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Performance Report – For the period ending March 31, 2013

Section II: Analysis of Programs 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.Footnote 4

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, Internal Services, exists to support Elections Canada in achieving the expected results of these three programs.

With respect to measuring performance results, most of Elections Canada's programs deliver results to Canadians during a general election, and the measurement of these results is published in a report following that election. A number of performance indicators are measured through surveys with electors, candidates and election officers. These surveys can be found online.Footnote 5 In a reporting year during which a general election has not been held, we use by-elections to report on results. However, performance measured during by-elections cannot be compared to performance measured during general elections. In addition, not all performance indicators are measured in by-elections.

Program 1: Electoral Operations

Description

This program 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.

Financial Resources ($ thousands)
Total Budgetary Expenditures
(Main Estimates)
2012–13
Planned Spending
2012–13
Total Authorities (Available for Use)
2012–13
Actual Spending
(Authorities Used)
2012–13
Difference
2012–13
41,528 41,528 38,090 37,009 4,519


Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents – FTEs)
Planned
2012–13
Actual
2012–13
Difference
2012–13
215 204 11


Program Performance Results
Expected Results Performance Indicators* Actual Results**
The electoral process is administered fairly and efficiently. Cost of elections per elector. The total estimated cost of all four by-elections is some $3.6 million, which represents approximately $10.02 per registered elector. This figure is in line with the average cost of the previous 20 by-elections, which is $10.79 per registered elector.
Percentage of Canadians who believe that Elections Canada administers elections in a fair manner. In the public opinion surveys taken after the 2012 by-elections, over three quarters of eligible voters responded that Elections Canada had run the by-elections somewhat or very fairly: 89% in Toronto–Danforth, 83% in Durham, 82% in Victoria and 77% in Calgary Centre. It should be noted that between 10% and 19% of respondents to that question did not know or have an opinion: 10% in Toronto–Danforth, 14% in Durham, 16% in Victoria and 19% in Calgary Centre.
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. In each of the four by-elections held in 2012, 100% of the offices were functioning within seven days of the start of the election period, meeting all operational targets.
Canadians have opportunities to exercise their democratic right to vote.

Percentage of non-voters who report not voting for administrative reasons. The proportion of non-voters who identified issues related to the electoral process/procedures as reason for not voting was 5% in Toronto-Danforth, 10% in Victoria, 9% in Durham, and 14% in Calgary Centre. Although these numbers are in the same range as for a general election, there is no basis for reliable comparison.
Percentage of polls that open on time. All polls opened on time in Toronto–Danforth, Calgary Centre and Durham; in Victoria, 1 poll out of 237 opened late. Thus, for all by-elections, over 99% of the polls opened on time.
Percentage of electors who are satisfied with their experience of casting a ballot. According to the public opinion surveys following the by-elections held in 2012, almost all voters:

  • Found it very easy or somewhat easy to vote: 99% in Durham, 98% in Toronto–Danforth, 97% in Calgary Centre and 96% in Victoria
  • Found the polling station to be at a convenient distance from their home: 99% in Victoria, 98% in Toronto–Danforth, 97% in Durham and 96% in Calgary Centre
  • Were satisfied with wait times: 99% in Toronto–Danforth, 98% in Calgary Centre and Durham, and 96% in Victoria
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. About half of all electors reported being aware that they could vote by mail at any time during the election: 54% in Victoria, 50% in Durham, 49% in Calgary Centre and 44% in Toronto–Danforth.
Percentage of Canadians who know how and where to vote. A large majority of voters reported being aware of the by-election taking place in their ridings:
96% in Toronto–Danforth, 95% in Victoria,
94% in Durham and 83% in Calgary Centre.

A majority of electors recalled receiving their voter information card (VIC): 92% in both Toronto–Danforth and Durham, 87% in Victoria and 69% in Calgary Centre.

A majority of them cited the VIC as the primary source of information on when and where to vote:
92% in Toronto–Danforth, 68% in Durham,
66% in Victoria and 55% in Calgary Centre.
Canadians are provided with timely electoral results that accurately reflect the choices they have made. Percentage of polls reporting preliminary results after they close. In all four by-elections, 100% of polls reported preliminary results after they closed, meeting all operational targets.
Variance between preliminary results and validated results. Not reported at this time.
Variance between reported results and results after judicial recounts. No recounts were requested.
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. The evaluation is underway; results will be reported in the next Departmental Performance Report.

*Targets for these performance indicators are under development.

**Indicators applied to by-elections for the first time will set the baseline for future reporting.

Performance Analysis and Lessons Learned

Enabling the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Process

Elections Canada continued to support the electoral boundaries commissions by providing a variety of professional, financial and administrative services. This work enabled the commissions to develop and publish their proposals, inform the public about them, hold public hearings in multiple locations and publish their reports. The commissions met the deadlines and all other requirements under the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act.

Elections Canada received and submitted to the Speaker of the House of Commons all 10 preliminary commission reports by February 21, 2013. As of March 31, 2013, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs had completed its review of reports for Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Alberta, and it had initiated its review of reports for Saskatchewan and British Columbia. Elections Canada referred objections and minutes of the standing committee to the commissions, as required. As of March 31, 2013, final reports of the commissions had been submitted for Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Manitoba.

In preparation for the 2015 general election, the agency developed a plan to implement the new electoral boundaries. Elections Canada has seven months to implement the statutory requirements following the Representation Order, which is on schedule for proclamation in the fall of 2013. The work involves registering electoral district associations, appointing returning officers, geocoding approximately 15 million addresses against the new districts and new polling divisions and reconfiguring the National Register of Electors.

In terms of lessons learned, Elections Canada will evaluate the success of the electoral boundaries readjustment process and document our findings in an internal report in the fall of 2013.

Aligning Polling Divisions on Census Blocks

In preparation for implementing new electoral districts, Elections Canada is exploring ways to align polling division boundaries with census geography to create efficiencies and gain easier access to census demographic data by polling division.

In 2012–2013, Elections Canada completed a business case for this initiative and compiled its business requirements. We also engaged returning officers and the Advisory Committee of Political Parties (ACPP) on key developments and initiated changes to geographic systems to accommodate the new approach.

Improving Services to Electors

Elections Canada launched the first phase of an online voter registration service (E-Registration) in spring 2012 as planned. The service enables Canadians to manage their voter registration information themselves online, initially between elections. In the first year, some 13,000 transactions were processed, including confirmations, updates and additions.

For the 2015 general election, Elections Canada intends to modernize the field voter registration application to provide access to a secure, centralized national voters list; make E-Registration available during the election; and offer complete voter registration services at other targeted locations. In 2012–2013, Elections Canada completed project planning and resourcing, established a project team and delivered the first module of the new Web application for testing.

Elections Canada continued to explore the feasibility of extending special ballot voting to new locations during the next general election to better serve students, Aboriginal electors and other groups. In 2012–2013, Elections Canada completed the project business case.

While an Internet voting (I-voting) pilot project was planned for the next general election, Elections Canada has scaled it back due to reductions in its operating budget, the need to shift priorities to improve compliance with election day procedures, and the current lack of a national user-authentication solution. I-voting will not proceed to the pilot phase until after the next general election. In the interim, Elections Canada continues to monitor I-voting research and trials in other jurisdictions.

Progress continued on a pilot project to re-engineer voting operations at advance and ordinary polls. This project will leverage technology to offer more consistent, efficient and streamlined services to voters, while also improving working conditions and simplifying training for election officers. In 2012–2013, Elections Canada completed the project planning and resourcing, including the development of professional expertise and the assembly of a project team. Improved compliance with election day procedures was built into the design of the new model. We also developed a stakeholder engagement plan.

Elections Canada continued to examine options for expanding the use of the voter information card (VIC), in combination with another piece of authorized identification, to facilitate proof of identity and address for all voters. In 2012–2013, Elections Canada began to review the voter identification policy, which includes the expanded use of the VIC for all electors.

Work continued on reviewing the public enquiries services that Elections Canada provides during an election and to develop a more efficient e-mail response capability. In 2012–2013, Elections Canada completed a business case and established a project team. We also identified preliminary business requirements.

Review of Compliance with Election Day Procedures

A compliance review was initiated in response to procedural and record-keeping errors observed at the polls in Etobicoke Centre during the May 2011 general election. In 2012–2013, Elections Canada commissioned an independent electoral management consultant to lead a compliance review to:

Key stakeholders, including political parties, returning officers, front-line election officers and provincial and territorial election management bodies, were actively engaged in the review process. Additional compliance measures implemented during the by-elections in November 2012 provided valuable input for the compliance review.

The independent consultant's review was completed, and this report,Footnote 6 which included a management response to the recommendations, was presented to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs in April 2013. The review concluded, and Elections Canada agrees, that a fundamental redesign of the voting process is required in the longer term but cannot be accomplished in time for the 2015 general election.

In the interim, Elections Canada is undertaking administrative measures to guide its efforts to improve compliance with election day procedures. Improved compliance is being built into the design of planned initiatives for the 2015 general election, such as online voter registration and election worker recruitment and training programs. New initiatives planned for the 2015 general election include reviewing and simplifying forms and procedures, and conducting a post-election compliance audit. The agency will continue to engage the ACPP as the initiatives evolve.

Yet such administrative improvements will have little impact unless they are accompanied by a few specific legislative amendments. For the most part, these amendments were identified in the 2010 recommendations report to Parliament and highlighted again in the agency's management response in the compliance review.

In terms of lessons learned, findings from the audit of the November 2012 by-elections show that having compliance advisors monitor activities at polling sites led, at best, to only modest reductions in error rates. Compliance at the polls is affected by a number of factors, such as complexity of the process, supervision, recruitment and training. The compliance report noted that while Elections Canada can take administrative measures to improve compliance with election day procedures, a new voting services model is required to comprehensively address the existing causes of procedural and record-keeping errors. The changes required are fundamental and structural, and they cannot be achieved without changes to electoral legislation.

Delivering By-elections

Elections Canada successfully delivered by-elections on March 19, 2012, in Toronto–Danforth and on November 26, 2012, in Calgary Centre, Durham and Victoria. A consolidated report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada on the conduct of these by-elections was submitted to Parliament and posted on the Elections Canada website.Footnote 7

The compliance review discussed in the previous section summarizes the results of the measures that were taken during the November 26, 2012, by-elections to improve compliance with election day procedures and understand how improved monitoring could affect overall levels of compliance.

Program 2: Regulation of Electoral Activities

Description

This program provides Canadians with an electoral process that is fair, transparent and compliant with the Canada Elections Act. Within this program, 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.

Financial Resources ($ thousands)
Total Budgetary Expenditures
(Main Estimates)
2012–13
Planned Spending
2012–13
Total Authorities
(Available for Use)
2012–13
Actual Spending
(Authorities Used)
2012–13
Difference 2012–2013
46,610 38,675 38,681 37,509 1,166


Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents – FTEs)
Planned
2012–13
Actual
2012–13
Difference
2012–13
67 74 (7)


Performance Results
Expected Results Performance Indicators* Actual Results
Canadians have confidence in the fairness of the administration and enforcement of electoral legislation. Percentage of Canadians reporting confidence in the fairness of Elections Canada's regulatory activities. This indicator is being reviewed.
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. Will be measured in next general election.
Political entities are transparent in their use of financial resources. Percentage of financial returns that are submitted within four months of election day. The percentage of financial returns that were submitted within four months of election day in the 2011 general election is 61%. This is down from 72% in the 2008 general election. In his 2010 recommendations report, the Chief Electoral Officer made a number of recommendations, including extending deadlines, to reduce the regulatory burden on candidates and thus improve compliance.
Number of substantive corrections and amendments required in returns. In the 2011 general election, a total of 474 returns required corrections, and an additional 229 amendments were required in order to record the payment of a claim or loan. This is an improvement over the 2008 election, where 622 returns required corrections and 248 amendments were required in order to record the payment of a claim or loan.
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. Will be measured in next general election.
Number of cases of non-compliance that are subject to compliance measures. The audit of candidates' financial reports and third party election advertising reports for the 2011 general election identified 685 instances of possible non-compliance with the Act. Of these, 471 were dealt with through information and education measures, in accordance with Elections Canada's Administrative Compliance Policy for Political Financing. The remaining 214 instances were referred to the Commissioner of Canada Elections.

*Targets for these performance indicators are under development.

Performance Analysis and Lessons Learned

Political Financing
Audit of Financial Returns

The audit of the candidates' returns for the 41st general election was largely completed in 2012–2013. A few complex files required further attention, amendments or the provision of missing information or documentation.

As of March 31, 2013, 1,553 of 1,578 returns were completed, resulting in reimbursements of $25,261,730.59. This rate of progress represents a 9 percent improvement in turnaround time over the 40th general election and was the result of hiring experienced temporary staff. This means that candidates were reimbursed for their expenses more quickly.

As of March 31, 2013, Elections Canada had completed most of its review of the financial returns submitted by registered associations for the 2011 fiscal year. The review was completed by the target date of June 30, 2013.

In addition, Elections Canada completed the review of 24 registered party annual returns, 70 nomination contestant returns, 17 leadership contestant returns and 54 third-party financial returns.

Elections Canada began a horizontal audit for the 2011 calendar year of contributions made to nomination contestants, candidates and registered associations of the same party. The horizontal audit aims to identify individuals who made contributions in excess of the annual contribution limit to any combination of these three entities. The audit was started in March 2013 and will be completed before the end of the calendar year.

An independent firm was hired to conduct a comprehensive examination of the process for auditing the financial returns of the candidates who ran in the 41st general election. This analysis concluded that the Political Financing Sector is performing its work in accordance with the steps identified in the audit manual and the newly designed audit programs.

Improving Services to Political Entities

Recognizing the complexity and demands of complying with electoral legislation, Elections Canada explored ways to reduce the administrative burden placed on political entities. In 2012–2013, Elections Canada conducted a feasibility study of systems capacity for future electronic filing capability.

Elections Canada also made improvements to allow forms to be completed online and implemented accessibility standards for all forms available on its website.

In addition, Elections Canada conducted a successful pilot project that used a USB key to distribute filing software, forms and other training materials to political entities. USB keys will provide easier electronic access to information and eliminate the current bulky printed multimedia kit. Elections Canada expects to save up to $40,000 per election on related costs.

Training Sessions for Political Entities

As part of its fiscal restraint plan, Elections Canada cancelled annual financial agent training in 2011–2012. In response to requests from political entities to reinstate the training, Elections Canada offered to provide annual training on the political financing provisions of the Canada Elections Act to the electoral district associations. A total of 23 sessions were held in 11 cities across Canada in 2013, with 239 participants; this represents 20 percent of the 1,180 associations. Since the training sessions were held, there has been a significant increase in early submission of financial returns, and consequently, fewer extension requests.

This financial agent training, which was well received, allows for in-person interaction that is not possible through other training methods. Looking at ways to further extend the reach of its training program, the agency has also introduced online tutorials and consolidated information into a single reference guide for each political entity.

Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections

A new Commissioner of Canada Elections, Yves Côté, was appointed in July 2012 with the mandate to provide continued leadership in ensuring compliance with and enforcement of the Canada Elections Act.

The level of activity in the Office of the Commissioner remained high in 2012–2013, and additional resources were allocated to the Commissioner as a result. This was partly a result of successive elections in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2011, which resulted in a high volume of complaints and referrals in a short time frame. As of March 31, 2013, the Commissioner had approximately 350 open files; these exclude complaints relating to deceptive communications during the 41st general election.

The Commissioner also dealt with a number of complex and high-profile investigations, including the investigation of deceptive communications, which was a high priority. In March 2013, the Director of Public Prosecutions authorized the laying of charges in relation to deceptive communications in Guelph. However, the investigation of alleged deceptive calls across Canada continues.

This investigation and others were the subject of sustained media attention based on publicly available court records. This media attention challenged the ability of the Commissioner's Office to maintain its long-standing policy of not commenting on ongoing investigations in order to preserve the presumption of innocence, fairness to the persons involved and the integrity of the investigations.

With the goal of providing greater transparency, work progressed in 2012–2013 on ways to improve reporting on the Commissioner's activities and on compliance issues while maintaining the confidentiality of ongoing investigations. A new file-tracking system was fully implemented, which assisted in publishing a new annual Commissioner's report. This reportFootnote 8 provides a more comprehensive overview of the resources and activities of the Commissioner for 2012–2013 as well as some of the key challenges facing the Commissioner's Office.

In response to allegations of improper or fraudulent telephone calls made during the May 2011 general election, Elections Canada examined the risks posed by deceptive communications with voters. A reportFootnote 9 submitted to the Speaker of the House of Commons on March 26, 2013, suggests administrative measures that can be taken as well as recommendations for legislative changes to protect electors' personal information and improve regulation of telephone calls. The report discusses the challenges encountered during the investigation and recommends increased powers for the Commissioner of Canada Elections. Implementing the report's recommendations would ensure greater transparency of campaign activity, a more rapid intervention in the case of complaints, and more effective investigations.

In terms of lessons learned, there is a need to review and recalibrate the legislative measures in the Canada Elections Act related to compliance and enforcement. On the one hand, many offences currently listed in the Act relate to regulatory non-compliance that would be better addressed through simple administrative sanctions rather than the criminal process. On the other hand, timely and effective investigations of alleged electoral fraud or other serious contraventions are critical to preserving the trust of Canadians in the electoral process. The Commissioner needs proper legislative powers to facilitate such investigations.

Program 3: Electoral Engagement

Description

This program 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 also aims to improve the electoral framework by consulting and sharing electoral practices with other stakeholders.

Financial Resources ($ thousands)
Total Budgetary Expenditures
(Main Estimates)
2012–13
Planned Spending
2012–13
Total Authorities
(Available for Use)
2012–13
Actual Spending
(Authorities Used)
2012–13
Difference
2012–2013
10,310 10,310 8,106 7,861 2,449


Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents – FTEs)
Planned
2012–13
Actual
2012–13
Difference
2012–13
68 66 2


Performance Results
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. Almost half of electors who reported voting said they had done so because it is a duty or right: 45% in Toronto–Danforth,
46% in Calgary Centre,
48% in Durham and Victoria
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 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. This indicator is being reviewed.

*Targets for these performance indicators are under development.

**Indicators applied to by-elections for the first time will set the baseline for future reporting.

Performance Analysis and Lessons Learned

Research

In 2012–2013, Elections Canada conducted, used and shared research to support electoral engagement. Research into youth electoral participation included additional analysis of the National Youth Survey, a literature review of political party best practices in engaging youth in Canada and select international case studies, and an interim analysis of a youth registration drive conducted by Elections British Columbia and Apathy is Boring. We also carried out research to better understand the barriers faced by electors with disabilitiesFootnote 10 and by seniors,Footnote 11 as well as trends in voter turnout on First Nations reserves.Footnote 12

Elections Canada also conducted research into issues that emerged during the 41st general election. This included carrying out a study on the responsibilities of election officers and another on best practices related to the compliance review of election day procedures. The agency also conducted a survey of electorsFootnote 13 and a roundtable of expertsFootnote 14 in support of the investigation into deceptive communications with electors. For more details, the reports are available on the Elections Canada website.

Among the many lessons we learned from research on youth electoral engagement, one is that mobilization efforts, including those by political parties, can have a significant impact and are most effective when conducted face-to-face by peers and close to election day. Research, including public opinion research, is essential to supporting informed policy development and programming; it also strengthened collaboration with our key stakeholders.

Transferring Knowledge

During the reporting period, Elections Canada shared knowledge with key stakeholders in a variety of forums. The purpose was to raise their awareness of the issue of declining voter turnout and the value of ongoing civic education.

In 2012–2013, Elections Canada made a presentation before the Canadian branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association on Aboriginal voter participation. We also held a National Roundtable on Youth Voter Engagement in partnership with Canada's Public Policy Forum.

The agency shared research and knowledge with key stakeholders at academic conferences, the annual conference of Canadian Election Officials and an Aboriginal youth forum. We held discussions with the Government of Canada Stakeholder Relations and Public Engagement Community of Practice, and the Chief Electoral Officer made a presentation to the Economic Club of Canada. These initiatives were well received by these stakeholders and resulted in increasing public recognition of the facilitator role that Elections Canada plays in enhancing youth civic engagement and electoral participation in Canada.

Elections Canada successfully hosted the second annual Canada's Democracy Week from September 15 to 22, 2012. A variety of events and activities aimed to encourage young people to discuss democracy and the importance of voting. Other initiatives provided civic education tools to educators. The activities involved 65 partners and 18 public events across the country, used social media for the first time, increased our media reach, and helped Elections Canada connect with over 200,000 youth and educators.

The agency also continued to provide civic education resources to educators by attending 15 teachers' conferences and resource fairs across the country.

In addition, Elections Canada distributed the "New Electors Guide," developed in partnership with the Library of Parliament, to increase awareness, understanding and interest among Canadian youth in Canada's Parliament and electoral system, and to encourage Canadian youth to register to vote. Copies were distributed through the agency's and the library's ongoing outreach activities and as part of Elections Canada's annual mailing to 96,500 unconfirmed electors aged 18 to 24 whose names appear on the National Register of Electors.

In terms of lessons learned, voter participation research and feedback from stakeholders reaffirm the need for a concerted national strategy to address youth engagement.

Engaging Stakeholders

Elections Canada increased the engagement of parliamentarians and political parties throughout the reporting period. In the fall of 2012, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs was invited to Elections Canada's office and was briefed on the development of service enhancements for electors and political entities for the 2015 general election, including the re-engineering of voting operations.

Elections Canada maintained regular contact with political parties to provide information and seek feedback on improvements to the regulatory regime (communications with electors during elections, audit of campaign contributions, allocation of broadcasting time), services to political entities (new handbooks providing streamlined information on political finance), services to electors (improvements for the 2015 general election) and compliance with procedures at the polls.

In 2012–2013, Elections Canada also developed an approach to consulting youth and student organizations, post-secondary institutions, and disability and Aboriginal organizations on initiatives to reduce barriers to registration and voting as well as proposed changes to the voting process. Proposed initiatives include expanding the use of special ballot voting on university and college campuses and in youth centres, conducting pre-election registration drives on campuses and First Nations reserves and expanding the use of the VIC, in combination with another piece of authorized identification, to facilitate proof of identity and address for all voters. Engaging stakeholders in these initiatives will begin in 2013–2014.

The engagement of political entities, as well as other stakeholders, particularly for the reports on compliance and communications with electors, has been instrumental in ensuring that Elections Canada can respond to the needs and concerns of Canadians. Working with political entities and external stakeholders through ongoing consultations on initiatives to improve services to electors and the electoral framework are essential to their success.

Partnering with International Electoral Counterparts

In 2012–2013, Elections Canada hosted 89 participants from 43 countries during the Commonwealth Electoral Network biennial conference, held in June 2012 in Toronto. The Chief Electoral Officer began a two-year term as head of a steering committee of the Network of National Election Management Bodies.

An additional 13 international delegations visited Elections Canada, and agency staff attended 12 events and election visitor programs abroad.

An expert on exchange at Elections Canada from the New Zealand Electoral Commission made a valuable contribution to the compliance review conducted by the agency in 2012–2013.

Program 4: Internal Services

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.

Financial Resources ($ thousands)
Total Budgetary Expenditures
(Main Estimates)
2012–13
Planned Spending
2012–13
Total Authorities
(Available for Use)
2012–13
Actual Spending
(Authorities Used)
2012–13
Difference
2012–13
45,710 45,710 37,785 37,201 8,509


Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents – FTEs)
Planned
2012–13
Actual
2012–13
Difference
2012–13
147 142 5


Performance Analysis and Lessons Learned

Much of the work carried out within the Internal Services program in 2012–2013 involved supporting the 10 electoral boundaries commissions. It also entailed supporting the agency in its response to fiscal restraint. Activities included conducting a zero-based budgeting exercise and implementing workforce adjustment measures, strengthening management practices in support of the agency's programs and taking steps to prepare for the 2015 general election and prepare Elections Canada for its 2013 relocation to Gatineau.

Financial Management

In 2012–2013, Elections Canada's Chief Financial Officer Sector assisted in making decisions regarding fiscal restraint measures. It supported the agency as it undertook a zero-based budgeting exercise to meet budgetary targets and effectively prioritize its service delivery, reduce duplication of activities and invest in emerging priorities.

The Sector also provided corporate advice and guidance to the electoral boundaries commissions. In addition, it reviewed the agency's procurement and contracting framework with a view to streamlining the risk-based decision-making process while still adhering to government regulations and policies.

Human Resources Management

In 2012–2013, the Human Resources Sector focused on efforts to implement workforce adjustment measures in a fair and transparent manner, in collaboration with local and national unions, while maximizing employment opportunities for affected employees.

Over the period, the Sector also updated the Integrated Human Resources Framework, drafted a new policy and guidelines on training and development, revitalized the exit interview program to better identify issues related to talent retention and launched the Executive Development Program.

Elections Canada continued to work with Public Works and Government Services Canada to transition to the new Human Resources Information System. Implementation will likely take place in 2014.

Renewing Technology

Elections Canada's Chief Information Officer Sector designed and provided the required technology and support to the 10 electoral boundaries commissions. Geographic databases and applications were designed and deployed to support the commissions and the initiative to align polling divisions with census blocks.

In support of improvements for the 2015 general election, the technology to align E-Registration with the National Register of Electors was completed, and system requirements and milestones were developed to re-engineer voting operations and the field voter registration system.

Work progressed on modernizing and "evergreening" Elections Canada's technology infrastructure. The Sector also continued to ensure that telecommunications services were efficient and corporate systems maintained, and it explored ways to minimize duplication of data.

Work also progressed on designing and providing the infrastructure to deliver modern telecommunications and field services as well as establishing new contract-based services.

Strengthening Management Practices

In 2012–2013, Elections Canada continued to develop and implement a number of measures to modernize and strengthen its information management capacity. We continued to identify information of business value. The scope of a digitization pilot project and implementation plan were developed. We also began to explore options for moving to an electronic document- and records-management system.

 

In 2012–2013, the agency established a Corporate Strategy Office to bring coherence and alignment to its three-year plan and projects leading up to the 2015 general election as well as to report on its progress to external audiences.

Evaluations

Elections Canada published its evaluation report on the 41st general election in November 2012. Evaluations such as these make it possible to improve the quality of services offered to Canadians. They also allow the agency to develop recommendations on various administrative aspects of the electoral process.

Internal Audit

The internal audit function is a key component of Elections Canada's management framework. A draft 2013–2016 Risk-Based Audit Plan was prepared in consultation with senior management and tabled at the March 2013 Audit Committee meeting.

Two audits were completed in 2012–2013. (Refer to Section 3 for more details.)

Website Accessibility

In response to a Federal Court ruling to make federal government websites fully accessible to persons with disabilities, Elections Canada continued to implement its three-year plan to make its Web applications and static documents fully compliant. Elections Canada worked with organizations representing persons with disabilities to ensure that our public website was fully accessible to electors with disabilities, and this work was 98 percent complete by March 31, 2013. The website was fully compliant and accessible by July 2013.

Consolidating Workspace

Elections Canada, in partnership with Public Works and Government Services Canada, continued the planning required to move its offices to a new facility in Gatineau. In 2012–2013, Elections Canada developed and launched a change management strategy. The agency also initiated discussions with other tenants for delivery of collaborative services such as library services. Some project delays encountered during 2012–2013 resulted in lower-than-expected project expenditures, but the overall project remains on budget, and the consolidation remains scheduled for the fall of 2013.