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2014–15 Departmental Performance Report

Section II: Analysis of Programs by Strategic Outcome

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

Most of Elections Canada's programs deliver results to Canadians during a general election, and the measurement of these results can be found in reports published after each general election. A number of performance indicators are measured through surveys with electors, candidates and election officers. These reports are available online.Footnote 9

In a reporting year during which no general election takes place, Elections Canada uses by-elections to report on results. However, there are important considerations to take into account:

Program 1.1: 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 during a federal general election, by-election or referendum by providing an accessible and constantly improved electoral process responsive to the needs of electors.

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
201415
Main Estimates
201415
Planned Spending
201415
Total Authorities
Available for Use
201415
Actual Spending (authorities used)
Difference
(actual minus planned)
34,938,217 34,938,217 90,847,659 90,292,796 55,354,579*

*The additional statutory expenditures of $55.4 million between actual spending ($90.3 million) and planned spending ($34.9 million) for 201415 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)
201415
Planned
201415
Actual
Difference
(actual minus planned)
198 309 111*

*The difference of 111 FTEs for 201415 is mainly a result of readiness activities for the 2015 general election and the conduct of the June and November 2014 by-elections.

Performance Results
Expected Results Performance Indicators Actual Results
The electoral process is accessible and responsive to the needs of electors Percentage of non-voters reporting administrative reasons as their main reason for not voting In the public opinion surveys following the 2014 by‑elections, the proportion of non-voters who reported problems with registration, access to the polls and the voter identification requirements as their main reason for not voting was 4% in Fort McMurray–Athabasca, 6% in Macleod, 5% in Scarborough–Agincourt, 6% in Trinity–Spadina, 6% in Whitby–Oshawa and 4% in Yellowhead. The proportion of those who indicated the lack of information about voting process (e.g. when/where) as their main reason for not voting was 8% in Fort McMurray–Athabasca, 8% in Macleod, 11% in Scarborough–Agincourt, 13% in Trinity–Spadina, 2% in Whitby–Oshawa and 3% in Yellowhead.
Percentage of voters who are satisfied with their voting experience According to public opinion surveys following the 2014 by‑elections, almost all voters:
  • in the June 30 and November 17 by‑elections found it very easy or somewhat easy to vote: 98% in Fort McMurray–Athabasca, 97% in Macleod, 95% in Scarborough–Agincourt, 97% in Trinity–Spadina, 96% in Whitby–Oshawa and 95% in Yellowhead;
  • in the June 30 by‑elections found the polling station or Elections Canada office to be at a convenient distance from their home: 97% in Fort McMurray–Athabasca, 97% in Macleod, 97% in Scarborough–Agincourt, 98% in Trinity–Spadina, 96% in Whitby–Oshawa and 96% in Yellowhead;
  • in the June 30 and November 17 by‑elections were satisfied with wait times: 100% in Fort McMurray–Athabasca, 98% in Macleod, 96% in Scarborough–Agincourt, 96% of voters in Trinity–Spadina, 98% in Whitby–Oshawa and 100% in Yellowhead.
Elections are delivered whenever they are called Number of days required for all electoral offices to be fully functional In all the by‑elections held in 2014, 100% of the offices were fully functioning within seven days of the start of the election period, meeting all operational targets.
Percentage of eligible electors included on the list (coverage) In the June 30 and November 17 by-elections, the proportion of eligible voters included in the preliminary list of electors was 88.8% in Fort McMurray–Athabasca, 90.5% in Macleod, 86.4% in Scarborough–Agincourt, 86.7% in Trinity–Spadina, 91.5% in Whitby–Oshawa and 91.3% in Yellowhead.
Percentage of electors included on the list and at the correct address (currency) In the June 30 and November 17 by-elections, the proportion of eligible voters included in the preliminary list of electors at their current address was 76.4% in Fort McMurray–Athabasca, 84.7% in Macleod, 70.1% in Scarborough–Agincourt, 73.1% in Trinity–Spadina, 85.3% in Whitby–Oshawa and 83.7% in Yellowhead.
Elections accurately reflect the choices Canadians make Variance between the preliminary and official results (validated or subsequent to judicial recounts) Variances between preliminary results and validated results for by-elections held in 2014 were as follows:
  • 0.760% in Fort McMurray–Athabasca
  • 1.238% in Macleod
  • 0.018% in Scarborough–Agincourt
  • 0.504% in Trinity–Spadina
  • 0.433% in Whitby–Oshawa
  • 0.055% in Yellowhead
Number of court challenges that deal with irregularities at the polls None.
Canadian electors have the opportunities to exercise their right to vote Number of complaints that deal with accessibility of the voting process During the 2014 by-elections, 37 accessibility feedback forms were submitted, reporting 37 accessibility complaints. A breakdown of complaints received can be found online.Footnote 10
The redistribution of electoral boundaries is effectively supported Percentage of commissioners who are satisfied with the services and support provided by Elections Canada Not applicable in 2014–15.

Performance Analysis

Finalize Improvements for the 2015 General Election

Improve Compliance with Voting Procedures

Elections Canada pursued a number of administrative measures to improve compliance with voting procedures by poll workers.

Modernize Voter Registration

Elections Canada finalized the modernization of its field voter registration system to give authorized election officers access to a secure and centralized national voters list.

The new Field Voter Registration software was completed and delivered within its deadline. All functionalities needed to support the new voter registration program were delivered, including the automated production of voter information cards (VICs). The benefits include increased integrity of the electoral process, as well as improvements resulting from VIC automation.

The technology developed for this project was intended to provide a foundation for extending technology to the polls. When the Re-engineering of Voting Operations project was suspended in March 2014, further efforts to automate the voters list were put on hold.

Renew Public Enquiries Services

In 201415, Elections Canada completed work on renewing its Public Enquiries services, both between and during elections. The Public Enquiries unit developed a new Web form channel to receive enquiries, complaints and messages concerning accessibility; responses will be sent by e-mail. This will give electors a central point of contact during the 2015 general election.

The agency renewed its partnerships with Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency, two federal organizations that provided support during many past general elections and will do so again in 2015. This will ensure that Elections Canada has the management structure and staff to meet the requirements of the 2015 general election.

Public Enquiries' core unit was expanded in spring 2015; however, the project to renew the Public Enquiries' systems did not meet its March 31 completion date. The agency is continuing to pursue this initiative, but has also begun to revisit its contingency plan in the event that the project experiences further delays.

Update the Voter Identification Policy

A new voter identification policy came into force on December 19, 2014. This policy applies to electors who are registering and voting in person on election day and on advance polling days, as well as to electors who request a special ballot in person at the office of the returning officer. In establishing the policy, Elections Canada balanced the need to address accessibility concerns while maintaining the integrity of the vote. The policy sets out clear parameters with clear criteria for establishing the CEO's list of authorized identification.

Some of the key changes in the CEO's list of authorized ID include clearer language and the use of print-outs of electronic documents or online versions on a portable electronic device. A number of documents were added to address barriers faced by electors who are homeless, hospitalized or residing in long-term care facilities. In accordance with the provisions of the Fair Elections Act (Bill C-23), the list of authorized documents does not provide for the use of the VIC as proof of address.

Renew the Electoral Reminder Program for 2015

By March 2015, Elections Canada had nearly completed work on a comprehensive, multi-channel communications campaign. This included the revision of the VIC, the reminder brochure and the information flyer, as well as the development of print, video and electronic promotional products for the Electoral Reminder Program. Many products were made available to the general public in preparation for the general election.

The agency had also completed work on a communications strategy, the "Ready to Vote" branding development and focus testing of communications products and advertising concepts for the Electoral Reminder Program. It also completed work on a creative and media buy plan for a 2015 general election advertising campaign.

In addition, the agency developed a social media policy and launched social media channels (Twitter, YouTube) on March 31, 2015. Furthermore, a customized website homepage, focusing on the 2015 general election, was also ready by March 31, 2015.

These efforts to renew the Electoral Reminder Program will help Canadians know where, when and the ways to register and vote and ensure that they turn to Elections Canada when in doubt.

Continue to Improve the Accessibility of Programs and Processes

Elections Canada completed its accessibility plan for the 2015 general election. It directed returning officers to complete a national survey of the accessibility of some 20,000 voting locations. Following a mediated settlement with a plaintiff, the agency redesigned the VIC data structure and the Voter Information Service to include factual information on the accessibility of each polling location during an election. In February 2014, the agency launched an Advisory Group for Disability Issues and discussed with it ways to improve the accessibility of programs, processes and communications products, such as training field staff, communicating polling site accessibility and offering a wider array of alternate formats using plain language and more visuals as part of its Electoral Reminder Program.

Expand Locations for Voting by Special Ballot

To make voting more convenient for young electors, Elections Canada will offer special ballot voting services at some 56 institutions, most of them post-secondary educational facilities, as a pilot project. This trial will help determine whether this method of voting and this way of offering service better meets the needs of young electors, with a view to making evidence-based recommendations to Parliament after the election. Returning officers are preparing for up to 25% of the targeted electors to take advantage of this method. During the year covered by this report, returning officers made initial arrangements with some 56 institutions and finalized their operational preparation. The agency worked extensively with all stakeholders and prepared the policy framework and technological infrastructure for the initiative.

Continue to Improve Quality of Voters Lists

In July 2014, Elections Canada signed a data-sharing agreement with Manitoba Public Insurance. Implemented in fall 2014, the agreement enables the agency to update the National Register of Electors with data obtained from Manitoba's driver's licensing system. The agreement will improve the quality of the voters list. It also provides an additional means of validation for electors using the Online Voter Registration Service. Online registration is expected to improve the accuracy of the voters list.

Prepare for the 2015 General Election

By March 31, Elections Canada was ready to conduct a general election. It integrated its planned improvement initiatives and legislative changes into its programs and services.

Returning officers conducted pre-event activities such as setting up local and satellite offices, securing polling sites and assessing their accessibility, setting up information and communications technology, receiving and organizing documentation, validating changes to polling division boundaries and validating addresses on the lists of electors.

Furthermore, several regional workshops were held with returning officers to strengthen working relationships, solicit feedback on logistical and procedural improvements and solidify roles and responsibilities for all field staff.

The agency extensively revised its electoral material such as manuals, toolkits, pamphlets, voters lists and online tutorials, which allowed for more comprehensive returning officer and field staff training. In addition, the agency printed revised maps with new electoral districts and geographical information for returning officers. This aligned polling division boundaries with Statistics Canada's census boundaries.

Elections Canada made improvements to its information and communications technology infrastructure through upgrades and enhancements to better deliver services. The agency retained additional staff to aid not only with system coding, testing and implementation, but also with service desk overflow requests related to those activities. By March 31, Elections Canada was securing third party contracts with wireless and telecom service providers for telephony and call centre support services. Lastly, the agency also began planning wireless telecom, field equipment and webhosting deployment strategies.

The agency conducted large procurement activities such as the rental of office and sub‐office spaces, office furniture, computers and telephony equipment for field offices. Elections Canada also reconfigured the office space at its headquarters to meet 2015 general election needs. Lastly, the agency established contracts to store and house printed materials for the election.

The agency was also preparing for an event simulation exercise that would test business processes and IT systems to not only verify efficiencies when delivering an election but also validate the functionality and integrity of election services.

Program 1.2: Regulation of Electoral Activities

Description

This program provides Canadians with an electoral process that is fair, transparent and in compliance 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, disclosure and reporting of financial activities, and enforcing electoral legislation.

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
201415
Main Estimates
201415
Planned Spending
201415
Total Authorities
Available for Use
201415
Actual Spending (authorities used)
Difference
(actual minus planned)
19,959,354 19,959,354 18,387,001 18,101,587 (1,857,767)*

*The reduction in expenditures of $1.9 million between actual spending ($18.1 million) and planned spending ($20.0 million) for 201415 is mainly a result of the transfer of the Commissioner of Canada Elections to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, effective October 1, 2014, and less than expected number of subsidies to electoral district association auditors.

Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents)
201415
Planned
201415
Actual
Difference
(actual minus planned)
73 70 (3)*

*The difference of 3 FTEs for 201415 is mainly a result of the transfer of the Commissioner of Canada Elections to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, effective October 1, 2014.

Performance Results
Expected Results Performance Indicators Actual Results
Canadians have confidence in the integrity of how the electoral process is managed Percentage of Canadian electors who trust Elections Canada to run federal elections In the 2014 by-elections, among all electors aware of the federal by-elections, four out of five respondents thought Elections Canada ran it very or somewhat fairly (78% in June 30 by-elections and 80% in November 17 by-elections) with nearly two thirds giving the highest possible score. Also, 14% in the June 30 by-elections and 17% in the November 17 by-elections said they did not know or abstained from responding.
Percentage of political entities that believe Elections Canada is non-partisan in its regulatory activities Not measured.
Canadians have timely access to accurate political financing data Percentage of returns that require amendments In the 2014 by‑elections, 6 candidate returns out of 32 required amendments (19%).
Percentage of candidates' reimbursements processed within the service standards In the 2014 by‑elections, 97% of candidates' returns were submitted on time (31 out of 32). Two candidates did not receive their reimbursement within the service standard because information was missing in the files and it was not provided in a timely fashion by the official agents.
Political entities understand and comply with their obligations under the Canada Elections Act Proportion of cases that are subject to administrative measures In the 2014 by‑elections, 3 candidates out of 32 received letters from the compliance assistance unit (9%).
Percentage of political entities that are satisfied with the tools and information provided by Elections Canada Not measured.
Instances of material non-compliance are appropriately addressed Number of cases of alleged non-compliance and measures taken by the Commissioner of Canada Elections to address them Elections Canada no longer reports on activities of the Commissioner of Canada Elections.

Performance Analysis

Finalize Improvements for the 2015 General Election

Review Financial Reporting Forms and Reporting Requirements

To reflect the requirements of the Fair Elections Act (Bill C-23), Elections Canada modified the expense reporting forms for political parties, electoral district associations and candidates. The agency better aligned the electoral district association's return and the candidate's return. It also redesigned its information and communications technology systems for political financing, including the electronic filing system used by political entities.

Elections Canada also held discussions with members of the Advisory Committee of Political Parties on how to further improve the reporting of election expenses for political parties. Since changes will not be ready for the 2015 general election, further work in this area will be required after the event.

Following the coming into force of the Fair Elections Act (Bill C-23), Elections Canada consulted with members of the Advisory Committee of Political Parties to put in place a system for developing and publishing written opinions, guidelines and interpretation notes. This included establishing a steering committee with representatives of the Advisory Committee of Political Parties to manage priorities. The process that has been implemented allows for fully transparent consultation with political parties and the Commissioner of Canada Elections on the development of written opinions, guidelines and interpretation notes.

Through this process, new manuals for political entities have been adopted to provide guidance on the application of political financing rules, including reporting requirements.

Update the Audit Manual

The agency changed the way it will review election returns to monitor compliance with the regulatory obligations. It developed a new approach to determining the risk associated with certain types of candidate files, which will be applied for the 2015 general election. Elections Canada also developed a new sampling methodology, which will be applied for future events once the necessary systems changes have been made.

Elections Canada planned to update its audit manual to reflect new accounting standards. In the context of implementing the Fair Elections Act (Bill C-23), this was not completed.

Establish an Electoral Integrity Office

Following incidents that occurred during the 2011 general election, Elections Canada established an Electoral Integrity Program with the objective of formalizing and improving its ability to detect and respond to activities or incidents that may interfere with voter participation.

Through the Electoral Integrity Office, Elections Canada is also implementing a quality management program to help determine, on an ongoing basis, where administrative improvements are needed to increase compliance with voting procedures.

Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections

Pursuant to the Fair Elections Act (Bill C-23), the position of Commissioner of Canada Elections was moved from Elections Canada to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. This report therefore does not cover activities of the Commissioner. As of March 31, Elections Canada had initiated the work to establish a Memorandum of Understanding with the Commissioner of Canada Elections to pursue their collaboration with respect to information sharing under the new legislative framework.

Prepare for the 2015 General Election

In its preparation for the 2015 general election, Elections Canada continued to assist political entities with the transition to the new electoral boundaries. The agency maintained regular contact with registered political party representatives and provided them with reports on the status of their associations in regard to the 2003 and 2013 representation orders. The agency also provided ongoing assistance to political entities on various aspects of the registration process.

Since the proclamation of the 2013 Representation Order, 355 associations have been deregistered, 762 have filled notice of continuations and 504 have registered under the new electoral boundaries. As of March 31, 2015, 17 political parties were registered and 4 more were eligible for registration.

In its efforts to prepare for the 2015 general election, Elections Canada held training sessions for financial agents of registered associations in major centres across the country in February and March 2015. The agency also issued political financing handbooks for candidates and political parties. Lastly, the agency estimated election expense limits for candidates and parties based on the 2013 Representation Order.

Program 1.3: Electoral Engagement

Description

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

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
201415
Main Estimates
201415
Planned Spending
201415
Total Authorities
Available for Use
201415
Actual Spending (authorities used)
ifference
(actual minus planned)
8,441,546 8,441,546 8,405,364 8,261,985 (179,561)


Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents)
201415
Planned
201415
Actual
Difference
(actual minus planned)
63 57 (6)


Performance Results
Expected Results Performance Indicators Actual Results
Canadians understand the importance of voting and have the information they need to engage in the electoral process Percentage of Canadian electors who think that voting is important In the public opinion surveys following the 2014 by‑elections, the proportion of respondents who invoked a sense of civic duty as a reason for voting was 40% in the June 30 by‑elections (Fort McMurray–Athabasca, Macleod, Scarborough–Agincourt and Trinity–Spadina), and 39% in the November 17 by‑elections (Whitby–Oshawa and Yellowhead).
Canadian electors' recall rate of the Elections Canada advertising campaign In the public opinion surveys following the 2014 by-elections, the proportion of respondents who indicated that they saw an advertisement from Elections Canada was 31% in the June 30 by‑elections and 34% in the November 17 by‑elections.
Among those who noticed advertising, the primary sources were:
  • newspapers (49%), radio (22%) and TV (20%) in the June 30 by-elections
  • newspapers (59%), radio (22%) and TV (19%) in the November 17 by-elections
Percentage of Canadian electors who say they had the information they needed before going to vote Not measured.
Elections Canada is effective in promoting its civic education program and mobilizing stakeholders to carry out voter education Number of orders for Elections Canada's civic education materials In 2014–15, 8,609 civic education products were distributed, an increase of 22% over the previous year. This includes 1,727 election simulation kits, an increase of 15% over the previous year.
Number of stakeholders involved in Elections Canada's voter education activities In 2014, 66 stakeholder organizations, including 8 provincial election agencies, participated in Canada's Democracy Week activities; stakeholders organized a total of 20 events.
In addition, the agency partnered with 8 stakeholder organizations to deliver civic education programming throughout the fiscal year.
Variance in knowledge and interest among participants in a parallel election program Not applicable (the program only runs during a general election).
Parliamentarians have timely access to evidence-based information on existing and emerging electoral issues Proportion of recommendations endorsed by parliamentarians and ultimately enacted No recommendations were provided during the fiscal year.

Performance Analysis

Finalize Improvements for the 2015 General Election

Provide Support to Parliament

In connection with the Fair Elections Act (Bill C-23), the Chief Electoral Officer appeared before or made submissions to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. The Chief Electoral Officer proposed a total of 26 amendments. At an information session held on November 20, 2014, Elections Canada provided members of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs with an update on the agency's readiness plan for the 2015 general election and implementation of the Fair Elections Act (Bill C-23).

Elections Canada supported the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs during its review of the Riding Name Change Act, 2014 (Bill C-37), which received Royal Assent on June 19, 2014.

Consult the Elections Canada Advisory Board

The Elections Canada Advisory Board met on June 3 and October 2, 2014. The agency sought advice on the changes resulting from the Fair Elections Act (Bill C-23), as well as Elections Canada's approach to the 2015 general election.

The Board's terms of reference and summaries of its meetings are posted online.Footnote 12

Engage Stakeholders

Meetings of the Advisory Committee of Political Parties were held in October and December 2014. The purpose was to inform political parties about the agency's electoral readiness activities and event updates, and to seek their input concerning improvements in the processes for the 2015 general election. At the December 2014 meeting, Elections Canada presented the Committee's terms of reference, which were revised to reflect the requirements of the Fair Elections Act (Bill C-23).

The Committee's terms of reference and summaries of its meetings are posted online.Footnote 13

After consultations with the Advisory Committee of Political Parties, a new governance structure was developed and adopted to define the process by which Elections Canada seeks the Committee's input on written opinions, guidelines and interpretation notes.

The Advisory Group for Disability Issues met in June and November 2014 to set priorities and identify key activities to remove voting barriers for persons with disabilities.

Meetings with the Group played a key role in improving training materials for field staff, services to electors with disabilities and the accessibility of its communications products as part of the Electoral Reminder Program.

The agency also established agreements with organizations representing people with disabilities. The aim was to share information from Elections Canada on where, when and ways to register and vote in a range of communication channels and multiple formats.

The Group's terms of reference and summaries of its meetings are posted online.Footnote 14

Conduct Research

A number of research activities were completed to inform improvements for the 2015 general election. To increase the agency's knowledge of online registration, a research note was prepared on the attitudes of Canadians toward online registration from 2004 to 2011. To support the Re-engineering of Voting Operations project, a research note was prepared to provide an overview of key electronic voting and counting technologies, key possible risks and benefits, and emerging standards. This note also included an overview of national and international experiences related to electronic voting and counting technologies. In 2013, Elections BC commissioned Apathy is Boring (a non-profit, non-partisan organization) to conduct a Youth Registration Pilot Project. Elections Canada supported the preparation of a report on the project. The report has now been completed and posted online.Footnote 15

Prepare for the 2015 General Election

Engage Stakeholders

At the October 2014 meeting of the Advisory Committee of Political Parties, Elections Canada shared data about the new electoral districts created as a result of the electoral boundaries readjustment process under the 2013 Representation Order.

Promote Civic Education

The fourth Canada's Democracy Week was held in September 2014. Elections Canada coordinated four events reaching approximately 600 persons. In addition there were 20 stakeholder events, which also received positive feedback. The agency sent stakeholder toolkits to parliamentarians, provincial and territorial ministers of education, and stakeholders. A total of 66 organizations, including post-secondary institutions and governmental and not-for-profit organizations were engaged. Among these, eight provincial election agencies held events or promoted Canada's Democracy Week.

The number of submissions to the National Democracy Challenge rose by 228% in 2014. In all, 90% of participants indicated that the initiative increased their appreciation of, interest in and knowledge about democracy.

Over and above the Canada's Democracy Week and the National Democracy Challenge initiatives, nearly 8,700 civic education products were distributed to teachers across Canada. This represented an increase of 22% over 201314, including a 15% increase in orders of Elections Canada's election simulation kits.

Elections Canada had a presence at 20 education conferences in 8 provinces and all 3 territories. In addition, the agency partnered with eight stakeholder organizations to deliver civic education programming throughout the year: CIVIX (a non-partisan, national registered charity); Forum for Young Canadians; Encounters with Canada; the University of Ottawa; Rotary Adventures in Citizenship; Native Women's Association of Canada; Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada; and Samara.

Elections Canada established a contract with CIVIX to deliver the Student Vote parallel election program for the 2015 general election. The program targets youth who have not yet reached voting age, giving them an opportunity to experience the voting process firsthand and to practise the habits of informed and engaged citizenship.

Improve Youth Engagement

Elections Canada held 10 Inspire Democracy workshops across Canada, involving representatives from more than 130 organizations. These included national, regional and local youth-serving organizations, student associations, election agencies, Aboriginal groups, non-governmental or non-profit organizations, and others. The workshops were designed to build the organizations' understanding of youth civic engagement issues and inspire commitment to take action for the 2015 general election. In the post-workshop survey, 86% of participants indicated that they will share Elections Canada's information on registration and voting for the 2015 federal general election. Reports were prepared for each workshop and a final report was posted online.Footnote 16

A national conference planned for 2014 was cancelled to allow the agency to focus more on election readiness activities and implementing the changes resulting from the Fair Elections Act (Bill C-23). In place of the conference, an Inspire Democracy webinar series was developed and implemented. This initiative shared with organizations research on youth participation and information on where, when and ways to register and vote. A total of four webinars were held in 201415 two in English and two in French with 41 participants.

The Inspire Democracy website and newsletter were launched in April 2014 to present research and knowledge-sharing tools for youth civic engagement. Four newsletters were issued in
201415 to a total of 522 subscribers (including 258 workshop participants).

More than 10 additional stakeholder meetings were held during the year to share research on youth participation and election readiness information (where, when and ways to register and vote).

Conduct Research

Elections Canada completed planning for a number of research activities designed to assess the 2015 general election. More specifically, the agency procured services to conduct surveys after the general election to evaluate the experience of electors, candidates and poll workers as well as to evaluate the 2015 Student Vote parallel election program. The agency also put in place a contract for the 2015 National Youth Survey which will strengthen understanding of the barriers to voting for young Canadians. In addition, the agency put in place a contract with the Assembly of First Nations that includes provisions for research on barriers to voting for First Nations electors living on reserves. Findings from these surveys and studies will be used to assess the delivery of the election and the impacts of the agency's outreach, communications and civic education programs.

In 201415, Elections Canada also commissioned research to further its understanding of the barriers to voting for various groups of electors. The agency commissioned Professor Peter Loewen of the University of Toronto to update the report Youth Electoral Engagement in Canada by incorporating data from the 2011 general election. The report has been posted online.Footnote 17 Elections Canada also commissioned professors Antoine Bilodeau (Concordia University, Montréal) and Luc Turgeon (University of Ottawa) to write a report on Voter Turnout among Younger Canadians and Visible Minority Canadians, using data from the Provincial Diversity Project. The report was published online.Footnote 18

Internal Services

Description

Internal Services are groups of related activities and resources that are administered to support the needs of programs and other corporate obligations of an organization. These groups are Management and Oversight Services, Communications Services, Legal Services, Human Resources Management Services, Financial Management Services, Information Management Services, Information Technology Services, Real Property Services, Materiel Services, Acquisition Services, and Travel and Other Administrative Services. Internal Services include only those activities and resources that apply across an organization and not those provided to a specific program.

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
201415
Main Estimates
201415
Planned Spending
201415
Total Authorities
Available for Use
201415
Actual Spending (authorities used)
Difference
(actual minus planned)
33,771,315 33,771,315 34,564,793 34,110,007 338,692


Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents)
201415
Planned
201415
Actual
Difference
(actual minus planned)
134 120 (14)

Performance Analysis

Finalize Improvements and Prepare the 2015 General Election

Continue to Use the Corporate Strategy Office to Support and Oversee Improvement Initiatives

The Corporate Strategy Office continued to support agency projects and initiatives and adopted standardized reporting tools. Overall, it greatly assisted with the decision-making process. To enable election readiness activities, the Office shifted its focus to the planning of the preparation of the 2015 general election and to supporting the agency's Electoral Readiness Committee.

Support Improvement Initiatives through Information Technology (IT)

Elections Canada worked to develop its information and communications technology capacity and its event support business systems to support the delivery of the 2015 general election.

In addition to upgrading aging infrastructure and expanding the Corporate Data Centre hosted within Shared Services Canada, a contract has been established with a third party service provider to expand the secure hosted data centre where the majority of the public facing critical event support applications are hosted. Contracts have also been established with other third party service providers for the provision, service and support of hardware and software configurations to more than 500 field offices as well as the telephony and data connectivity necessary to support field offices during the event. These contemporary approaches to IT solution and service delivery have called for considerable diligence towards third party IT service provider relationship management and risk management.

Key system developments going into the 2015 general election include enhanced service to electors and returning officers with a system that enables the central management of voter information in the field and a system by which electors can verify their registration details or register online. The Fair Elections Act (Bill C-23) required the agency to implement significant changes to the political financing regime and associated management systems.

With the volume of changes across all information technology and telecommunications infrastructure, business systems and business processes since the 2011 general election, the agency saw it wise to implement a comprehensive Event Systems Integration Testing and Quality Assurance regime. This regime oversaw threat risk and vulnerability assessments of the new event systems and infrastructures, as well as system, integration, load and stress testing activities.

Prepare to Respond to Election Recruitment Needs

The agency successfully completed 57 collective selection processes, all of which were conducted with various groups and levels. The processes created several pools of candidates readily available to meet staffing needs at Elections Canada for the 2015 general election.

Support Elections Canada's Management Priorities

Manage Human Resources

Elections Canada faces succession planning challenges, particularly at the executive (EX) level. In 201415, the agency launched and completed 5 selection processes at the executive level and staffed 10 available EX positions that became vacant. Elections Canada also provided coaching and training to middle managers to prepare for, and succeed at, EX staffing processes. Lastly, the agency launched coaching circle and mentoring pilot programs during the 201415 fiscal year; both have now been launched on a long-term basis.

The new Directive on Performance Management came into force on April 1, 2014. Elections Canada provided support to managers and staff as they adapted to the new model of performance management. The agency held 90 training sessions on various topics and made them available through an internal development program and the Canada School of Public Service, which implemented mechanisms to foster employees' success in learning and personal growth. Elections Canada continued to have a yearly training target of seven days per employee, which allows employees and managers to hone their skills to better perform their duties and prepare for promotions.

Complete the Preparation of the Next Risk-Based Audit Plan

In 201415, Elections Canada completed the Audit of the Security of the Lists of Electors, a further step toward meeting the assurance audit commitments set out in its 201316 Risk-based Audit Plan. Following the 2015 general election, the Audit unit will work with other agency sectors to develop the next Risk-based Audit Plan, which will be developed from a review of high-risk activities.

Strengthen Internal Safeguards
Develop a New Strategic Plan

Elections Canada delayed work on a new strategic plan in order to deal with the impacts of the Fair Elections Act (Bill C-23). The agency intends to continue working on the strategic plan in 201516.

Adjust the Operating Budget

Elections Canada is facing pressures and will need to adjust its operating budget. As a result, the agency may seek additional authorities given the recent electoral reform, the addition of 30 electoral districts, the need to strengthen the integrity of the electoral process, and the need to maintain a modern and secure IT infrastructure.

Implement Shared Services and Collaborative Service Arrangements

Elections Canada continued to explore and implement common and shared services with other agents of Parliament located in the same building as the agency. In 201415, the agency focused on establishing communities of practice in key areas such as employee training. It collaborated with other agents of Parliament on preparatory work for the implementation of back-office systems and common business processes in human resources and finance. The agency completed its migration to PeopleSoft, the Government of Canada's standard software used for human resources management.