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Returning Officer's Manual

Part I – Pre-Writ

Part 1, Pre-Writ provides returning officers with an overview of their responsibilities and duties, and outlines the required activities before an electoral event.

This part of the Returning Officer's Manual contains the following chapters:

Chapter 1 – General Information

This Chapter provides an introduction to the Returning Officer's Manual and to your position.

1.1 Introduction to the Manual

This manual gives you, the returning officer (RO), the information you need to understand your role and successfully conduct all activities required before, during and after an electoral event.

Changes have been made to reflect the most recent legislative amendments to the Canada Elections Act (CEA) contained in Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act.

This manual is divided into the following three parts:

The manual is fully indexed and published by the ECDocs team as a companion to the Field Personnel Intranet version, which is identical in content. As changes in procedures or amendments to the Canada Elections Act (CEA) occur, revisions and updates to this manual are issued. If changes occur during an event, EC in Gatineau will inform you of those changes. The revised pages should be inserted immediately in the manual and obsolete pages removed.

Relevant references to the CEA appear after the paragraphs. To reduce the number of brackets and the size of the reference, we have abbreviated the terms within the reference to appear as in the following table:

Section s. 18
Subsection ss. 18(1)
Paragraph par. 18(1)(a)
Subparagraph sp. 18(1)(a)(i)
Clause c. 18(1)(a)(i)(A)

1.2 Introduction to the Returning Officer Position

As an RO, you report directly to the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada and are responsible for managing electoral events in your district. The Returning Officer's Manual gives you the information you need to understand and perform your duties before, during and after electoral events. You are supported by the assistant returning officer (ARO) and, in some instances, an additional assistant returning officer (AARO).

You should be completely familiar with the contents of the Returning Officer's Manual prior to the event. Time is limited during an electoral event and some jobs must be performed concurrently to meet the statutory deadlines. Due to the legislated fixed election date, the issue of the writ is rarely unexpected. When an electoral event is imminent, you should start planning, including inquiring about the availability of office space and preparing a tentative list of election officers. Do not make final arrangements or appointments until the writ is issued.

1.2.1 Appointment

The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) establishes your qualifications and appoints you for a 10 year term. When appointed, you must:

Your appointment ends when:

Note: C-23 also introduced a new process for suspending an RO during election period under s. 24(8).

1.2.2 Eligibility

To be an RO, you must be a qualified elector and live in the ED in which you serve.
ss. 22(4)

The following people do not qualify to act as an RO:

1.2.3 Restrictions

You cannot:

Note: You are allowed to vote.

1.2.4 Code of Professional Conduct

You are subject to conflict of interest guidelines as outlined in Chapter 21, Code of Professional Conduct for Election Administrators (Returning Officers, Assistant Returning Officers and Additional Assistant Returning Officers).

1.2.5 Duties of the Returning Officer

An electoral event is held under the administrative control of the CEO who, under the CEA, is directly responsible to Parliament and not to the government in power. As the RO, you:

You are regularly mandated by the CEO to conduct pre-event planning and activities between electoral events such as keeping files of prospective election officers and polling locations up to date, maintaining contact with printing companies and party organizations, recruiting potential staff and identifying potential key staff to help you meet your obligations when the writ is issued. Refer to 18.13, Preparing for the Returning Officer's Job Checklist.

Throughout the electoral event, you must manage numerous tasks, which are outlined in Table 1a RO Tasks: Before, During and After Electoral Events. Tasks are grouped under the headings Before, During and After an electoral event to indicate when the tasks must be performed. Most of these tasks are performed during the event; however, as part of the pre-event planning, you should be familiar with the sequence of activities.

Table 1a: RO Tasks: Before, During and After Electoral Events
Task Before During After
1. Polling division boundaries Review polling division boundaries in accordance with the CEO's instructions.

Establish advance polling districts.

Establish mobile polls.

Prepare polling division documentation.

Identify new streets.

Identify new developments, high-mobility areas.

Consult the political parties for their comments and suggestions.
Make last-minute changes.

Advise EC, the political parties and candidates of the changes.
Take note of the polling divisions whose boundaries must be changed before the next election.
2. Polling stations Study the accessibility policy.

Contact officials at seniors' residences, chiefs of First Nations band councils, political parties, etc. concerning the location of polling stations.

Identify accessibility criteria shortfalls that can be temporarily modified to comply.

Visit any new locations that are potential polling locations.

Evaluate the accessibility of potential polling locations.

Choose polling sites, including central polls.

Assign polling stations to polling sites.
Confirm the availability of polling locations.

Confirm polling locations in ROPS/SITES.

Finalize rental agreements. Sign the leases.

Purchase materials or get cost estimates to make temporary modifications to polling locations so that they comply with accessibility criteria.

Provide each candidate and each political party that has endorsed candidates with the addresses of polling stations in the ED (s. 125.1-3) and any changes (see section of table on candidates).

Review any accessibility feedback received during advance polls for locations to be used again on polling day and address issues wherever possible.
Make arrangements to remove any materials or temporary construction installed to modify polling locations.

Take note of:
  • Locations that should not be used again;
  • Advance polling districts that must be revised; and
  • Polling divisions that must be regrouped or revised.
Ensure data entry of all Accessibility Feedback forms in ICBMS. Follow up with those electors who have requested it.
3. Relations with Political Parties Discuss the recruitment of election officers.

Determine who were the first and second candidates in the previous election in order to recruit deputy returning officers (DROs) and poll clerks.

Discuss the recruitment of revising agents in particular with respect to targeted revision.

Plan the targeted revision.

Consult the parties about the polling divisions, the polling sites and the road network.

Be prepared to provide the Nomination Paper upon request.
Be prepared to provide the Nomination Paper upon request.

Inform the parties about the electoral process.

Raise all issues about the smooth conduct of the vote.

Provide information about registration and voting under the Special Voting Rules (SVR).

Distribute schedule of EC's seminars on campaign finances.

Ask for the list of names to fill positions: revising agents, registration officers, DROs and poll clerks.

Clearly indicate to the parties:
  • the positions to be filled;
  • our expectations of the parties; and
  • the deadlines for submitting lists for various potential election officer positions.
Make note of suggestions for future events.

Submit all comments or complaints received from the political parties to EC.
4. Relations with Candidates Receive the candidate campaign finances kits and official income tax receipts from EC. Receive the nomination papers and deposits from candidates.

Hand out the kits and official receipts.

Distribute maps, descriptions of the polling divisions and poll keys in a timely manner.

Process the candidates' nomination papers.

Send the candidates' deposits to EC.

Inform each candidate in the ED and each political party that has endorsed a candidate in the ED of the addresses of all polling stations and of any changes to these from Day 24 to polling day.
s. 125.1-3.

Hold a meeting with all the candidates or their representatives.

Distribute the Preliminary Lists of Electors, the Day 19 Lists of Electors, the Revised Lists of Electors and the Official Lists of Electors.

Request the list of names of DROs, poll clerks and registration officers.

Distribute the Notice of Advance Poll, the Notice of Mobile Poll and the Notice of a Grant of Poll to the candidates.

Request representatives for the counting of special ballots in the RO office and for the validation of results.
Return all the unused official receipts to EC.

Receive a copy of the candidates' election expense returns (s. 413) from EC.

Make the election expense returns available to the public for a six-month period.
5. The local RO office Establish requirements.

Conduct office search.

Ask for verification of telephone equipment.

Request pre-approval of office.

Begin discussing costs and conditions with the landlord.

Submit the information to EC.

Draw up an office floor plan in cooperation with the Automation Coordinator (AC) and the ARO.

Order a rubber stamp with number and name of the ED.
Finalize rental arrangements.

Sign lease.

Submit lease agreement for payment.

Finalize floor plan.

Supervise the set-up.

Implement security procedures.
Supervise the closing.
6. Furniture, equipment, supplies Define requirements for furniture, equipment and office supplies.

Contact suppliers to discuss costs and terms.

Buy office supplies.

Receive pre-writ material from EC.

Store EC supplies on site or rent storage space.

Ensure that the storage area is heated in the winter.

Draw up an inventory control system.
Have telephones, multifunction devices and hardware installed.

Order furniture.

Order office equipment.

Buy remaining office supplies.

Organize supply room for efficient storage of supplies.

Receive election material from EC.

Control and distribute EC supplies.

Implement the inventory control system and distribute the supplies received from EC.
Supervise return of all furniture, equipment and supplies.
7. Office staff Review the financial resources available for recruiting staff based on the budget provided by EC.

Identify the positions available for the ED.

Design tentative work plan for allocating resources.

Review job descriptions.

Identify and interview potential office workers.

Identify potential resources, taking into account their command of the two official languages and other languages.
Hire and register staff in the ROPS/SITES application.

Administer oath to staff.

Plan work schedules.

Supervise the staff.

Train staff during the first few days.

Evaluate staff performance for future elections.

Approve office staff's hours every two weeks and fax report to EC.
Evaluate staff performance for subsequent consultation.

Conduct the necessary follow-ups to ensure all staff is paid.
8. Relations with the public Design a communication plan to help staff accurately and efficiently answer inquiries from:
  • the public;
  • the media (all media inquiries are directed to the FLO); and
  • job-seekers.
Draw up a plan to meet linguistic needs (official and other languages).

Implement the plan.
Implement the communication plan to answer inquiries from the public:
  • days, nights and weekends; and
  • during peak periods, i.e., during the revision period and on election day.
Implement the plan to meet linguistic needs (official and other languages).

Regularly monitor the accuracy of the information the staff provides to the public.

Post and distribute EC information documents.
Respond to letters from electors, directly or through EC.
9. Production of lists of electors Recruit an AC, assistant AC and revision supervisor (RS).

Hire and train the AC.

Ensure that the AC is available to receive the necessary training.

Ensure the AC has filled out all the human resources forms.
Hire and train the assistant AC.

Supervise the AC.

Distribute the Preliminary Lists of Electors, the Day 19 Lists of Electors, the Revised Lists of Electors, the Official Lists of Electors.

Hire the revision centre clerks in collaboration with the RS and AC.

Approve the transactions related to the revision of the lists of electors.

Provide local SVR lists to the AC to integrate with REVISE database.

Give the AC:
  • the arrival date and time of the REVISE LAN along with seal number; and
  • restricted access to lists of electors for authorized staff only.
Provide the AC with date and time of pick up of Local Area Network (LAN) by movers.

Oversee entry of election day registrations.

Supervise the dismantling and return of the LAN to EC.
10. Accounts, forms and administrative documents Submit accounts for special assignments.

Submit forms for ARO and AC
Open a bank account.

Deposit accountable advances cheques in bank account.

Prepare electronic forms for the appointment of all election officers and office staff.

Prepare the accounts and management reports and send them to EC within the prescribed time frames.

Approve and submit expense accounts for:
  • rental of RO/AARO office, furniture and equipment;
  • office supplies;
  • printing;
  • petty cash;
  • office staff;
  • temporary staff;
  • rental of polling sites; and
  • other reimbursable expenses.
Submit accountable advances reconciliation within 10 days of election day.

Submit poll officials and landlords' accounts as well as any outstanding accounts to EC for payment as soon as possible.

Respond to questions from staff about their pay.

Respond to information requests from EC.

Close bank account and submit statement.
11. Printing and reproduction of documents Determine how materials should be reproduced.

Consult with printing companies to determine availability and technical capabilities.

Identify a printing company for:
  • the ballots;
  • the lists; and
  • the List of Candidates in Large Print.
Determine number of:
  • copies of lists of electors to distribute to candidates; and
  • ballots to print.
Finalize details of the printing orders.

Meet with the printing company(ies).

Coordinate arrangements with the printing company(ies).

Coordinate photocopies of notices.

Check the proofs and supervise the printing of the ballots.

Review and approve image of the voter information card in REVISE.

Ensure the security of the ballots and lists of electors.

Obtain the bills from the printing company(ies) and pay them with the EC acquisition card (when this is possible).
12. Voting by Transfer Certificates Issue Transfer Certificates (EC 10190) as needed.

Place the copy of the certificates in the appropriate ballot boxes.

Coordinate the issue of the Transfer Certificates (Moved Poll) (EC 50052).
13. Revision of lists of electors Identify all the residential quarters in the ED, paying special attention to:
  • areas of high mobility;
  • new developments;
  • shelters;
  • university residences;
  • senior residences;
  • long-term care facilities; and
  • Aboriginal reserves.
Recruit the RS.

Contact political party representatives who are responsible for recommending the revising agent (RA).

Plan the targeted revision. Determine the number of RAs needed.
Hire and train the RS.

Ensure that RAs are recruited and trained.

Finalize training itinerary and bookings for training space.

Contact and book RAs into training sessions.

Supervise the work of the RS and RAs.

Reproduce and distribute the revised official lists.

Supervise the targeted revision.

Organize and conduct training sessions.

Approve revision transactions in REVISE.

Monitor revision activities through REVISE management reports.

Submit payroll to EC.
14. Special Voting Rules (SVR) for voting by special ballot Identify and interview potential special ballot coordinators (SBC).

Identify at least two SBCs (or more as needed).

Identify acute care hospitals, if any.

Determine the necessary resources (hospital SBC) for hospitalized electors to vote by special ballot, if any.

Determine the necessary resources (DROs and poll clerks) to conduct the voting in correctional institutions, if any.
Provide candidates with SVR information.

Hire and train at least two SBCs (or more as needed).

Arrange for voting by special ballot in the RO's office.

Ensure that registration and voting by special ballot begins on Day 36.

Ensure that ACs understand their responsibilities related to voting by special ballot (according to the SVR).

Distribute special ballot voting kits.

Contact acute care hospital administrators to recommend a hospital SBC.

Appoint and train the hospital SBCs.

Confirm the arrangements with the hospital SBCs.

Contact liaison officers for correctional facilities.

Appoint and train DROs and poll clerks assigned to take the votes of incarcerated electors.

Contact political parties responsible for recommending DROs and poll clerks to count local special ballots.

Appoint and train DROs and poll clerks to count the local special ballots.

Update the list of electors registered under the SVR.

Annotate the list of electors who registered to vote by special ballot before the lists are distributed.

Submit payroll to EC.
Submit accounts and payroll to EC.
15. Voting at the advance polls (Days 10, 9, 8,7) Establish training plan with training officer.

Review advance polling districts.

Develop a contingency plan to ensure all polling stations open at the time prescribed by the CEA.
Issue the Notice of Advance Polls.

Modify the lists of electors that must be used in the advance polls.

Ensure poll officials are recruited and registered in the ROPS/SITES application.

In large EDs, finalize training itinerary and bookings for training space.

Contact poll officials and book them into training sessions.

Prepare and conduct training sessions.

Distribute the ballot boxes and election materials.

Supervise the vote at the advance polls.

Collect the Record of Votes Cast at the Advance Polling Station forms.

Forward the Record of Votes Cast at the Advance Polling Station forms to AC for updates to the REVISE database.

Collect Registration Certificates and Correction Certificates.

Distribute the Statement of Electors Who Voted at the Advance Poll (EC 50109) forms to candidates' representatives as soon as copies are available.

Forward Registration Certificates and Correction Certificates to the AC for updates to the REVISE database.

Notify EC immediately if any advance polling station fails to open on time.
Approve and submit payment file for all poll officials.
16. Voting at the ordinary polls Establish training plan with the training officer.

Review polling divisions and mobile polls.

Identify potential polling sites.

Develop a contingency plan to ensure all polling stations open at the time prescribed by the CEA.
Issue the Notice of Grant of a Poll and the Notice of Mobile Poll.

Ensure DROs and poll clerks are recruited and registered in the ROPS/SITES application.

If applicable, appoint registration officers, information officers, central poll supervisor (CPS) and a person responsible for maintaining order (PRMO) and ensure they are registered (if applicable) in the ROPS/ SITES application.

Finalize the training itinerary and bookings for training space.

Contact all poll officials and book them into training sessions.

Organize and conduct training sessions for poll officials.

Distribute ballot boxes and election materials, and amend the lists of electors.

Supervise the training sessions.

Notify EC immediately if any polling station fails to open on time.
Approve and submit payment file for all poll officials.
17. Election day Plan RO office set up. Order additional materials, as required.

Supervise the vote at ordinary polls.

Hire additional staff.

Respond to queries from the public.

Supervise the counting of the special ballots received at the returning office.

Prepare the office to receive the results.

Provide space for media representatives to receive the results.

Ensure site security.
Conduct the validation.
18. Results of the vote Count the local special ballots.

Receive the preliminary results from the CPSs and DROs.

Receive the ballots boxes and election materials.

Enter the results of the vote in the Event Results System (ERS).

Transmit the results to the media and EC.
Conduct the validation of results.

Count the official results (by polling division) according to the ERS and send the reports to EC.

Enter the election day registrations for the final lists.

Coordinate the preparations for a judicial recount if necessary.

Assist the judge (in the event of a judicial recount).

Print and distribute the Result of Voting report.
19. Complete the return of the writ Receive and store the writ in a safe location. Complete and sign the Return of the Writ (printed on the back of the writ) and send it to the CEO in the Special Envelope for the return of the Writ (EC 11510).
20. Close the office Complete decommissioning process in the ROPS/SITES application and ERS (refer to the AC manual).
21. Return all materials to EC Contact Canada Post to arrange for pick-up.

Sort and pack all materials according to prescribed procedures.
Fill out the List of Reusable Office Supplies and Materials on page 18-73 in Chapter 18.

Confirm pick up with EC.

Supervise pick up.
22. Complete the RO's Report of Proceedings Update the online report throughout the election. Update and complete the online report at the end of the election.
23. Deal with the Candidate's Electoral Campaign Return forms Receive copies of returns from EC and make them available for public inspection.

1.2.6 Delegation of Authority

You may delegate any of your powers and duties to the ARO, AARO and the DRO, in writing, except those prohibited in ss. 27(1) of the CEA (see Table 1b Powers and Duties: Cannot be Delegated by an RO). EC contacts you when you need to renew the delegation.
ss. 27(1), (2)

The following duties may be delegated to an ARO or AARO:

The following duty may be delegated to a DRO:

The following duty may be delegated to a CPS:

Upon approval of the CEO, you may authorize in writing any person acting under your direction to exercise and perform any of the powers and duties conferred or imposed by the CEA, except those prohibited in ss. 27(1).

Remuneration for ROs is provided in the Federal Elections Fees Tariff.
s. 542

Table 1b: Powers and Duties: Cannot be Delegated by an RO
Power Canada Elections Act
Receipt and return of the writ of election. s. 57, 313 to 316
ss. 24(3)
Receipt of an Affidavit of Objection. s. 103
Process of an Affidavit of Objection. s. 104
Issue of the Notice of Election. s. 62
Receipt of Nomination Paper of each candidate s. 67
Issue of the receipt for the deposit of a candidate. ss. 72(1)
Issue of notice to candidate of confirmation or refusal of nomination. ss. 71(1)
Receipt of withdrawal of candidates. s. 74
Postponement of election upon the death of a confirmed candidate endorsed by a registered political party. s. 77
Return by acclamation. s. 63
Conduct of the validation of the results. s. 293 to 298
Request for judicial recount. s. 300
Attendance at a judicial recount. ss. 301(6)
Determination of voting hours in EDs containing more than one time zone. s. 130

Regardless whether you delegate authority or not, the Delegation of Authority form (EC 10090) must be completed and submitted to EC prior to the electoral event.

1.2.7 Special Powers

You may remove or arrest persons who are committing offences in an RO office where voting is occurring. If you seek to arrest a person, you must advise the person of the right to be represented by counsel and deliver the person to a police officer.

The power to remove or arrest should only be used in cases of emergency. In all instances, you should call the local police if trouble arises that cannot be dealt with through ordinary means of resolution.
s. 479

1.2.8 Removal from Office

You may be removed from office if you:
ss. 24(7)

Note: During an election period, the CEO may temporarily suspend you from office for any grounds set out in ss. 24(7).
ss. 24(8)

1.3 The Assistant Returning Officer

1.3.1 Appointment

You must appoint an assistant returning officer (ARO). You both must complete and submit to EC the Appointment and Oath of Assistant Returning Officer form (EC 10100), which includes both the official appointment and the oath of office.
s. 26 and 29

Note: The ARO can swear an oath of office before you.

The ARO is appointed for an indeterminate period, but you may replace the ARO at any time. A written notification of replacement must be submitted to the ARO and a copy of the notification sent to the CEO.

An ARO who intends to resign shall give you written notice of resignation or, if the position of RO is vacant, to the CEO.
ss. 29(4)

If the ARO position becomes vacant, you must appoint a new ARO.

1.3.2 Eligibility

AROs must be qualified electors resident in the ED in which they act. You may not appoint a spouse, common-law partner, immediate family members, the child of a spouse or common-law partner, or a person who lives with you to be an ARO.

The following people do not qualify to act as an ARO:

1.3.3 Restrictions

While holding office an ARO may not act in any other capacity under the CEA.
s. 31

Note: An ARO is permitted to vote.

1.3.4 Code of Professional Conduct

An ARO is subject to the same conflict of interest instructions as you are. See Chapter 21, Code of Professional Conduct for Election Administrators (Returning Officers, Assistant Returning Officers and Additional Assistant Returning Officers).

1.3.5 Duties of the ARO

The CEA specifies that the ARO's presence is required:

In remote areas, the ARO may travel on your behalf.

Unless otherwise stated in the CEA, an ARO may administer oaths and affirmations.
s. 549

1.3.6 ARO Acting as RO

If you are absent from the ED, or unable to act, the ARO shall act in your place until a successor is appointed or you are again able to act. An ARO acting as an RO must appoint a new ARO.
ss. 28(1), 28(3), 28(5)

Note: You or the ARO must immediately notify the CEO if you are unable to act

1.3.7 Remuneration

Remuneration for AROs is provided in the Federal Elections Fees Tariff.
s. 542

1.4 The Additional Assistant Returning Officer

1.4.1 Appointment

If you request it, the CEO may designate areas in your ED and authorize, in writing, the appointment of one or more additional assistant returning officers (AAROs). These election officers help manage the electoral process for specific polling divisions at a satellite office set up for them within that area.
ss. 30(1)

Note: An AARO can be appointed only upon the CEO's prior approval.

You appoint the AARO by completing and submitting to EC the Appointment and Oath of Assistant Returning Officer form (EC 10100). Ensure that the appropriate box is checked to indicate that the appointment is for an AARO, not an ARO.
ss. 30(1), (2)

The AARO receives:

1.4.2 Eligibility

The AARO must be a qualified elector living in the ED to which he or she is appointed. You may not appoint to the position of AARO a spouse, common-law partner, immediate family members, the child of a spouse or common-law partner, or a person you live with.

The following people also do not qualify as an AARO:

1.4.3 Code of Professional Conduct

The AARO is subject to the same conflict of interest instructions as you are. Refer to Chapter 21, Code of Professional Conduct for Election Administrators (Returning Officers, Assistant Returning Officers and Additional Assistant Returning Officers).

1.4.4 Duties

The AARO assists you with electoral event duties for the geographic area for which the AARO has been appointed.

The AARO may administer oaths and affirmations other than those for which the administrator is specified.
s. 549

The AARO cannot replace you.
ss. 30(4)

The AARO is not required to:

1.4.5 Remuneration

Remuneration for AAROs is provided in the Federal Elections Fees Tariff.
s. 542

1.5 Boundaries

1.5.1 Electoral District

You administer the electoral event in a federal electoral district (ED). The CEA defines "electoral district" as any place or territorial area that is represented by a member in the House of Commons.
ss. 2(1)

1.5.2 Electoral District Boundaries

The boundaries of an ED are normally readjusted following each decennial census, pursuant to the Constitution Act and the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act. The exercise is called the redistribution of the federal electoral boundaries.

1.5.3 Polling Divisions

An ED is divided into polling divisions, which are numbered consecutively. "Polling division" means any division, subdivision, district, sub-district or other territorial area set by EC headquarters (ECHQ) for which a list of electors is prepared and for which at least one polling station is established.

You are responsible for revising polling division boundaries as instructed by the CEO.
s. 538

1.5.4 Advance Polling Districts

ECHQ directs you to establish advance polling districts. You are responsible for revising advance polling district boundaries and establishing polling stations as instructed by the CEO.
s. 168

1.5.5 Mobile Polling Stations

A mobile poll is created for multiple institutions where seniors or persons with a physical disability reside. It is created for people who would find it difficult or impossible to vote outside their residence on polling day.

Most institutions do not expect a rental fee for the use of their premises. If the institution requests payment, you may pay a rental fee of $8.00 per hour provided the DRO and poll clerk are at the institution for at least five hours.

1.6 Maintenance of the National Register of Electors

1.6.1 The National Register of Electors

The National Register of Electors (NRoE) is a database of eligible Canadian electors and is used to produce the Preliminary Lists of Electors for a general election, a referendum, or a by-election.
s. 44

Between electoral events, NRoE maintenance is performed at EC on a regular basis using data sources from:

When a general election is called after the issuing of the writ, EC uses the most recent updates to generate the Preliminary Lists of Electors.
s. 93

Elector updates may be made to the NRoE during an event. If this happens, these changes will appear in the RO approval screen on REVISE for you to accept or refuse.

Electors may request that their name be added, corrected or deleted from the NRoE or may decline to have personal information shared with other electoral jurisdictions for electoral purposes. In these cases, the elector must make a written request to the CEO.
s. 50

Note: Opting out of the NRoE or declining to share the NRoE's information does not affect the elector's right to vote.

1.6.2 E-Registration

E-Registration is EC's online (self-service) voter registration service. Qualified electors can use this service to check if they are on the NRoE, update their address if need be or register. During the revision period, any updates that an elector completes will appear in the REVISE application for your approval, as you are responsible for revising the Preliminary Lists of Electors during an electoral event.
s. 47

1.6.3 Reproduction of the Preliminary Lists of Electors

After the issue of the writ, you should make arrangements with the printing company to have the Preliminary Lists of Electors reproduced for distribution to all confirmed candidates.

Confirmed candidates are entitled to receive a printed and electronic copy of the Preliminary Lists of Electors for the ED in which they are running as soon as they are available. They may request a maximum of four additional printed copies.
s. 94

1.7 The Production of Lists

1.7.1 The Local Area Network

EC provides you with the hardware to establish a local area network (LAN).

The LAN consists of:

All these workstations can and should be used to serve electors during peak periods of the revision. The LAN equipment is scheduled to arrive between Day 36 and Day 33. The Revision Systems Help Desk will inform you of the arrival date and time. IBM will contact you to advise you of the date and time of delivery. The AC supervises the arrival and installation of the LAN equipment.

REVISE is an application used to update and produce the lists of electors.

ERS is the Event Results System, which is used to prepare your results reports and enter the results of each polling station.

ROPS/SITES is the application used to manage your polling places, poll workers and payments.

Supply Management System by Intranet (SMSi) is used to order more supplies.

Each workstation also has access to MS Word, MS Excel, Internet Browser (to access REVISE, INTRANET and the Field Personnel Intranet) and Adobe Reader.

1.7.2 Using the computer equipment

You ensure the installation of the LAN by:

Approvals are required for the following:

Automation Coordinator

With the RS, the AC should give you daily revision progress briefings. If a problem arises, the AC should consult you. EC has established guidelines and instructions for the duties and responsibilities of the AC.

Revision Supervisor

The revision supervisor (RS) supervises the revision process and works with the AC. Two people may assume these duties. You should ensure that the total number of allocated hours is not exceeded and the areas of responsibility are clearly defined.

For details on hiring and the roles and responsibilities of office staff, see Chapter 5, Poll Workers and Office Staff.

1.7.3 Privacy/Secrecy of lists of electors

The privacy of elector information must be safeguarded at all times. All documents containing elector information should be kept out of public view. Safely store documents at the end of each day to prevent any person from having unlawful access to them. Ensure that all scrap paper containing elector information is returned to EC for shredding.

Access to computerized lists of electors within REVISE must be restricted to authorized personnel at all times. Use of computerized lists of electors by authorized personnel must be for electoral purposes only.

1.8 Managing Election Materials

To help you identify and retrieve electoral event materials, EC uses a quick reference numbering system. You should assign a staff member as an inventory/shipping clerk to manage election materials and supplies.

1.8.1 Elections Canada's Inventory system

EC's election materials inventory numbers are based on the period during which the item is used and the people who use it. All election materials sent to your office are identified with inventory numbers.

Table 1c: Inventory Numbers for Election Materials
Serial Numbers Used By Used When
EC 10000s ROs, AROs or AAROs Before, during and after an election period.
EC 20000s Candidates During and after the election period.
EC 40000s RAs and electors During the revision period.
EC 50000s Election officials During election days.
EC 60000s EC staff (HQ only) In relation to Electoral Geography.
EC 70000s SVR officials and electors In relation to SVR.
EC 90000s Communications Before, during and after an election period.

1.8.2 Receiving Election Materials

EC sends election materials in distinct lots. The lot numbers are identified on the shipments and the contents of each lot are listed on a Returning Officer's List of Supplies used as a packing slip. Lots are colour-coded for identification.

Table 1d: Colour Code for Lot Numbers
Lot 1 For RO Before and At Issue of Writ Pastel yellow
Lot 2 Material for Candidates Turquoise
Lot 3 Material for Special Ballot Coordinator Aqua
Lot 4 Accessories for RO Office Lilac
Lot 5 Manuals for Automation Coordinator, Revision Supervisor and Revising Agents Beige
Lot 6 Material for Financial Officer Gold
Lot 7 Material for Revision Peach
Lot 8 Material for Targeted Revision Light orange
Lot 9 Other Material for Revision Supervisor and Automation Coordinator Bright orange
Lot 10 Material for Training of Poll Officials Bright orange
Lot 11 Material for AARO in SVRE Offices Pearl grey
Lot 12 Various Material and Forms for Polling Stations Yellow
Lot 13 Material for Community Relations Officers Mint green
Lot 14 Signage for Polling Sites Light blue
Lot 15 Material for Information Officer Light pink
Lot 16 Material for Registration Officer Red
Lot 17 Material for poll site – Central Poll Supervisor (CPS) Bright pink
Lot 18 Material for DROs – Advance Polls Purple
Lot 19 Material for DROs – Ordinary Polls Neon yellow
Lot 20 Material for DROs – Mobile Polls Green
Lot 21 Ballot Paper Sheets White
Lot 22 Voting Screens for Polling Day Bright blue
Lot 23 Ballot Boxes for Polling Day and VIC Collection Boxes Blue grey
Lot 24 Material for the Counting of SVR Votes Warm grey
Lot 25 Material for the Validation of Voting Results Brown
Lot 26 Material for Hospital Special Ballot Coordinator (HSBCs) Cool grey
Lot 27 Boxes for the Return of Material and Validation of the Results Material Lime
Lot 28 Accessories for the Return of Material (monotainer) Neon green
Lot 29 Material for Poll Officials Guidebooks Pink

To view a complete list of election materials, see the SMSi.

The quantity of election materials for each ED is based on available electoral geographic data or other statistics you have provided to EC. Using SMSi, you can view the list and quantities of electoral materials. For step-by-step instructions for using SMSi, see 2.2, Automated Systems.

Verifying Election Materials

Due to the time constraints of an electoral event, the shipment should be verified when the election materials arrive and EC notified if any items are missing. In effect, these items are required when deadlines approach and distances involved may prevent you from obtaining these election materials on time.

Rubber Stamp

For some forms, a rubber stamp is required to apply the name of the ED. The stamp is not provided in the election materials. You must order a rubber stamp in advance from a local supplier using your acquisition card. See 18.19, Specifications for Self-Inking Stamps.

1.8.3 Storing Election Materials

A certain quantity of election materials is sent to you prior to the issue of the writ.

Every ED will receive election materials prior to an event. You should:

To assist you in determining the storage space required, EC has determined that two monotainers (shipping container from Canada Post) should be delivered. A monotainer is approximately 44 cubic feet. Monotainer covers should be re-used when returning the election materials after the election.

The Federal Elections Fees Tariff provides a storage fee to be paid to you between electoral events, as well as when the first shipment of election materials is sent to you. Payments are automatically made by EC twice a year in March and September.

1.8.4 Inventory/Shipping Clerk

All EDs are eligible for an inventory/shipping clerk who is responsible for managing and controlling the inventory of election materials and supplies. The assigned staff member should establish the appropriate mechanisms to ensure there is no shortage of election materials and supplies throughout the electoral event.

The Inventory/Shipping Clerk's Manual (EC 10475) will help this person to carry out his or her duties and responsibilities. The electronic format is preferred as this manual requires frequent changes and it allows us to provide you with the latest information.

You are responsible for printing this manual from the electoral district sub-directory in the Public Folders and giving a copy to the inventory/shipping clerk or to the staff member assigned to this position.

1.9 Field Liaison Officers

EC established a regional support program for ROs and their staff in 2003 with the Field Liaison Officer Program.

Thirty-three experienced election professionals are appointed as field liaison officers (FLOs) and report to EC through the Field Liaison Officer Program, within the Field Communications Division of the Field Personnel Readiness directorate of the Event Management Sector. FLOs provide support, guidance and training both during and between electoral events to you and your staff. Twenty-seven FLOs support a given geographical region, while the remaining six act as backup to the first group to provide additional support as required.

FLOs provide functional leadership to a group of up to 17 ROs. EC continues to exercise direct supervision over field personnel. Daily communication with ROs between and during electoral events is channeled through the EC Support Network (ECSN). FLOs also offer their expertise to EC and field staff as quality enhancers, troubleshooters and media representatives.

As quality enhancers, FLOs provide leadership, guidance and advice to ROs to improve service delivery and the management of the electoral process. For example, FLOs support and assist you when you conduct pre-event planning assignments. As required, they help you complete your assignments according to instructions and within the deadlines provided. They are often called upon to verify this work to ensure local issues and concerns have been addressed, or to ensure a cohesive approach to a given activity within the region that they support.

FLOs also monitor field activities in their areas and intervene as required to assist ROs facing difficulties and unforeseen challenges.

FLOs are also responsible for communication with the media at the local level. They work with regional media advisors recruited by the Communications Directorate to provide responses to media questions in the field.

FLOs help recruit ROs by acting as members of the recruitment committee set up in the area where the vacancy has occurred. Following appointment by the CEO, a new RO will attend an initial orientation session by the FLO for the region, prior to attending a training session in Gatineau. The FLOs also participate in evaluating the ROs after an electoral event.

The geographical distributions of FLOs is as follows:

Table 1e: Geographical Distribution of FLOs
Region District
Atlantic Newfoundland and Labrador
Prince Edward Island & New Brunswick
Nova Scotia
Quebec Québec City
Gaspésie-Bas-du-Fleuve-North of Quebec
Estrie-Centre of Quebec-Montérégie
Western Quebec
Ontario Eastern Ontario
Northern Ontario
Toronto 1
Toronto 2
Toronto 3
South central Ontario
Southern Ontario 1
Southern Ontario 2
Southwestern Ontario
West Manitoba
Southern Alberta
Northern Alberta
Rural British Columbia
Vancouver Island and Region
Northern Canada

Six FLOs act as back-up resources for the 27 FLOs, who are each responsible for a given region.

Field Resource Persons

During general elections, EC supplements the Field Liaison Officer Program with a response team of field resource persons (FRP) who support you more directly. FRPs are experienced individuals who can give you quick and personalized assistance for short or extended periods of time when facing unusual or unforeseen situations. FRPs work closely with the FLOs. Their services are retained through a contract issued following a competitive process.

1.10 Communicating with Elections Canada

Use the following options to contact EC in Ottawa.

Office Hours

Between electoral events: Monday to Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time).

During pre-event: Monday to Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

During electoral events: EC informs you of the extended office hours.

Please note that the ECSN's office hours are subject to change based on operational requirements; all changes are communicated to field personnel via email, as necessary.

Between and During an Electoral Event

The Elections Canada Support Network (ECSN) provides support and information services to you and your staff (for a description of ECSN, see 7.13, Support Network). You and your staff should contact the ECSN directly. As necessary, ECSN agents will provide first-call resolution, acquire additional information on your behalf, or escalate the call to a higher authority


Email address

Phone Numbers
Mailing Address

Elections Canada
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0M6

Shipping Address

Elections Canada
100-440 Coventry Road
Ottawa, Ontario
K1K 2Y5

Fax Numbers

1.10.1 Correspondence

When forwarding correspondence to EC, clearly identify your name, your ED name and number and the name of the recipient. If correspondence for more than one individual or directorate is included in a larger envelope, label each piece correctly.

Items sent to EC or elsewhere may have to arrive by a certain day, especially during an electoral event. As RO, you must decide whether to use regular mail or priority courier services to ensure a timely delivery.

Note: It is good practice to keep a copy of any documents that you send to EC.

Regular Mail

To avoid delivery delays, ensure that the item has sufficient postage. Postage is based on the weight of the item. Obtain receipts from the post office to submit with the expense accounts.

Priority Courier Services

The Canada Post kit sent to you contains 300 Priority Courier waybills with instructions, but no Priority Courier envelopes. To send an item, you may use whatever you have at your disposal – for example, regular or padded envelopes or even boxes.

Electoral District-Specific Preprinted Waybills

Complete this document when mailing Priority Courier items. You must complete a waybill for each item to be shipped.

How to complete the waybill:

Once your waybill is completed

Note: Do not leave any article or waybill on the counter or deposit them in a mailbox

Once your items have been shipped
How to follow up on a mailed item (Priority Courier items)

Two options are available. For either option you must have the barcode number that you are inquiring about.

  1. Phone 1-888-550-6333 and follow the instructions.
    • Language of choice (1 – English, 2 – French)
    • Select 1: Delivery Status of traceable product
    • Enter the first 11 alphanumeric numbers of the item (e.g., LH 169 838 865)
  2. Go to
    • From the main menu page, click Business in the top right corner.
    • On the next screen, locate the Track menu on the right side
    • Enter the entire item number (e.g., LH 169 838 865 ca)
    • Click Go. This will give you shipping and delivery information.