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2016–17 Departmental Results Report

Operating Context and Key Risks

Operating Context

This past fiscal year fell in the middle of a four-year electoral cycle. With a fixed election date of October 21, 2019, the agency continued to move forward with its plans to improve and modernize the electoral process before returning to general election readiness. Elections Canada's primary operational requirement during the past fiscal year was to deliver any by-elections that were called and initiate preparatory activities to be ready to hold a referendum, in case the Government wished to consult Canadians on a possible change of electoral system.

During fall and winter 2016, Elections Canada assisted the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs in reviewing the Chief Electoral Officer's recommendationsFootnote i tabled in September 2016. In November, the Government introduced Bill C-33Footnote ii and announced an intention to introduce other electoral legislation. Nine private members' bills, proposing various amendments to Canada's electoral legislative framework, were also before Parliament.

In January 2017, the Honourable Karina Gould succeeded the Honourable Maryam Monsef as Minister of Democratic Institutions and President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada. The new Minister's Mandate LetterFootnote iii calls on her to "lead the Government of Canada's efforts to defend the Canadian electoral process from cyber threats," which is a priority that Elections Canada shares and upholds, particularly in the context of the ever-evolving digital world.

Elections Canada is continuing its preparation for the appointment of a new Chief Electoral Officer following the retirement of Marc Mayrand in December 2016.

Key Risks

Risk Mitigating Strategy and Effectiveness Link to the Agency's Programs
There is insufficient time for Elections Canada to implement electoral reform and deliver an election that meets the expectations of Canadians. Elections Canada would have mitigated the risk by realigning its resources and scaling down its Transformation Agenda initiatives for the 43rd general election. As a result, Elections Canada was prepared. However, in February 2017, the Government indicated that it would not pursue a change of electoral system.
  • Electoral Operations
  • Regulation of Electoral Activities
  • Electoral Engagement
Elections Canada is not prepared to hold a referendum. The agency reviewed the Referendum Regulation and developed a contingency plan so that a referendum could be held with a six-month preparation window. In February 2017, the Government indicated that it would not hold a referendum on a change of electoral system.
  • Electoral Operations
  • Regulation of Electoral Activities
  • Electoral Engagement