2013–14 Departmental Performance Report
Chief Electoral Officer's Message
I am pleased to present Elections Canada's 2013–14 Departmental Performance Report, which highlights the agency's progress on its multi-year plans and priorities during the 2013–14 fiscal year.
In spring 2013, I presented two reports regarding incidents that occurred during the May 2011 general election.
First, I presented a recommendations report to the Speaker of the House of Commons in
response to incidents involving deceptive communications with electors. The report examined preventive, compliance and enforcement measures that could be taken to deal with deceptive communications and recommended legislative changes.
Second, in response to irregularities at the polls in the electoral district of Etobicoke Centre (Ontario), I commissioned a report and recommendations by an independent electoral consultant on ways to improve compliance with registration and voting procedures on polling days.
Building on these reports, Elections Canada placed the highest priority in 2013–14 on initiatives aimed at improving compliance and ensuring integrity for the 2015 general election.
We established the Electoral Integrity Project Coordination Office to develop and implement a quality assurance and compliance strategy for the 2015 general election.
To improve compliance with procedures at the polls, we focused on enhancing recruitment practices, modernizing training, simplifying procedures and leveraging the new online registration services to reduce polling day registrations. We also pursued measures to improve the accuracy and currency of voters lists by modernizing the voter registration system and by better communicating with electors.
While these initiatives aim to improve compliance at the polls, administrative measures alone will not eliminate all procedural and record-keeping errors. Further legislative amendments are still needed to address a number of key issues, such as the complexity of the voting process, the limited time available for election worker recruitment and training, and the inability to use technology at polling stations.
On February 4, 2014, Bill C-23 was tabled in the House of Commons. This piece of legislation, which is the most comprehensive review of the Canada Elections Act in decades, received royal assent on June 19, 2014, about 16 months before the set date for the next general election in October 2015.
Considering the direction and implementation requirements of the new provisions, Elections Canada had to realign some of its priorities starting in the winter of 2014. As a result, the agency:
- delayed the development of a pilot project for the 2015 general election to test a more streamlined way to manage and carry out voting operations at the polls
- cancelled its plans to allow electors to use their voter information card (VIC) to prove their address
- suspended its recommendations report regarding a broader review of compliance and enforcement measures under the Canada Elections Act
In 2013–14, Elections Canada continued to enable the electoral boundaries readjustment process through to its conclusion. The representation order describing and naming Canada's new electoral districts was proclaimed in October 2013. Elections Canada completed the process under budget and was ready to implement the new 338 electoral district boundaries within seven months of the proclamation, as prescribed by the legislation.
The agency also continued with its three-year plan for administrative improvements to provide more convenient services to electors, reduce barriers to registration and identification, and improve accessibility for voters with disabilities. Specific initiatives for the next general election include modernized voter registration and expanded locations for voting by special ballot. We also established an advisory group to provide advice on accessibility initiatives, such as providing lists of candidates in Braille.
During the reporting period, Elections Canada successfully delivered by-elections on May 13, 2013, in Labrador and on November 25, 2013, in Bourassa, Brandon–Souris, Provencher and Toronto Centre.
Lastly, on October 1, 2013, the Commissioner of Canada Elections published his first annual report to help Canadians better understand his mandate. It provides information on what his office does, the type of complaints it receives, and the tools it has to carry out its work. The report, which also identified some significant challenges encountered during investigations and ways they could be addressed, furthers transparency and accountability to the public.
Chief Electoral Officer of Canada