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2016–17 Departmental Results Report

Results: What We Achieved

Elections Canada pursued, under each of its programs, several initiatives to support the modernization of the electoral process and the renewal of the infrastructure and assets that enable the delivery of electoral events.

The Chief Electoral Officer continued to account to Parliament and to Canadians on the results of the agency's efforts in post-election reports.Footnote iv

Note to the Reader

Most of Elections Canada's programs deliver results to Canadians only during general elections, which normally take place every four years. Between general elections, Elections Canada uses by-elections to report on selected results. However, by-elections are not comparable to general elections and, due to the highly different profiles across electoral districts, there is no basis for comparing by-elections among themselves. Therefore, past results for individual by-elections are not presented in the Results tables in this section.

Programs

Program 1.1: Electoral Operations

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.

Results Narrative
Election Readiness and Delivery

Over the 2016–17 fiscal year, Elections Canada delivered one by-election, on October 24, 2016, in Medicine Hat–Cardston–Warner (Alberta). The agency also completed all preparatory work and deployed the infrastructure to hold five more by-elections that took place on April 3, 2017, in Calgary Heritage (Alberta), Calgary Midnapore (Alberta), Markham–Thornhill (Ontario), Ottawa–Vanier (Ontario) and Saint-Laurent (Quebec).

Over the period, the agency also reviewed its governance structure for field administrators and hired 29 field liaison officers,Footnote v who provide support to returning officers and act as an intermediary between them and Elections Canada.

Elections Canada also maintained the National Register of Electors, from which it extracted the annual lists of electors, and distributed these lists, along with maps and election expenses limits, to members of Parliament and political parties within statutory timelines.

Referendum Readiness

In view of public interest and discussion by the Government about holding a referendum, Elections Canada developed a plan to improve its level of readiness, so that a referendum could be held at any time, given a six-month window for preparation.

Electoral Services Modernization

Elections Canada introduced and began implementing a series of modernization initiatives to make the electoral process simpler and more accessible, efficient and flexible, in four priority areas:

To this end, the agency made significant progress towards its initiative to enhance polling place processes by consulting with stakeholders and by conducting a Request for Information (RFI) to gather information from industry about electronic poll book technologies. This was followed by a Request for Proposals (RFP) published in June 2017.

As part of the agency's initiative for special ballot voting, Elections Canada developed a business case on electronic ballot delivery and completed industry consultation through another RFI. Upon completion of stakeholder consultations and review of the final business case, a decision was taken to not pursue this initiative for the 43rd general election.

Elections Canada consulted with returning officers, field liaison officers and other key stakeholders and made significant progress in defining the business requirements for improved online services for political entities and for additional locations for special voting services.


Results Achieved
Expected Results Performance Indicators* Date to Achieve Target Actual Results
2016-17 (1 by-election) 2015-16 (42nd general election) 2014-15 (6 by-elections)
The electoral process is accessible and responsive to the needs of electors Percentage of voters who are satisfied with their voting experience** March 2017 98% of voters were satisfied with their voting experience. Specifically, 86% were very satisfied and 12% were somewhat satisfied with the experience. No by-elections were held in 2015–16. Results from the 2015 general electionFootnote vi held that year are not comparable. No general elections were held in 2014–15. Results from the 6 by-electionsFootnote vii held that year are not comparable.
Percentage of non-voters reporting administrative reasons as their main reason for not voting** March 2017 Of those who were aware of the by-election but did not vote, only 3% said they did not vote for reasons related to the electoral process: 2% reported issues with voter information cards and 1% indicated a lack of information about the voting process.
Elections are delivered whenever they are called Number of days required for all electoral offices to be fully functional March 2017 All offices were fully functional within seven days of the start of the election period, meeting all operational targets.
Percentage of eligible electors included on the list (coverage***) March 2017 The proportion of eligible voters included in the preliminary list of electors was 91.4%. Historically, this figure has ranged from 91% to 94%.
Percentage of electors included on the list and at the correct address (currency****) March 2017 The proportion of eligible voters included in the preliminary list of electors at their current address was 87.1%. Historically, this figure has ranged from 81% to 86%.
Elections accurately reflect the choices Canadians make Variance between the preliminary and official results (validated or subsequent to judicial recounts) March 2017 The variance between preliminary results and validated results for the 2016 by-election was 0.11%.
Number of electoral districts where official election results have been overturned because of administrative errors March 2017 None.
Canadian electors have opportunities to exercise their right to vote Number of complaints that deal with accessibility of the voting process for people with disabilities March 2017 Of the 23 complaints filed by electors during the October 2016 by-election, three (13%) were related to accessibility for people with disabilities: one related to signage, one to walkways and pathways, and one to doors.
The redistribution of electoral boundaries is effectively supported Percentage of commissioners who are satisfied with the services and support provided by Elections Canada March 2017 Not applicable for 2016–17.

*Targets for these performance indicators are under development.

**Results are from the Elections Canada Survey of Electors following the October 2016 by-election.

***Coverage is the proportion of eligible voters (Canadian citizens aged 18 and over) who are registered.

****Currency is the proportion of eligible voters who are registered at their current address.


Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2016–17
Main Estimates
2016–17
Planned Spending
2016–17
Total Authorities Available for Use
2016–17
Actual Spending (authorities used)
2016–17
Difference (actual minus planned)
45,743,386 45,743,386 48,145,526 47,152,229 1,408,843


Human Resources (full-time equivalents)
2016–17 Planned 2016–17 Actual 2016–17
Difference (actual minus planned)
216 262 46

The difference of 46 full-time equivalents is mainly a result of the requirement for additional temporary employees to close the 42nd general election, conduct by-elections and support electoral operations.

Program 1.2: Regulation of Electoral Activities

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 compliance monitoring, disclosure and reporting of financial activities.

Results Narrative
Audit of Election Returns

In 2016–17, Elections Canada continued to process, audit and report on political parties' and candidates' political financing returns. The agency completed auditing of most political parties' and candidates' returns from the previous general election. By March 31, a limited number of cases were still pending, due to delays in receiving financial information from the parties and candidates.

Independent Audit on Poll Worker Performance

On September 21, 2016, Elections Canada published an independent audit report from PricewaterhouseCoopers on poll workers' performance in the 2015 general election, as an appendix to the Retrospective Report on the 42nd General Election.Footnote viii PricewaterhouseCoopers also prepared a report for the October 24, 2016, by-election in Medicine Hat–Cardston–Warner (Alberta), which Elections Canada published as an appendix to the Report on the By-election in Medicine Hat–Cardston–Warner.Footnote ix

Support to Parliament

On September 27, 2016, the Chief Electoral Officer tabled in Parliament a report titled An Electoral Framework for the 21st Century: Recommendations from the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Following the 42nd General Election,Footnote x which contained a total of 132 recommendations. Elections Canada assisted the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC) in the review of the recommendations. PROC supported many of the recommendations, as indicated in the two interim reports available to date on Parliament's website.Footnote xi Elections Canada also assisted PROC's review of the Special Committee on Electoral Reform's (ERRE) proposed recommendations as found in Strengthening Democracy in Canada: Principles, Process and Public Engagement for Electoral Reform.Footnote xii


Results Achieved
Expected Results Performance Indicators* Date to Achieve Target Actual Results
2016-17 (1 by-election) 2015-16 (42nd general election) 2014-15 (6 by-elections)
Canadians have confidence in how the electoral process is managed Percentage of Canadian electors who believe that Elections Canada administers elections in a fair manner** March 2017 89% of respondents who were aware of the by-election thought it was run fairly: 73% indicated that Elections Canada ran the by-election very fairly, with a further 16% saying somewhat fairly. No by-elections were held in 2015–16. Results from the 2015 general electionFootnote xiii held that year are not comparable. No general elections were held in 2014–15. Results from the 6 by-electionsFootnote xiv held that year are not comparable.
Percentage of candidates who express satisfaction with the way elections are administered March 2017 Not measured for by-elections.
Canadians have timely access to accurate political financing data Percentage of candidates' election returns that are available to the public within 30 days of filing March 2017 100% of candidates' election returns (6 out of 6) were published on Elections Canada's website within 30 days of filing.
Political entities understand and comply with their obligations under the Canada Elections Act Percentage of candidates' election returns that are submitted within 4 months of election day March 2017 50% of candidates' election returns (3 out of 6) were submitted within 4 months of election day; extensions were granted for the remaining 3 returns, 2 of which were submitted within their extension period.
Percentage of candidates who are satisfied with the tools and information provided by Elections Canada March 2017 Not measured for by-elections.

*Targets for these performance indicators are under development.

**Results are from the Elections Canada Survey of Electors following the October 2016 by-election. This indicator was amended; it previously measured the proportion of Canadian electors who believe that Elections Canada administers elections in a non-partisan manner.


Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2016–17
Main Estimates
2016–17
Planned Spending
2016–17
Total Authorities Available for Use
2016–17
Actual Spending (authorities used)
2016–17
Difference (actual minus planned)
11,656,805 11,656,805 13,113,810 12,698,073 1,041,268


Human Resources (full-time equivalents)
2016–17 Planned 2016–17 Actual 2016–17
Difference (actual minus planned)
82 87 5

Program 1.3: Electoral Engagement

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 stakeholders.

Results Narrative
Retrospective Report

Elections Canada published a Retrospective Report on the 42nd General ElectionFootnote xv on September 21, 2016. The report offered an in-depth look at the election from stakeholders' and electors' perspectives, to assess their experiences and draw lessons learned.

Engagement on Voting Services

Elections Canada launched an engagement process regarding voting services in order to inform the agency's plans to streamline those services and introduce technology at the polls.

To this end, the agency held consultations with key stakeholders, including various national Indigenous groups, the Advisory Committee of Political Parties,Footnote xvi returning officers and field liaison officers, the Elections Canada Advisory Board,Footnote xvii the Advisory Committee of Electoral Partners,Footnote xviii the Advisory Group for Disability Issues,Footnote xix the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs,Footnote xx as well as provincial and territorial electoral management bodies across Canada.

Outreach Review

In 2016–17, Elections Canada undertook a review of voter outreach and stakeholder engagement activities from 2011 to 2015, looking at survey and operational data and conducting interviews with subject matter experts. Based on this review, the agency updated its outreach policy and renewed its strategy to conduct voter outreach and stakeholder engagement both between and during elections.

Corporate Research Plan

The agency developed a five-year research plan in 2016. The aim of this plan is to provide technical advice to Parliament to support legislative reforms and to support Elections Canada's own modernization agenda. Research has been conducted on electoral systems, online voting and pre-registration, and the plan is being updated regularly to reflect evolving priorities.

Civic Education for Students

From September 15 to 22, 2016, the agency hosted the sixth annual Canada's Democracy Week,Footnote xxi on the theme of "Teaching democracy: Let's talk teacher needs." During this event, the Chief Electoral Officer gave a presentation to 150 future teachers at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Education; this presentation was also available across Canada through Facebook Live.

Elections Canada also reviewed the current materials and prepared a strategy and action plan for the renewal of its civic education program.


Results Achieved
Expected Results Performance Indicators* Date to Achieve Target Actual Results
2016-17 (1 by-election) 2015-16 (42nd general election) 2014-15 (6 by-elections)
Canadians have the information they need to engage in the electoral process** Canadian electors' recall rate of the Elections Canada advertising campaign*** March 2017 67% of electors indicated that they had seen an advertisement from Elections Canada about how, when and where to vote in the by-election. Among those who noticed advertising, the primary sources were newspapers (37%), radio (32%) and TV (22%). Moreover, 25% stated that they recalled getting information about the by-election from their voter information card. No by-elections were held in 2015–16. Results from the 2015 general electionFootnote xxii held that year are not comparable. No general elections were held in 2014–15. Results from the 6 by-electionsFootnote xxiii held that year are not comparable.
Percentage of Canadian electors using voting options other than polling day voting March 2017 20% of electors who voted in the October 2016 by-election used options other than election day voting: 17% voted at the advance polls and 3% voted at an Elections Canada office or by mail.
Percentage of Canadian electors who report that they knew when, where and ways to register and vote*** March 2017 93% of eligible voters said they felt informed in terms of how, when and where to vote: 75% felt very informed; 18% felt somewhat informed.
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 March 2017 2,937 civic education products were distributed throughout the year. This is a 72% decrease from the previous year, when there was high demand, due to it being an election year.
Number of stakeholders involved in Elections Canada's education activities March 2017 Elections Canada engaged with 1,765 Canadian educators as part of the civic education needs assessment. Moreover, 18 stakeholder organizations were involved in Elections Canada's civic education events and activities.
Electoral agencies and international organizations benefit from assistance and co-operation in electoral matters Number of official requests for international assistance to which Elections Canada responds March 2017 Elections Canada did not receive any formal requests for international electoral assistance.
Parliamentarians have timely access to evidence-based information on existing and emerging electoral issues Proportion of recommendations endorsed by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs 2018 At the end of the fiscal year, the Committee had tabled two interim reports in which it endorsed 57 recommendations. At the time of this report, the study of the CEO's 132 recommendations by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs had not been completed.

*Targets for these performance indicators are under development.

**Elections Canada established a new baseline evaluation of its public information campaign during the 42nd general election and therefore not all measures have comparable data from previous elections.

***Results are from the Elections Canada Survey of Electors following the October 2016 by-election.


Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2016–17
Main Estimates
2016–17
Planned Spending
2016–17
Total Authorities Available for Use
2016–17
Actual Spending
(authorities used)
2016–17
Difference
(actual minus planned)
9,059,837 9,059,837 9,103,120 8,835,883 (223,954)


Human Resources (full-time equivalents)
2016–17 Planned 2016–17 Actual 2016–17
Difference (actual minus planned)
67 71 4

Internal Services

Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct service categories that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories 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; and Acquisition Services.

Results Narrative
Long-term Planning

Over the 2016–17 fiscal year, Elections Canada completed a number of key planning initiatives, including the development of a new master budget to guide investments towards transformation initiatives for the next general election. The agency also developed a new corporate procurement plan and realigned its governance structure to support decision making and facilitate the delivery of ongoing projects and commitments in preparation for the next general election.

While the publication of a formal strategic plan will await the appointment of a new Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada established a new multi-year Transformation Agenda to articulate the agency's vision for the 43rd general election. The plan is based on three key pillars: Electoral Services Modernization and Electoral Reform,Footnote xxiv which were discussed in previous sections above, and Asset Renewal, which is led by Internal Services.

Under the Asset Renewal pillar, Elections Canada initiated projects to renew several key assets that provide the foundation for successful electoral events, such as its telephone and network systems, its data centres, and a new system used to pay election workers.

With the Government's elevated focus on cyber security, Elections Canada continued to improve its posture by establishing a cyber-security task force and engaging other federal security agencies on security standards and best practices. As a result, the agency began implementing several key improvements to mission-critical online system areas, data centres, and access and credential management. Significant improvements to the enterprise network infrastructure were also made, resulting in improved internal capacity, mobility and security.

Furthermore, Elections Canada conducted strategic reviews of business processes and software applications currently in use, with a view to streamlining and amalgamation.

These major, multi-year investments are part of the agency's investment plan, which will be finalized in 2017–18 and reviewed annually.

Organizational Capacity and Learning

In 2016–17, Elections Canada conducted an organizational realignment to support its Transformation Agenda. A comprehensive internal capacity review was also completed to identify gaps and mitigation strategies in terms of the agency's ability to deliver all key initiatives planned for the 43rd general election.

As part of Elections Canada's ongoing commitment to employee training and development, and in order to support long-term succession planning, the agency launched a program aimed specifically at employees aspiring to executive roles. By the end of 2016–17, the first cohort had completed all 30 weekly sessions and a second one was under way.

Transition to a New Pay System

In 2016–17, Elections Canada transitioned to Phoenix, the new government pay system that was deployed across all federal departments and agencies. Though compensation advisors continue to work through difficulties in terms of pay timeliness, amounts paid and other administrative inaccuracies, the agency was able to ensure that no employee went without a regular pay.

Field Finance

During the reporting period, Elections Canada initiated a plan to improve financial management of local offices and the payment of election workers at the next general election. A new pay system will phase in essential enhancements to support workforce and financial management. This project, part of the agency's Asset Renewal pillar, is on track and will be ready for the next general election.


Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2016–17
Main Estimates
2016–17
Planned Spending
2016–17
Total Authorities Available for Use
2016–17
Actual Spending
(authorities used)
2016–17
Difference
(actual minus planned)
32,075,233 32,075,233 34,495,323 33,745,539 1,670,306


Human Resources (full-time equivalents)
2016–17 Planned 2016–17 Actual 2016–17
Difference (actual minus planned)
122 143 21

The difference of 21 full-time equivalents is mainly due to investing in asset renewal, establishing compensation services and replacing information technology consultants with term employees.