 4  
1892 213 14 20 92 65 7 6 5 4  
1903 214 13 18 86 65 10 7 4 10 1

Year Can. N.B. N.S. Ont. Que. Man. B.C. P.E.I. Alta. Sask. N.W.T./Y.T. N.L.
1907 221 13 18 86 65 10 7 4 7 10 1  
1914 234 11 16 82 65 15 13 3 12 16 1  
1915 235 11 16 82 65 15 13 4 12 16 1  
1924 245 11 14 82 65 17 14 4 16 21 1  
1933 245 10 12 82 65 17 16 4 17 21 1  
1947 255 10 13 83 73 16 18 4 17 20 1  
1949 262 10 13 83 73 16 18 4 17 20 1 7

Year Can. N.B. N.S. Ont. Que. Man. B.C. P.E.I. Alta. Sask. N.W.T. Y.T. N.L. Num.
1952 265 10 12 85 75 14 22 4 17 17 1 1 7  
1966 264 10 11 88 74 13 23 4 19 13 1 1 7  
1976 282 10 11 95 75 14 28 4 21 14 2 1 7  
1987 295 10 11 99 75 14 32 4 26 17 2 1 7  
1996 301 10 11 103 75 14 34 4 26 14 2 1 7  
2003 308 10 11 106 75 14 36 4 28 17 1 1 7 1
2013 338 10 11 121 78 14 42 4 34 14 1 1 7 1

*The 2013 Representation Order increased the number of seats in the House of Commons by 30, effective August 2015.

For a complete history of federal electoral districts since 1867, click here.


Parliaments

Since 1867, the number, names and boundaries of federal electoral districts have changed repeatedly. In successive elections, voters in each electoral district have chosen a candidate to represent them in the House of Commons.

Parliament Date the writs
were issued
Election date Dissolution date Duration
(years, months)
Political party
in power
Seats (won/total)
1st August 6, 1867 Aug. 7–Sept. 20, 1867 July 8, 1872 4 y, 9 m Liberal-Conservative 101/181
2nd July 15, 1872 Jul. 20–Oct. 12, 1872 January 2, 1874 1 y, 5 m Liberal-Conservative 103/200
3rd January 2, 1874 January 22, 1874 August 17, 1878 4 y, 6 m Liberal 133/206
4th August 17, 1878 September 17, 1878 May 18, 1882 3 y, 7 m Liberal-Conservative 137/206
5th May 18, 1882 June 20, 1882 January 15, 1887 4 y, 6 m Liberal-Conservative 139/210
6th January 17, 1887 February 22, 1887 February 3, 1891 4 y, 0 m Liberal-Conservative 123/215
7th February 4, 1891 March 5, 1891 April 24, 1896 5 y, 1 m Liberal-Conservative 123/215
8th April 24, 1896 June 23, 1896 October 9, 1900 4 y, 3 m Liberal 118/213
9th October 9, 1900 November 7, 1900 September 29, 1904 3 y, 9 m Liberal 132/213
10th September 29, 1904 November 3, 1904 September 17, 1908 3 y, 9 m Liberal 139/214
11th September 18, 1908 October 26, 1908 July 29, 1911 2 y, 8 m Liberal 133/221
12th August 3, 1911 September 21, 1911 October 6, 1917 6 y, 0 m Conservative 133/221
13th October 31, 1917 December 17, 1917 October 4, 1921 3 y, 8 m Unionist 153/235
14th October 8, 1921 December 6, 1921 September 5, 1925 3 y, 6 m Liberal 118/235*
15th September 5, 1925 October 29, 1925 July 2, 1926 0 y, 6 m Liberal 115/245*
16th July 20, 1926 September 14, 1926 May 30, 1930 3 y, 7 m Liberal 125/245
17th May 30, 1930 July 28, 1930 August 14, 1935 5 y, 1 m Conservative 137/245
18th August 15, 1935 October 14, 1935 January 25, 1940 4 y, 3 m Liberal 173/245
19th January 27, 1940 March 26, 1940 April 16, 1945 5 y, 1 m Liberal 181/245
20th April 16, 1945 June 11, 1945 April 30, 1949 3 y, 9 m Liberal 125/245
21st April 30, 1949 June 27, 1949 June 13, 1953 4 y, 0 m Liberal 190/262
22nd June 13, 1953 August 10, 1953 April 12, 1957 3 y, 7 m Liberal 171/265
23rd April 12, 1957 June 10, 1957 February 1, 1958 0 y, 5 m Progressive Conservative 111/265*
24th February 1, 1958 March 31, 1958 April 19, 1962 4 y, 1 m Progressive Conservative 208/265
25th April 19, 1962 June 18, 1962 February 6, 1963 0 y, 6 m Progressive Conservative 116/265*
26th February 6, 1963 April 8, 1963 September 8, 1965 2 y, 3 m Liberal 128/265*
27th September 8, 1965 November 8, 1965 April 23, 1968 2 y, 4 m Liberal 131/265*
28th April 25, 1968 June 25, 1968 September 1, 1972 4 y, 2 m Liberal 155/264
29th September 1, 1972 October 30, 1972 May 9, 1974 1 y, 5 m Liberal 109/265*
30th May 9, 1974 July 8, 1974 March 26, 1979 4 y, 7 m Liberal 141/264
31st March 26, 1979 May 22, 1979 December 14, 1979 0 y, 5 m Progressive Conservative 136/282*
32nd December 14, 1979 February 18, 1980 July 9, 1984 4 y, 4 m Liberal 147/282
33rd July 9, 1984 September 4, 1984 October 1, 1988 4 y, 1 m Progressive Conservative 211/282
34th October 1, 1988 November 21, 1988 September 8, 1993 4 y, 8 m Progressive Conservative 169/295
35th September 8, 1993 October 25, 1993 April 27, 1997 3 y, 5 m Liberal 177/295
36th April 27, 1997 June 2, 1997 October 22, 2000 3 y, 4 m Liberal 155/301
37th October 22, 2000 November 27, 2000 May 23, 2004 3 y, 5 m Liberal 172/301
38th May 23, 2004 June 28, 2004 November 29, 2005 1 y, 4 m Liberal 135/308*
39th November 29, 2005 January 23, 2006 September 7, 2008 2 y, 6 m Conservative 124/308*
40th September 7, 2008 October 14, 2008 March 26, 2011 2 y, 4 m Conservative 143/308*
41st March 26, 2011 May 2, 2011 August 2, 2015 4 y, 3 m Conservative 166/308
Average       3 y, 4 m    

For the current number of seats in the House, broken down by province and party, click here.

Prime Ministers

The Prime Minister of Canada is appointed by the Governor General to form a government after a general election or whenever the position otherwise falls vacant. For a list of Canadian prime ministers since 1867, click here.

Voter Turnout

Canada's population has grown steadily since 1867, as has the number of Canadians entitled to vote in a federal election. The turnout in an election is the percentage of electors who cast ballots. For details from 1867 onward, click here.