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2014–15 Departmental Performance Report

Section I: Organizational Expenditure Overview

Organizational Profile

Chief Electoral Officer: Marc Mayrand

Agency: Office of the Chief Electoral Officer

Year established: 1920

Main legislative authorities:

Other:

New Legislation

An analysis of proposed amendments to electoral legislationFootnote 4 impacting Elections Canada's business can be found on the agency's website.

Judicial Decisions and Proceedings

An analysis of judicial decisions and proceedingsFootnote 5 that may affect electoral legislation can be found on Elections Canada's website.

Organizational Context

Raison d'κtre

The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, commonly known as Elections Canada, is an independent, non-partisan agency that reports directly to Parliament. Its mandate is to:

Responsibilities

In fulfilling its mandate, Elections Canada also has the responsibility to:

Strategic Outcome and Program Alignment Architecture

Elections Canada has a single strategic outcome, supported by the following Program Alignment Architecture (PAA):

1. Strategic Outcome: An Accessible Electoral Framework that Canadians Trust and Use

*Note: Enforcement provisions of the Canada Elections Act now fall under the Director of Public Prosecutions. Pending approval of changes to Elections Canada's Program Alignment Architecture by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, this change will be reflected in future reports. This DPR does not report on enforcement activities and the work of the Commissioner's Office.

Organizational Priorities

Priority 1 Type Programs
Finalize improvements for the 2015 general election Previously committed to
  • Electoral Operations
  • Regulation of Electoral Activities
  • Electoral Engagement
  • Internal Services
Summary of Progress

The agency implemented the Fair Elections Act (Bill C-23) for the 2015 general election, including: the changes to elector identification requirements; the changes to the political financing regime in particular as it relates to loans; the transfer of the Commissioner to the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions; the creation of a written opinions, guidelines and interpretation notes regime; a new requirement for an independent audit of poll worker performance; and a fourth day of advance polls.

In 2014–15, Elections Canada also wrapped up its three-year plan of administrative changes. To provide more convenient services and reduce barriers to registration and voting, Elections Canada:

  • improved communications and access to information for electors – for example, through a comprehensive, multi-channel communications campaign to ensure that Canadians know when, where and ways to register and vote, and turn to Elections Canada when in doubt
  • worked with the disability community to identify 35 accessibility standards to be used by returning officers when selecting voting locations
  • expanded opportunities for post-secondary students on campus to vote by special ballot
  • implemented an online registration system

To improve compliance, building on the experience of the 2011 general election, the agency:

  • updated its manuals for both political entities and returning officers to provide them with better training and instructions
  • established the Electoral Integrity Office and adopted measures to improve poll workers' compliance with procedures
  • developed and tested a new application for managing elector registrations in real time


Priority 2 Type Programs
Prepare for the 2015 general election Previously committed to
  • Electoral Operations
  • Regulation of Electoral Activities
  • Electoral Engagement
  • Internal Services
Summary of Progress

Elections Canada achieved essential readiness for a general election by March 31, 2015. In doing so, the agency:

  • updated procedures and manuals
  • selected goods and services providers
  • procured and replenished election materials and supplies
  • finalized electoral worker recruitment and training plans
  • completed training for returning officers
  • thoroughly tested its applications and systems

In each electoral district, returning officers performed required pre-event work, such as: recruiting key personnel, locating local and satellite offices, and identifying potential polling sites and assessing their accessibility.

Finally, Elections Canada successfully finalized the implementation of the 2013 Representation Order, which increased the number of federal electoral districts from 308 to 338.



Risk Analysis
Key Risk Risk Response Strategy Link to Program Alignment Architecture
Scope of electoral reform As previously reported in its 2013–14 Department Performance Report,Footnote 6 Elections Canada had to realign and review its priorities in order to implement changes introduced by the Fair Elections Act (Bill C-23).
  • Electoral Operations
  • Regulation of Electoral Activities
  • Electoral Engagement
  • Internal Services
Impact of electoral reform and new electoral districts on Elections Canada's capacity and operating budget The risk remains of pressures on the agency's appropriation. Elections Canada will adjust its operating budget after the 2015 general election. The current short-term approach of managing pressures is not sustainable in the longer run.
  • Electoral Operations
  • Regulation of Electoral Activities
  • Electoral Engagement
  • Internal Services
Conduct of a referendum The risk did not materialize. Elections Canada is not currently prepared to hold a referendum. In the reporting period, the agency focused on preparing for the 2015 general election.
  • Electoral Operations
  • Regulation of Electoral Activities
  • Electoral Engagement
  • Internal Services


Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2014–15
Main Estimates
2014–15
Planned Spending
2014–15
Total Authorities
Available for Use
2014–15
Actual Spending
(authorities used)
Difference
(actual minus planned)
97,110,432 97,110,432 152,204,817 150,766,375 53,655,943*

*The additional expenditures of $53.7 million between actual spending ($150.8 million) and planned spending ($97.1 million) for 2014–15 are mainly a result of readiness activities for the 2015 general election and the conduct of the June and November 2014 by-elections.

Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents)
2014–15
Planned
2014–15
Actual
Difference
(actual minus planned)
468 556 88*

*The difference of 88 FTEs for 2014–15 is mainly a result of readiness activities for the 2015 general election.

Budgetary Performance Summary for Strategic Outcome and Programs (dollars)
Strategic Outcome(s), Program(s) and Internal Services 2014–15
Main Estimates
2014–15
Planned Spending
2015–16
Planned Spending
2016–17
Planned Spending
2014–15
Total Authorities Available for Use
2014–15
Actual Spending (authorities used)
2013–14
Actual Spending (authorities used)
2012–13
Actual Spending (authorities used)
Strategic Outcome: An Accessible Electoral Framework that Canadians Trust and Use
Electoral Operations 34,938,217 34,938,217 277,113,580 39,633,822 90,847,659 90,292,796 45,326,885 37,009,414
Regulation of Electoral Activities 19,959,354 19,959,354 79,015,382 10,949,059 18,387,001 18,101,587 27,960,704 37,509,163
Electoral Engagement 8,441,546 8,441,546 8,060,043 8,118,902 8,405,364 8,261,985 7,974,120 7,860,678
Subtotal 63,339,117 63,339,117 364,189,005 58,701,783 117,640,024 116,656,368 81,261,709 82,379,255
Internal Services 33,771,315 33,771,315 31,770,812 31,809,836 34,564,793 34,110,007 38,966,040 37,200,938
Total 97,110,432 97,110,432* 395,959,817 90,511,619 152,204,817 150,766,375* 120,227,749 119,580,193

*The difference between actual spending ($150.8 million) and planned spending ($97.1 million) for 2014–15 is mainly a result of readiness activities for the 2015 general election and the conduct of the June and November 2014 by-elections.

Financial Framework

Elections Canada's unique dual funding mechanism and planning practices are a function of its mandate. The agency is funded in part by an annual appropriation that covers the salaries of its permanent staff and is not affected by the electoral cycle. Given the unpredictability of electoral events, the agency also has a statutory authority that allows it to draw directly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Under Canada's parliamentary system, general elections are scheduled to take place on fixed dates but can still be called in advance. This is particularly the case in a minority government situation. By-elections, which take place whenever seats in the House of Commons become vacant, are also unpredictable. For these reasons, Elections Canada does not normally forecast election readiness and delivery activities. However, as 2015–16 is the last year of a majority government, the agency has included the estimated statutory funding requirements for the next general election in its planned spending for that fiscal year. The chart in the following section also shows planned spending for 2016–17 and 2017–18.

Planned spending related to the 2015 general election is an estimate based on detailed forecasts and assumptions. A number of factors can impact the planned spending. These include but are not limited to the following: the actual duration of the campaign (the Canada Elections Act sets a minimum of 36 days); the level of spending by political entities, which impacts reimbursements; adjustments to election worker fees and allowances; market forces for expenses such as the media buy, local office rents, furniture and equipment; outstanding procurement processes; and the actual level of staffing in the field to meet requirements.

Agency Spending Trend

The chart below shows the spending trend from 2012–13 to 2017–18, the last three years being planned spending. The significantly increased spending from 2014–15 to 2015–16 is due to the preparation for and the conducting of the 2015 general election. The reduction in spending from 2016–17 compared to 2012–13 and 2013–14 is largely explained by quarterly allowances to political parties having been phased out.

Agency Spending Trend
Text version

Expenditures by Vote

For information on Elections Canada's organizational voted and statutory expenditures, consult the Public Accounts of Canada 2015Footnote 7, which is available on the Public Works and Government Services Canada websiteFootnote 8