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Performance Report – For the period ending March 31, 2012

Section II: Analysis of Program Activities in Support of the Strategic Outcome

Strategic Outcome

The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer operates toward one strategic outcome:

An Accessible Electoral Framework That Canadians Trust and Use

Achieving this strategic outcome is facilitated by a Program Activity Architecture consisting of three program activities that are directly beneficial to Canadians.

Program Activity Expected Result
Electoral Operations The electoral process is accessible and administered fairly and efficiently.
Regulation of Electoral Activities Canadians have confidence in the fairness of the administration and enforcement of electoral legislation.
Electoral Engagement Canadians make informed decisions about their engagement in the electoral process.

A fourth program activity, Internal Services, exists to support Elections Canada in achieving the expected results of these three program activities.

Program Activity 1: Electoral Operations

Program Activity Description

This program activity allows Elections Canada to deliver fair and efficient electoral events whenever they may be required so that Canadians are able to exercise their democratic right to vote in a federal general election, by-election or referendum. To this end, the agency provides an accessible and constantly improved electoral process that is responsive to the needs of electors.

2011–2012 Financial Resources ($ thousands)
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending*
35,030 204,824 202,833

*Refer to the Agency Spending Trend section on page 11 for an explanation of the variance between planned and actual spending.

2011–2012 Human Resources (FTEs)
Planned Actual Difference
212 247 35

*The difference of 35 FTEs between planned and actual usage is mainly a result of the requirement for additional temporary employees for the delivery of the 41st general election. (The timing of the election was unknown when these estimates were drawn up.)

Program Activity Performance Summary
Expected Result Performance Indicator* Actual Results
The electoral process is administered fairly and efficiently. Cost of elections per elector The total estimated cost of the 41st general election was $289 million, or approximately $12 per registered elector.

When adjusted for inflation, the total cost for the election and the cost per registered elector were slightly lower than the two previous elections. This decrease reflects the agency's efforts to effectively manage costs while serving an increasing number of electors.
Percentage of Canadians who believe that Elections Canada administers elections in a fair manner According to the post-election Survey of Electors, 90 percent of the general population, 88 percent of youth and 84 percent of Aboriginal electors believed that Elections Canada had run the election in a fair manner.

This is the first time that the agency has assessed the perceived fairness of the administration of an election and the level of trust in the election results. The survey will provide a baseline for monitoring long-term trends.
Elections Canada is prepared to hold electoral events whenever they are called. Percentage of electoral offices that are fully functional within seven days of the start of an electoral event All 308 local Elections Canada offices were open by Day 31 of the 37-day election calendar (an improvement of one day over the 2008 general election), and more offices were open earlier compared to that election. Their computer networks were installed more quickly in 2011 than in 2008.
Canadians have opportunities to exercise their democratic right to vote. Percentage of electors who report not voting for administrative reasons Of the non-voters surveyed, only 6 percent cited issues related to the electoral process itself, compared to 8 percent for the 40th general election.
Percentage of polls that open on time Virtually all polls opened on time on election day. Only 271 out of 66,146 ordinary polls (less than 1 percent) reported opening late. This is comparable to the percentage of advance polls opening late.
Percentage of electors who are satisfied with their experience of casting a ballot According to the Survey of Electors:
  • 99 percent found that it was very easy or somewhat easy to vote
  • 97 percent found that the polling station they used was located at a convenient distance from their place of residence
  • 99 percent were satisfied with the language in which they were served at the polling station
  • 97 percent were satisfied with the amount of time they had to wait; however, there was evidence of processing delays, particularly at advance polls
  • 98 percent were satisfied with the instructions they received for casting a ballot
Canadians have the information and support they need to participate in elections. Percentage of Canadians who are aware of the variety of voting methods available The Survey of Electors found that virtually all eligible voters (98 percent) reported being aware of the 41st general election. In addition, 43 percent of respondents knew that it was possible to vote by mail at any time during a federal election, compared to 35 percent in 2008. However, nearly half of all Canadians aged 18 to 34 were unaware of the options for voting other than at the polls on election day.
Percentage of Canadians who know how and where to vote Some 91 percent of electors who were aware of the election recalled receiving a VIC, which they cited as the primary source of information on voting procedures, including when and where to vote.
Canadians are provided with timely electoral results that accurately reflect the choices they have made. Percentage of polls reporting preliminary results after they close Virtually all polls (99.6 percent) reported preliminary results after they closed. There were 28 polls in 14 electoral districts that did not report results on election night.
Variance between preliminary results and validated results For 1,482 polls (2.3 percent), results changed between preliminary results and validation, compared to 1,371 and 1,205 polls for the 40th and 39th general elections, respectively.
Variance between reported results and results after judicial recounts Judicial recounts took place in four electoral districts. All four recounts confirmed the results obtained by the returning officers at the validation of the results of the vote. The difference between the vote totals for the first- and second-place candidates changed by very little: four votes in Montmagny–L'Islet–Kamouraska–Rivière-du-Loup (Quebec), one vote in Etobicoke Centre (Ontario), three votes in Nipissing–Timiskaming (Ontario) and one vote in Winnipeg North (Manitoba).
Independent electoral commissions have the capacity to carry out their obligations under the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act. Percentage of commissioners who are satisfied with the services and support they have received from Elections Canada Feedback from commissioners and their staff regarding the launch conference was universally positive and indicated that they felt prepared to carry out their mandate.

*Targets for these performance indicators are under development.

Performance Summary and Analysis of Program Activity

While the preparations for and delivery of the 41st general election had a significant impact on its plans and priorities, Elections Canada made progress on two key initiatives.

Since a general election can take place at any time under a minority government, Elections Canada had to maintain a continuous high level of electoral readiness leading up to the 41st general election. This ensured that if an election was called, the agency could quickly mobilize its resources both in Ottawa and in the field. The evaluation of the 41st general election indicates that Elections Canada was well prepared and delivered the election fairly and efficiently.

Administrative improvements tested in the fall 2009 and fall 2010 by-elections were successfully implemented for the 41st general election.

Statistical data and feedback from returning officers indicate that the various recruitment mechanisms introduced for the 41st general election helped mitigate the challenge of recruiting an ever-increasing number of election officers. For example, the agency implemented a comprehensive election day recruitment plan for all electoral districts.

During the November 2010 by-elections, Elections Canada conducted a pilot project to test an assistive voting device for persons with disabilities. The device was intended to enable electors with a visual impairment or limited dexterity to mark a ballot independently and in secrecy. The pilot itself went well, but an evaluation of the project showed that the device was not a practical solution, and the project was abandoned. Elections Canada is continuing discussions with organizations representing persons with disabilities to explore other ways to make voting easier for these electors. It will also continue to offer the many assistive tools and services (e.g. voting template, sign language interpretation) that are already in place to make voting easier for electors with special needs.

Lessons Learned

By applying sound planning and risk mitigation approaches, Elections Canada was able to better manage the election uncertainty brought about by a minority government. More flexible arrangements with suppliers and such initiatives as using wireless technology in local Elections Canada offices allowed the agency to maintain a high level of preparedness at all times, while reducing readiness costs to $4.7 million less than the previous general election.

Recent events related to the contested election in Etobicoke Centre require Elections Canada to strengthen its measures to improve compliance with the procedures and standards applicable on election day. Regardless of the outcome of the contested election, the agency will review the voter registration and voting processes based on the events in that electoral district, assess the effectiveness of existing checks and balances, and engage key stakeholders in implementing solutions for the 2015 election.

Training election officers clearly remains one of the most challenging functions in any local Elections Canada office during an election. Elections Canada must find ways to mitigate the fact that the complexity of election officers' responsibilities has increased since 2007. The agency has already proposed that improving the service delivery model for polling sites would allow for simplification of the tasks assigned to each officer and pave the way for more comprehensive training. This would require legislative change.

Program Activity 2: Regulation of Electoral Activities

Program Activity Description

This program activity provides Canadians with an electoral process that is fair, transparent and in compliance with the Canada Elections Act. Within this program activity, Elections Canada is responsible for administering the political financing provisions of the Act. This includes monitoring compliance, disclosing and reporting financial activities and enforcing electoral legislation.

2011–2012 Financial Resources ($ thousands)
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending*
38,399 103,477 102,958

*Refer to the Agency Spending Trend section on page 11 for an explanation of the variance between planned and actual spending.

2011–2012 Human Resources (FTEs)
Planned Actual Difference
71 71 0

Program Activity Performance Summary
Expected Result Performance Indicator* Actual Results
Candidates have confidence in the fairness of the administration and enforcement of electoral legislation. Percentage of candidates reporting confidence in the fairness of Elections Canada's regulatory activities This indicator is being reviewed.
Political entities are transparent in their use of financial resources. Percentage of financial returns that are submitted within four months of election day Of the 1,588 candidates registered for the 41st general election:
  • 61 percent submitted their returns on time (compared to 66 percent for the 2008 election)
  • 35 percent requested an extension to file after the deadline (compared to 32 percent in 2008)
  • 5 percent were late or non-filers (compared to 2 percent in 2008)
Number of substantive corrections and amendments required to returns As of March 31, 2012, Elections Canada had completed its review of 804 of the 1,558 financial returns that candidates had submitted in the 41st general election. Of the 804 completed returns, 133 required amendments to address reporting errors or omissions, and 99 required amendments to report the payment of unpaid claims or loans.

By comparison, at the same time following the 40th general election, 651 of the 1,602 candidates' financial returns had been reviewed. Of those 651 completed returns, 72 required amendments to address reporting errors or omissions, and 44 required amendments to report the payment of unpaid claims.
Political entities understand and comply with their obligations and responsibilities under Canada's electoral legislation. Percentage of candidates who understand their obligations and responsibilities regarding contribution limits, as established by the Canada Elections Act This indicator is being reviewed.
Number of cases of non-compliance that are subject to compliance measures The audit of candidates' and third party reports in relation to the 41st general election identified 172 instances of possible non-compliance with the Canada Elections Act. Of these, 135 were dealt with through information and education measures, in accordance with Elections Canada's Administrative Compliance Policy for Political Financing. The remaining 37 instances were referred to the Commissioner of Canada Elections.

*Targets for these performance indicators are under development.

Performance Summary and Analysis of Program Activity

Political Financing
Audit of Financial Returns

The compliance audit of various political entities' annual financial returns included the audit of over 1,200 electoral district associations' financial transactions returns, 17 registered parties' annual returns and 92 nomination contestants' returns. Because this was an election year, Elections Canada also organized and prepared the receipt and compliance audit of electoral campaign returns for the 1,588 candidates who ran in the 41st general election as well as the audit of 17 registered parties' electoral financial transactions returns. The preparation included training new auditors and supporting candidates' official agents as they prepared the financial transactions returns.

Including the instances of non-compliance mentioned in the table above in relation to the 41st general election, the compliance audit over the year identified 437 instances of possible non-compliance with the Canada Elections Act. Of these, 235 were dealt with using education and information measures in accordance with Elections Canada's Administrative Compliance Policy for Political Financing, while the remaining 211 were referred to the Commissioner of Canada Elections.

The filing deadline for candidates in the 41st general election was September 2, 2011, and the compliance audit of candidates' electoral campaign returns was initiated that month. By March 31, 2012, 804 returns had been audited, representing an increase of 10 percent in completed audits compared to a similar period for the 40th general election. This resulted in quicker reimbursement of candidates' electoral and personal expenses. In addition, to measure the quality of the audit of candidates' financial returns and as part of its quality assurance program, Elections Canada retained outside expertise to conduct a preliminary quality assurance review of compliance audits related to the 41st general election. It confirmed that the audits had been performed in accordance with the professional standards established in its internal Political Financing Audit Manual. A more comprehensive and thorough examination of the quality of audit processes will take place in 2012–2013.

Registration of Political Entities

The agency administered all of the rules relating to the registration of political entities. This included making the annual update of information to the registry for 1,217 registered electoral district associations and 17 registered parties, deregistering 26 electoral district associations, registering 12 district associations and deregistering one party during the year. In addition, it successfully implemented the Political Entities Registration System. This system will increase the efficiency of the registration process, improve the accuracy of registration data and provide better information management and reporting to Canadians.

Political Financing Systems

Elections Canada continued to maintain the political financing systems that support the compliance audit functions and the publication requirements to which the Chief Electoral Officer is subject. The agency published more than 2,900 financial returns and related filings: candidate and registered political party financial returns relating to the 41st general election, registered political party quarterly and annual financial returns, electoral district association annual financial returns, and leadership and nomination contestant financial returns. Publishing these returns ensures that Canadians have access to relevant information about the financial affairs of political entities.

Training Sessions for Political Entities

Following the 41st general election, the agency conducted training sessions across the country in both official languages for candidates and official agents. These sessions explained the political financing provisions of the Act and the obligations of official agents. The sessions were well received, with 97 percent of participants indicating that the sessions met their expectations and that future sessions should be provided. However, as part of its fiscal restraint plan, Elections Canada has reduced the political financing training that it offers to financial agents of registered associations.

Compliance Assistance Unit

The Compliance Assistance Unit (CAU) applies the Administrative Compliance Policy for Political Financing. This policy focuses on using education to ensure that instances of non-compliance are dealt with in a manner that reflects the seriousness of the infractions and makes more efficient use of public resources. In addition to carrying out activities related to administrative compliance, the CAU also monitors compliance with contribution rules by following up on outstanding loans and unpaid claims as well as conducting horizontal audits to identify individuals who contributed to several political entities and potentially exceeded their contribution limit in any audited year.

In 2011–2012, as part of a pilot project, the CAU conducted horizontal contribution audits for 2008 and 2009 to verify compliance with the contribution limits by electoral district associations, candidates and nomination contestants who share a contribution limit. These audits identified 326 political entities (158 electoral district associations, 162 candidates and six nomination contestants) as possible recipients of contributions exceeding the contribution limits, for a total value of $236,841. Steps have been taken to ensure the return of excess contributions.The agency will now include periodic horizontal audits in its regular audit programs.

Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections

During this period, the Commissioner of Canada Elections resolved 90 files by sending out caution letters and disposed of eight investigations using compliance agreements. Charges were laid in relation to four investigations.4 In addition, the Commissioner made two referrals to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.

The 41st general election produced an increase in the number of complaints from the public that required individual responses. The Commissioner received 1,003 complaints during the election. These complaints were dealt with by verifying the complaint, providing the requested information, contacting the parties involved to correct the situation or educating them about the requirements of the Canada Elections Act. In each case, the complainant was contacted. As of March 31, 2012, two files remained open, in addition to those related to improper or fraudulent telephone calls.

The investigation into improper or fraudulent telephone calls was initiated by complaints received on election day. The Commissioner of Canada Elections treated these complaints promptly and immediately undertook to investigate them. Following media reports of the investigation, which were based on publicly available court documents, as of March 31, 2012, close to 40,000 people had contacted Elections Canada to express their concerns, and more than 800 people had filed complaints of specific occurrences of improper or fraudulent telephone calls. The Office of the Commissioner followed up with each complainant. The investigation is under way.

Program Activity 3: Electoral Engagement

Program Activity Description

This program activity promotes and sustains the Canadian electoral process. It provides Canadians with electoral education and information programs so that they can make informed decisions about their engagement in the electoral process. The program activity also aims to improve the electoral framework by consulting and sharing electoral practices with other stakeholders.

2011–2012 Financial Resources ($ thousands)
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending*
8,583 7,947 7,893

*The variance of $690,000 between planned and actual spending is mainly a result of postponing the development of a new advertising campaign aimed at young people in the context of the deficit reduction action plan.

2011–2012 Human Resources (FTEs)
Planned Actual Difference*
55 71 16

*The difference of 16 FTEs between planned and actual usage is mainly a result of the requirement for additional temporary employees for publication, outreach and parliamentary affairs services.

Program Activity Performance Summary
Expected Result Performance Indicator* Actual Results
Canadians make informed decisions about their engagement in the electoral process. Percentage of Canadians who believe that they can make an informed decision about their engagement This indicator is being reviewed.
Canadians understand the importance of voting and the value of participating in the electoral process. Percentage of Canadians who understand the importance of voting According to surveys, the vast majority of respondents think that it is important to vote in elections (79.5 percent strongly agree, and 18.4 percent agree).
Percentage of Canadians who understand the value of participating in the electoral process This indicator is being reviewed.
Elections Canada and international electoral stakeholders improve their capacity to better administer electoral processes. Percentage of international and domestic stakeholders who intend to incorporate shared best practices This indicator is being reviewed.
Parliamentarians have access to evidence-based information, allowing them to make informed decisions about existing and emerging electoral issues. Percentage of parliamentarians satisfied with the quality of the Chief Electoral Officer's recommendations reports In its report of February 27, 2012, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs agreed with the vast majority of the recommendations outlined in the 2010 recommendations report.

*Targets for these performance indicators are under development.

Performance Summary and Analysis of Program Activity

Reaching Out to Electors

Over the past year, Elections Canada began implementing a three-year outreach action plan aimed at making the voting process easier and more convenient for all electors.

Key strategies for the first year centred on engaging specific groups of electors to validate the agency's own awareness and understanding of barriers to voting as well as continuing and refining civic education programming to make educators, children and young people aware of the importance of voting and democracy in Canada. The agency also shared and presented its research findings to stakeholders and encouraged them to take action to support civic engagement through various means, such as disseminating research reports and research action digests, making presentations and holding consultations.

Elections Canada commissioned the National Youth Survey5 to better understand why youth may or may not participate in the electoral process. Among other things, the survey showed that the most important reasons for not voting related to motivational issues, including low levels of political knowledge, negative attitudes about political parties and lack of contact with candidates.

The agency also commissioned an evaluation6 of the Student Vote program to assess its effectiveness in achieving its civic education objectives among elementary and secondary school students, teachers and parents. This study showed that the Program has a significant positive impact on many key factors associated with voter turnout. Based on these results, Elections Canada will continue to conduct a parallel election program for students in future elections.

The agency launched the first annual Canada's Democracy Week7 to celebrate Canada's democratic system and promote the importance of civic education and engagement. In partnership with the Library of Parliament, it developed a guide to voting and democracy for new electors.

Meetings were also held with 19 national and provincial organizations representing people with disabilities; the goal was to better understand the needs of this demographic group and obtain feedback from these organizations on ways to make elections more accessible for everyone. The results will be used to develop guiding principles that incorporate accessibility into the agency's outreach programming and electoral services.

In the context of the deficit reduction action plan, fiscal reductions have meant slowing down and curtailing efforts to modernize and improve outreach services. As a result, the agency has set aside the development of a new advertising campaign aimed at young people during general elections.

Improving Collaboration with Parliament

Elections Canada regularly engaged parliamentarians on both legislative and administrative electoral issues. It provided technical advice to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the Chief Electoral Officer's 2010 recommendations report to Parliament for the better administration of the Canada Elections Act. In its report of February 27, 2012, the Committee agreed with the vast majority of those recommendations. Elections Canada also provided advice to the Committee on Bill C-20 (Fair Representation Act) and the allegations of wrongdoing during the 41st general election. It appeared before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics to discuss union sponsorship of the New Democratic Party's spring 2011 convention. It informed parliamentarians, through parliamentary seminars and caucus briefings, about the electoral boundaries readjustment process and their involvement in it, and gave support to Parliament during the legislative reform of the readjustment process. Finally, it met with the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs in September 2011 at Elections Canada's offices to inform the members about the electoral boundaries readjustment process and discuss the agency's operational vision for the 42nd general election.

Throughout the year, Elections Canada maintained regular contact with the Advisory Committee of Political Parties to discuss various issues related to the regulatory regime (including the audit of contributions, its internal Administrative Compliance Policy on Political Financing and allocation of broadcasting time), the services provided to political entities and electors during the 41st general election and specific issues that arose during the general election. Feedback from the Committee informed the planning of the agency's programs and initiatives, including its operational vision for the 42nd general election.

Over the past year, Elections Canada undertook and completed research projects on various electoral issues. These include five major national public opinion studies with various stakeholders to assess their experience with and the administration of the 2011 general election. The results of these studies were published on the Elections Canada website and supported the development of the agency's consolidated evaluation report, which will be made available this fall. Elections Canada also partnered with the Canadian Election Study, the leading Canadian academic longitudinal study of federal elections. It commissioned research with members of the academic community to deepen its understanding of the impact of election spending limits on candidates and political parties as well as the factors affecting the participation of Aboriginal electors and electors with disabilities. It also launched research on alternative electronic voting methods to strengthen its understanding of both the legal and social issues at play.

Developing Partnerships with Provincial and International Electoral Counterparts

As part of a strategic alliance with Elections Ontario, Elections Canada developed and launched Voting Rules! This civic education pilot program teaches students about democracy, voting, elections, government and active citizenship through experiential lessons in an engaging graphic-novel format. An evaluation of the program, conducted in May and June 2011, made useful recommendations for strengthening the program in the future.

Internationally, the agency refocused its efforts on initiatives contributing to the work of multilateral organizations. Elections Canada supported the development of the Commonwealth Electoral Network (CEN), aimed at exchanging best practices and creating peer support mechanisms. It worked closely with the Commonwealth Secretariat to plan the second conference of the CEN, held in Toronto in June 2012, with the theme of integrating technology into the electoral process. At this conference, Canada assumed leadership of the CEN for the next two years.

Similarly, the agency worked with Élections Québec and international electoral management bodies to establish the Réseau des compétences électorales francophones, which operates under the umbrella of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. It also continued to support and contribute to the operations of the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network, the world's largest online repository of election information.

Lessons Learned

From the National Youth Survey, Elections Canada learned that the key reasons that young people do not vote are primarily motivational. To address issues related to turnout, it needs to collaborate with multiple stakeholders from civil society, the private sector and government, including educators, youth-serving organizations, student federations, business, post-secondary institutions, members of the media and other government agencies. To this end, Elections Canada will actively engage a wide array of stakeholders as a first step in the development of a collaborative, cross-sectoral approach to addressing the problem of declining youth voter turnout. This engagement will include political parties, parliamentarians and elected officials.

Program Activity 4: Internal Services

Program Activity Description

In addition to carrying out programs that directly benefit Canadians, Elections Canada requires internal services to help fulfill its mandate. These services focus on human resources modernization, performance management, legal services, internal audits, financial and human resources management, and information management and technology.

2011–2012 Financial Resources ($ thousands)
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending*
40,339 35,890 35,668

*The variance of $4.7 million between planned and actual spending is mainly a result of lower-than-planned costs to acquire equipment related to office consolidation and to keep IT up to date.

2011–2012 Human Resources (FTEs)
Planned Actual Difference*
168 183 15

*The difference of 15 FTEs between planned and actual usage is primarily a result of the requirement for additional temporary employees in IT.

Performance Summary and Analysis of Program Activity

Responding to Fiscal Restraint

As previously planned, Elections Canada implemented the recommendations of its A-base review and took other measures over the period to respond to fiscal restraint.

Programs were required to use a variety of measures to achieve efficiencies and absorb maintenance costs for recently delivered IT applications. This allowed the agency to reduce hardware and software maintenance costs – for example, by reviewing service agreements, optimizing resources by restructuring IT support and reducing support costs by establishing a new IT service model.

In addition, the agency reduced the budget available to programs for time-limited initiatives. Some examples of initiatives that will be delayed or postponed include migrating a new departmental financial system, modernizing the nomination process for candidates, developing the advertising program aimed at youth and being ready to conduct referendums.

The agency is also extending the time frame for developing and delivering various programs and corporate initiatives.

Finally, Elections Canada began reviewing all programs to ensure that resources are focused on the highest priorities linked to its mandate. In early 2012, it launched a zero-based budgeting exercise to analyze performance for effectiveness and efficiency, review baseline expenditures, rank spending activities and allocate resources to its highest priorities. The results of this exercise will be implemented in 2013–2014.

Talent Acquisition, Development and Retention

Elections Canada continued to provide employees and middle managers with opportunities for professional development. It provided more than 100 in-house professional development training sessions in both official languages and offered language training to more than 100 employees. It also offered a 10-day development program for middle managers and skills development programs to supervisors and other employees interested in gaining supervisory skills.

Elections Canada's recognition program honoured employees through instant awards, long service awards and the Chief Electoral Officer's Merit Awards.

Efforts continued to increase the representation of designated groups, particularly women, by:

The agency offered several training sessions to employees on health and safety topics. Analysis of human resources as well as health and safety trends, completed mid-year and at year-end, showed that no major issues needed to be addressed.

Returning Officer Professionalization

With the next general election scheduled for October 2015 and the results of the electoral boundaries readjustment process expected in fall 2013, Elections Canada needs to redesign and reschedule its plans for enhancing the returning officers' training and professional development plan. Recruitment and training of new returning officers was suspended in 2011–2012 until the new electoral district boundaries come into force; this could result in a significant number of new returning officers.

Meanwhile, Elections Canada will review the returning officers' competency profiles and modernize its approach to training returning officers, with a view to enhancing their accountability for electoral operations, including voting operations.

Renewing Technology

Modernizing its IT infrastructure and establishing a new Internet service provider improved the agency's ability to deliver new services to electors and parliamentarians.

Of equal importance, Elections Canada implemented the first centralized database of elector information to support the next generation of applications. Two critical business applications were deployed: E-Registration and Political Entities Registration System.

These investments now enable Elections Canada to introduce new electronic services to support its strategic objectives of trust, accessibility and engagement.

Strengthening Governance
IT Project Management

A cross-sector committee structure was put in place to oversee corporate IT projects, with a particular focus on interdependencies. As a centre of expertise, the Portfolio Management Office developed a project management methodology to meet the needs of project teams and adopt best practices.

Project Management Directive

In 2011–2012, Elections Canada continued to reinforce the governance of major internal initiatives.

As planned, the agency implemented a new corporate directive on managing projects that is aligned with recent Treasury Board policies on managing projects and investments. Further to this directive, a formal business case and review process was established, focusing in particular on projects of a transformative nature or those that require the approval of Parliament.

Risk Management

The work on the corporate risk management framework was delayed as a result of the 41st general election and the subsequent need to design and develop Elections Canada's operational vision for the 2015 general election. Based on capacity, work may resume on the risk management framework.

Specific Partnering Initiatives with Elections Ontario

The coincidence of a majority federal government and a minority provincial government in Ontario has significantly altered the planning for partnering initiatives. Polling site selection and verification in the two jurisdictions are now conducted according to different parameters. A business case analysis tabled in the fall of 2011 showed that the most effective approach, for the time being, is to share site address data and information on accessibility issues raised through elector feedback and complaint processes.

Elections Canada remains committed to collaborating with electoral agencies in other jurisdictions.

Internal Audit

The internal audit function is a key component of Elections Canada's management framework. By the end of March 2012, the agency had updated its three-year Risk-Based Audit Plan for the remaining two fiscal years, 2011–2012 and 2012–2013. This updated plan will provide Elections Canada with assurance of the soundness of its management processes. In addition, it will give senior management critical information for delivering the agency's mandate and assessing governance, risk management and control activities.

A list of audit activities completed in 2011–2012 is available at content.aspx?section=res&dir=rep/dpr/dpr2012&document=audit&lang=e.

The audit of assets management has been postponed to the 2013–2016 Risk-Based Audit Plan and will be addressed in 2013–2014, after Elections Canada moves to Gatineau.

The final recommendations of the A-base review were presented to the Audit Committee, together with the results of continuous auditing engagements related to compliance with human resources policies, quality assurance of political financing and inventory count.

The Internal Audit Directorate carried out its mandate successfully. Its reports provided value to management by addressing current issues and priorities. In addition, the annual review of its Risk-Based Audit Plan will help set priorities for the internal audit function.

Consolidating Workspace

Elections Canada continued the planning required to move its offices to a new facility in Gatineau in the summer of 2013. The relocation will consolidate seven locations into one main facility, thereby supporting the government's initiative to reduce the number of federally owned or leased facilities. By reducing the number of its locations, the agency will realize organizational and cost efficiencies in the administration of its business and facilities.

The project achieved all of its planned milestones in 2011–2012, including:

Election Evaluations (Unplanned)

Work began in 2011–2012 on a consolidated report on the evaluations of the 41st general election, using the same approach as after the 40th general election. This report will summarize results from various post-election surveys and analyses. By comparing various points of view, it will provide a balanced perspective on the conduct of the 41st general election, focusing on the experiences of voters and political entities as well as Elections Canada's own performance in administering the election. The report will be available in fall 2012.

Lessons Learned

Post-election evaluations are high-level assessment tools that try to capture and account for the various experiences of voters and other key stakeholders over time. These evaluations provide valid and critical data for improving agency programs, assessing the latest legislative changes and informing Parliament of potential issues emerging from the current electoral framework.

However, the agency's current evaluation tools do not assess what takes place at a much more granular level, such as the extent to which detailed electoral procedures are followed.

In light of the events surrounding the contested election in Etobicoke Centre, Elections Canada will explore the role that post-election evaluations can play in assessing compliance with standards on election day as well as the effectiveness of existing checks and balances.

4 Details of the charges are available at document=index&lang=e.

5 The resulting report is available at

6 Available at

7 See