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Community Relations Officers Survey — Executive Summary — 41st General Election

Submitted to
Elections Canada

Prepared By
Léger Marketing

507, Place d'Armes, bureau 700
Montréal, Québec
G1R 2K2
Tel: 514-982-2464
Fax: 514-987-1960

Background and Context

Leger Marketing was contracted by Elections Canada to provide results of the Community Relations Officers survey (questionnaires) from the 41st General Election to be used by Elections Canada as one of the tools to evaluate the program.

The survey was a self-administered paper survey created, distributed and collected by Elections Canada. In total, 308 questionnaires of a possible 863 were received and tabulated. The results are based on information gathered from these questionnaires. The number of responses per question varies as not all respondents answered every question.

Overall averages, levels of satisfaction, agreements and usefulness are presented to establish what respondents feel has worked and what hasn't. Whenever possible, results from the 40th General Election (2008) and 39th General Election (2006) are presented for comparison purposes. However, the questionnaire is significantly different than previous years preventing a direct comparison. Detailed frequencies are available in a separate document.

General Findings

The breakdown of CROs, per target group, who answered the survey is as follows: 43% CRO-Seniors, 33% CRO-Youth, 18% CRO-Aboriginal, 16% CRO-Ethno-cultural groups and 9% CRO-Homeless.

The majority of respondents felt the CRO program was helpful in raising awareness about the electoral process within their target group.

On average, respondents worked 63 hours before and during the election. Seventy-five percent of respondents reported working zero hours as a Community Relations Officer on election day. Forty-four percent of respondents worked at an ordinary poll in another position than CRO. 23% worked at an advance poll.

Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed spent most of their time in the field, while 26% spent as much time in the field as in the office. Sixty-two percent of respondents were supervised by the RO and 27% by the ARO.

Twenty percent of respondents reported they had difficulties in exercising their role as a CRO.

While respondents felt election materials were at least somewhat useful, respondents were split on whether or not the EC materials were very useful (46%) or somewhat useful (45%).

Fifty-six percent of those who responded don't feel any other groups in their electoral district would have benefitted from having a CRO. Respondents suggested several options for improving the CRO program. More awareness/advertising (14%) and more time to implement relationship (15%) were the top items suggested to improve the program.

Eighty percent of respondents felt that the CRO job description reflected the duties undertaken. 87% felt the RO was clear in conveying the CRO responsibilities upon the initial hiring process.

Staffing and Training of Community Relations Officers

Community Relations Officers who responded to the survey helped recruit 87 Poll Clerks, 73 Deputy Returning Officers, 18 Youth, 48 Information Officers and 16 Elders.

Eighty-seven percent of respondents did not help train other staff members.

Respondents thought that being given the training for DRO, Poll Clerk and/or Revising Agent was useful.

Training materials for CROs were adequate for 64% of those surveyed.

Fifty-four percent agreed or strongly agreed that the salary for the CROs was sufficient.

Tools Provided to Community Relations Officers

Thirty-five percent of respondents proposed most of the outreach activities for their action plan. 42% of respondents indicated that the ROs or AROs and the CROs decided on outreach activities together.

The outreach action plan was a useful tool for 74% of respondents. 72% used the action plan to make sure they were on track with their outreach activities and, 77% said the action plan reflected the activities undertaken during the election.

Ninety percent of respondents reported that the CRO position was a positive experience.

Three sections in the CRO guide were deemed particularly useful: "Goal of the CRO program" (83%), "Your role" (81%) and "Job Descriptions and Statements of Qualifications" (79%). Although all three scores decreased in 2011 the difference was not statistically significant when compared to 2008.

Potential improvements to the CRO guide pertain to making it more customized to seniors (10%), emphasizing the outreach action plan (10%) and providing clearer information (11%).

Outreach Activities

Most information kiosks were set up in colleges and universities followed by shopping malls and community resource centres.

Information sessions were more predominant in senior's residences followed by long term care facilities and colleges and universities.

Contacts were made with organizations, mainly on First Nations Reserves or with Band Offices, in order to reach out to the Aboriginal electors.

The AEYP program was well received in the Aboriginal community according to 66% of the respondents. Forty-seven percent thought the salary was adequate, and just over half of them felt it was easy to recruit for the AEYP positions.

Fifty-six percent of respondents stated that the AEYP program was put in place in their electoral district. Most CROs stated the largest value of the program was to Aboriginal Elders.

Eighty percent felt the Voter Information Cards made it easier for Aboriginal electors to vote. The brochure was clear and easy to understand with 76% of respondents agreeing with that statement and 71% agreeing that it was a helpful support tool.

In the youth community, the majority of contacts were made in colleges and universities, high schools and recreational centres. 89% of respondents felt that these contacts were pertinent for the youth target group.

The content on the information cards for students was considered appropriate by 74% of respondents. Kiosks (44%) and schools (42%) were the main locations where the information cards were distributed with a variety of locations accounting for the rest.

Respondents reported that posters (29%) and pamphlets (30%) were the most useful tools.

Forty-eight percent of respondents reported generally positive feedback regarding the materials. 17% of respondents thought the new promotional products should be made more appealing (visually), 14% felt it should be better and 12% noted it should be more informational.

Seventy-two percent felt the Voter Information Card made it easier for young electors to vote. Sixty-three percent of respondents reported that youth appeared to understand that they could use the VIC as proof of address and identity.

Within the ethno-cultural communities, the most predominant places to make contacts are community resource centres followed by recreational centres. Ninety-four percent thought the ethno-cultural contacts were beneficial.

Contacts for homeless electors were in shelters and hostels, soup kitchens, food banks and other housing organizations. These contacts were pertinent according to 77% of the respondents who worked with this target group.

Contacts for senior electors were made in long term care facilities and senior's residences. These contacts were pertinent according to 96% of the respondents who worked with this target group.

Seventy-four percent of respondents reported that seniors appeared to understand that they could use the VIC as proof of address and identity. According to respondents, the brochure was clear and easy to understand with 86% agreeing with that statement and 76% agreeing that it was a helpful support tool.

Community Relations Officer Profile

Respondents to the survey were representative of a number of visible minorities: Asian (36%), First Nations (23%) and East India (21%).
41st General Election(n=47) 40th General Election (n=51)
Chinese/ Japanese / Korean 36% 19%
Aboriginal / First Nations 23% 19%
Indian / East Indian 21% 37%
Métis Nation 2% 4%
African 9% 2%
South / Central America 4% 2%
Eastern Europe 2% 2%

Aboriginal Groups

82% mentioned they were a Status Indian, 10% Métis, 5% Inuit and 3% indicated another group. Compared to 2008, only 67% of respondents were status Indian, 12% were Metis, 5% Inuit and 3% listed other.

Languages Spoken

English (92%), French (42%), Spanish (5%), Cantonese (5%) and Mandarin (4%) are the most frequently spoken languages by respondents.

41st General Election(n=283) 40th General Election (n=219)
English 92% 89%
French 42% 40%
Spanish 5% 10%
Cantonese 5% 5%
Mandarin 4% 6%
Hindi 2% 5%
Punjabi 2% 5%
Urdu 2% 2%
Arabic 1% 2%
Bengali 1% 1%
Cree 1% 2%
Creole 1% 2%
German 1% 1%
Dutch 1% 0%
Italian 1% 1%
Greek 1% 0%
Gujarati 1% 3%
Innu 1% 0%
MicMac / MigMag 1% 2%
Ojibwa 1% 2%
Farsi 1% 0%
Swahili 1% 1%
Ukrainian 1% 1%
Polish 1% 1%
Japanese 0% 1%
Tagalog /Filipino 0% 1%
Russian 0% 1%
Others 5% 5%

People with Disabilities

Four respondents self identified as a person with a disability. One identified a mental health disability, another identified a mobility issue, while two did not specify the nature of the disability.

Age and Gender

Thirty-five percent of the CROs surveyed were men, while 65% were women. Eighteen percent were 18-24 years old, nineteen percent were between 25-44, 42% were between 45-64 and 21% were over 65.