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Preventing Deceptive Communications with Electors

2. Legal Context


In order to understand the implications of the deceptive calls made during the 41st general election and the need for legislative reform, it is necessary to provide, in summary fashion, an overview of the rules that currently apply or do not apply, as the case may be to such conduct. This part of the report sets out relevant parts of the Canada Elections Act, indicates that the main pieces of federal privacy legislation do not apply to political parties, and explains how provisions of the Telecommunications Act and a number of the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) dealing with telemarketing or automated calls do apply to political entities. Finally, it refers to certain offences set out in the Criminal Code.

A. Canada Elections Act

Communications with electors by political entities are essential to the democratic process. For political parties and candidates, the purpose of an election campaign is to convince electors to vote and to vote for a particular candidate. This is done through a number of means, and for many, the direct contact between candidates or their team and the elector remains an essential component of the campaign.

To facilitate these communications, Parliament has included a number of provisions in the Act requiring the transmittal of elector information to parties, candidates or members of Parliament through lists of electors (sections 93, 104.1, 107, 109 and 45). These lists contain the name, addresses (mailing and civic) and numerical identifier of each elector.Footnote 7 They do not contain elector telephone numbers.

The Act imposes no obligations on the recipients of the lists with respect to protecting and controlling access to the personal information they contain. Nevertheless, Elections Canada provides administrative guidelines that include best practices to protect the personal information found on the lists. However, these guidelines are not enforceable.

Elections Canada has limited information on how this and other personal information is managed by political parties. There is little public knowledge about the manner in which the information is collected, the sources of the information, whether the information is shared and with whom, the purposes for which it is used, and whether there are measures put in place by the parties to control or limit the use made of this information. The agency understands that there are a number of commercial software packages on the market that allow political parties to more easily merge information contained on the lists of electors with their own information on electors. These databases may contain a significant amount of additional information, including telephone number and vote preference, if known.Footnote 8 Elections Canada also understands that, in certain cases, local campaigns and the parties to which they are affiliated share the elector information in the party's database to increase the information available to both entities for that electoral district. The primary purpose of parties' use of these databases is to build a record of their supporters (and of their non-supporters) to facilitate communication with electors during campaigns, for example, to get the vote out.Footnote 9

The evolution of new technologies and their increased use by participants in the electoral process have allowed participants to target segments of the electorate and reach out to electors more easily and more efficiently. This is done through an expanding range of mechanisms, including live or automated calls and interactive telephone town halls, all of which allow parties and candidates to pass on their message and foster participation.

The tools to do so are not expensive and are relatively easy to use. For this reason, they present significant benefits to the electoral process. However, these very qualities, combined with the capability of some of these tools to hide the true source of the communication, also make them key instruments for those who want to deceive electors.

Deceptive practicesFootnote 10 involving the use of "robocalls" or websites have emerged in the United States over the last decade. For example, in 2006, in Kansas City and Virginia, electors received automated phone calls falsely informing them of changes in polling location.Footnote 11 Apart from interfering with the constitutional rights of electors, such practices potentially erode the trust of electors as well as the capacity of political parties and candidates to effectively communicate with electors and stimulate voter participation.

What can and cannot be done by parties and candidates in communications with individual electors

Under the Act (section 110, paragraph 111(f)), the primary constraint on the use of personal information contained on the lists of electors by parties, candidates and members of Parliament is that the personal information they contain not be knowingly used for a purpose other than: (a) communicating with electors, or (b) a federal election or referendum. Under this prohibition, not only must the misuse be demonstrated, but also the person's knowledge of the source of the information and its use.Footnote 12

Communications with electors may be and are done through many means, including door-to-door canvassing and other forms of voter contact. Election advertising that is, the transmission to the public during an election period of an advertising message promoting or opposing a candidate or party, or a position with which they are associatedFootnote 13 is permitted, subject to the requirement that it include a mention in or on the message that its transmission was authorized by the official agent of the candidate or by the registered agent of the party.Footnote 14 Get-out-the-vote calls are also authorized communications.

However, wilfully preventing or trying to prevent an elector from voting is prohibited.Footnote 15 Similarly, inducing a person to refrain from voting (or to vote for or against a particular candidate) by "any pretence or contrivance" is prohibited.Footnote 16 Finally, knowingly making or publishing a false statement of fact in relation to the personal character or conduct of a candidate or prospective candidate with the intention of affecting the result of the election is also prohibited.Footnote 17

These prohibitions are drafted fairly broadly. The prohibitions found in paragraphs 281(g) and 482(b) are not tied to a particular technology or means of interference. Paragraph 482(b) would capture both tricks used to deceive electors in their vote preference (e.g. by falsely pretending to call on behalf of another candidate) as well as tricks to suppress the vote (e.g. by falsely informing electors that their polling location has changed).

However, these prohibitions are backed with sanctions enforceable in the criminal courts and not administrative penalties. As a result, non-compliance can only be dealt with through investigations for which the outcome may be a penal process. As discussed further in this report, the limited tools available to obtain information translate into usually lengthy and stringent procedures. There is also a significant imbalance between these lengthy and stringent procedures and the small fines that may currently be imposed by the courts following a conviction, thus limiting the deterrent effect of such a finding.

Communications with electors regarding polling locations

Each electoral district is divided into a number of geographic parcels called polling divisions, with a division comprising at least 250 electors. Generally, there is one polling station for every polling division. The basic rule is that a polling station should be located in the polling division. However, if the returning officer considers it advisable, several polling stations may be placed together in a central polling place. In practice, most polling stations are grouped in this manner.

Before each election, returning officers are tasked with identifying polling sites in the polling divisions, or sites in which a central polling place may be established. Central polling places may group together a maximum of 15 polling stations. Where feasible, polls should be in a public building that is centrally located in proximity to the electors they serve, and that meets specific accessibility standards both inside and outside the building.Footnote 18 While returning officers may have preliminary discussions with landlords for the rental of the premises, they may not enter into a lease prior to the issue of the writs unless authorized to do so by the Chief Electoral Officer, usually not before the election is imminent.

A voter information card (VIC) is sent by the returning officer to all registered electors in the electoral district. The VIC indicates the address of the elector's polling station as well as voting dates, voting hours and a telephone number to call for further information.Footnote 19 If it is necessary to change the location of a polling station for example, because of the sudden unavailability of a polling site the returning officer prints and sends amended VICs to affected electors. If the change occurs too late in the election calendar to proceed in this fashion,Footnote 20 electors are informed through media broadcasts and personally by an election worker posted at the entrance of the closed or changed polling station.

Candidates are directly informed of the location of polling sites and of any changes to these locations because the Act authorizes them or their representatives to be present at polling stations and at the counting of the votes.Footnote 21 This information is also posted on the Elections Canada website. Following the request of a party during the 41st general election, polling site information was shared with all political parties as well, with the specific instruction that it not be used by parties to inform voters of their voting location.Footnote 22 Given the static nature of the information provided to parties and the risk of confusion, in the future, Elections Canada will resume its practice of providing this information directly to candidates only, and not to political parties.

Elections Canada does not call electors to advise them of changes in polling sites. Subject to a few exceptions, the agency does not have the telephone numbers of electors.Footnote 23 Even in the few cases where electors provide their telephone number voluntarily, this personal information is not captured in the National Register of Electors or on the lists of electors and it is not available to returning officers.

Other Elections Canada communications with electors during the election period

While Elections Canada does not communicate with electors individually except through the VIC, it does launch an extensive multi-platform campaign to provide electors with all the information they need on registration, the various voting options, and voter identification requirements so they can vote during an election.

The campaign includes a number of communication vehicles, such as advertisements on television, in newspapers, on the radio, on billboards in public places and on popular social media websites. Advertising is complemented with the mailing of VICs to all registered electors and a reminder brochure to all Canadian households, a comprehensive website and public enquiries services, as well as a network of community relations officers across the country who work with specific target groups of electors namely, youth, Aboriginal and ethnocultural communities, homeless electors and seniors to raise awareness about the electoral process.

Contested elections

The fact that the election was contested in a number of electoral districts as a result of alleged fraudulent communications warrants a few explanations about the legislative framework for contesting elections under Part 20 of the Act. Unlike a judicial recount which merely serves to verify that the results that were validated by the returning officer properly reflect the preferences expressed on the ballots a contested election puts into question the validity of the election. An election may be contested on the basis that the winning candidate was not eligible to be a candidate, or that there were irregularities, fraud or corrupt or illegal practices that affected the result of the election (section 524).

Where it has been established that the winning candidate was ineligible to be a candidate, the court hearing the application must declare the election null and void. However, where it has been established that the result of the election was affected by irregularities, fraud or corrupt or illegal practices, the court may annul the election, but is not bound to do so (section 531). In exercising its discretion under subsection 531(2) to annul or not annul an election, a court must consider whether the irregularities (or fraud, or corrupt or illegal practices) raised doubts about the winner or whether the integrity of the electoral process would be called into question.Footnote 24

B. Other relevant legislation

Privacy Act and Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act

The Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) set out the general principles governing the collection, use, disclosure and retention of personal information. These principles reflect internationally recognized standards.Footnote 25

However, neither the Privacy Act nor PIPEDA generally applies to political entities. The Privacy Act applies only to federal institutions that is, departments and agencies of the federal government. With respect to PIPEDA, its scope is limited to personal information collected, used or disclosed in the course of commercial activities.Footnote 26

The absence of a legal framework governing how personal information is managed and protected by political parties and candidates is a matter of significance, considering that the intelligence compiled and accessed by political parties on the composition of the electorate is likely a key factor in the attraction to the use of devices such as robocalls to deceive targeted segments of the electorate.

The recent report sponsored by the Privacy Commissioner on federal political parties and the protection of personal information points out that the information collected by political parties concerns many individuals, including party volunteers and employees, donors to the parties, as well as registered electors whose personal information they receive from Elections Canada and from a variety of other sources.Footnote 27

The authors hold the view that there are privacy risks associated with these databases. Parties not only handle large amounts of personal information, but also share this information with a small army of volunteers and local campaign workers. As indicated in the report:

Some risks include personal information getting into the wrong hands or being used for unauthorized purposes. Information can also get into the wrong hands through carelessness, lack of appropriate controls, inappropriate sharing, or nefarious intent. This may result in harm to individuals in terms of identity theft, harassment or the denial of services and rights.Footnote 28

As the authors point out, "[b]eyond the individual risks, there are also social risks as individuals lose trust in organizations when it is discovered that personal data is being used and disclosed for purposes they were not aware of, and to which they had not consented."Footnote 29

The report describes various incidents occurring over the last few years that put the personal information of certain electors at risk, including a reference to "potential vote suppression in key ridings through the practice of 'robocalling'" in the last federal election.Footnote 30

In that context, a survey of 1,011 electors conducted by Phoenix Strategic Perspectives Inc. for Elections Canada in November and December 2012 indicates that nearly two thirds (65%) of those surveyed were of the view that political parties and candidates should be regulated by privacy laws when interacting with electors during an election period.Footnote 31 Canadians are receptive to political parties and candidates contacting them during a federal election to encourage them to vote or to inform them of their policies. It is worth noting that many of them think it is appropriate for parties or candidates to provide them with information on where and when to vote.Footnote 32 However, the majority of electors do not believe that it is important for political parties to collect personal information on electors.Footnote 33

The panel of experts consulted by Elections Canada also recognized the need for parties to be able to engage individual Canadians, and while they agreed that the use of and control over the personal information held by political parties should be regulated, some suggested that the approach to doing this should not be as restrictive as that applicable to commercial activities.Footnote 34

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's Unsolicited Telecommunications RulesFootnote 35

Section 41 of the Telecommunications Act allows the CRTC to regulate unsolicited telecommunications "to the extent that the Commission considers it necessary to prevent undue inconvenience or nuisance, giving due regard to freedom of expression."Footnote 36 Relying on the authority of the Telecommunications Act, the CRTC has adopted the National Do Not Call List (DNCL) which allows consumers to register a telephone number to avoid receiving telemarketing communications at that number.

While the National DNCL Rules do not apply to a telecommunication made by or on behalf of political entities governed by the Canada Elections ActFootnote 37 that is, registered parties, candidates, nomination contestants, leadership contestants and electoral district associations the Telecommunications Act requires exempted individuals and organizations, such as political parties and candidates, to maintain their own internal DNCL.Footnote 38 Political parties and candidates must ensure that no telecommunication is made on their behalf to any person who has requested to be on their internal DNCL.Footnote 39

Political entities governed by the Canada Elections Act are also bound by the CRTC's Telemarketing Rules, as well as the Automatic Dialing-Announcing Device (ADAD) Rules.

Telemarketing Rules

The Telemarketing Rules made pursuant to section 41 of the Telecommunications Act apply whether or not the telemarketing telecommunication is exempt from the National DNCL Rules. Therefore, the rules apply to political entities.

"Telemarketing" is defined in the Rules as the use of telecommunications facilities to make unsolicited telecommunications for the purpose of solicitation; and "solicitation" means the selling or promoting of a product or service or the soliciting of money or money's worth. Therefore, the Telemarketing Rules apply to political entities when soliciting donations, but not when they are asking for the electors' support at the polls. Nor would the rules apply to get-out-the-vote calls.

The Telemarketing Rules provide for:

  • Prior registration of a telemarketer making calls on its own behalf and of a telemarketer's client on whose behalf the calls are made.
  • Maintenance of an internal DNCL by a telemarketer acting on its own behalf or by a client of a telemarketer.
  • Adding a consumer's name and number to the internal DNCL within 31 days of the consumer's do not call request.Footnote 40
  • At the beginning of a voice telemarketing telecommunication, providing the name or fictitious name of the individual making the call, the name of the telemarketer and the name of the client.
  • Upon request during a voice telemarketing telecommunication, providing a voice telecommunications number that allows access to an employee or other representative of the telemarketer and of the client. The name and address of an employee or other representative must also be given upon request.
  • Restricting telemarketing telecommunications to certain hours of the day (9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends).Footnote 41
  • The telemarketer displaying the originating phone number or an alternate number where the telemarketer can be reached.
Automatic Dialing-Announcing Device Rules

It is important to note that the ADAD Rules, also made pursuant to section 41 of the Telecommunications Act, apply whether or not the telemarketing telecommunication is exempt from the National DNCL Rules. Therefore, they apply to political entities.

An ADAD is defined in the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules as "any automatic equipment incorporating the capability of storing or producing telecommunications numbers used alone or in conjunction with other equipment to convey a pre-recorded or synthesized voice message to a telecommunications number". It produces what are sometimes referred to as robocalls.

A person using an ADAD to make unsolicited communications where there is no solicitation must nevertheless comply with a number of conditions. The most relevant conditions for the purposes of this report are the following:

  • There are restrictions on the hours during which such telecommunications can be made (9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends).Footnote 42
  • The call must begin with a clear message identifying the person on whose behalf the telecommunication is made. This message must include a mailing address and a local or toll-free telecommunications number at which a representative of that person can be reached. If the actual message relayed is longer than 60 seconds, the identification message must be repeated at the end of the telecommunication.
  • The telecommunication must display the originating telecommunications number or an alternate telecommunications number where the telecommunication originator can be reached.
Enforcement of the Unsolicited Telecommunications Provisions by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

The regime provides for administrative monetary penalties as the main enforcement tool (see sections 72.01 to 72.15 of the Telecommunications Act). Because such penalties are imposed directly by the CRTC and not under a criminal court process, and therefore are not accompanied by the full panoply of rights and protections granted to suspects and those accused of offences prosecuted in criminal court, they can be imposed with speed and efficiency by the CRTC.

The CRTC's investigative powers regarding a violation of the provisions on unsolicited telecommunications are found at sections 72.05 and 72.06 of the statute. A person designated by the Commission to issue notices of violation may enter and inspect, at any reasonable time, any place in which he or she believes on reasonable grounds there is any document or information relevant to the enforcement of the rules. That individual may also use or cause to be made use of any data processing system at that place to examine any data contained in or available to the system, and the records contained in the system may be copied or reproduced.

A person authorized to issue notices of violation may also require that anyone whom he or she believes is in possession of information necessary for the administration of the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules submit information to him or her in the manner that he or she specifies.

It is worth noting that in recent amendments to its Election Act,Footnote 43 the Alberta legislature has imposed its own requirements on advertisements transmitted to a telephone, whether in the form of a live call or an automated pre-recorded call. It requires that the telephone number of the sponsor be capable of being displayed on the call display of persons called; that the name of the sponsor and the sponsor's party affiliation be stated at the beginning of the advertisement; that the advertisement state whether the sponsor has authorized the advertisement; and that the telephone number of the sponsor or the sponsor's campaign office at which the sponsor may be contacted be stated at the end of the advertisement. As a result of other amendments to the Election Act, Alberta's Chief Electoral Officer may impose an administrative penalty or serve a letter of reprimand on any person that has contravened a provision of the Act, including those above.Footnote 44

Criminal Code restrictions on fraudulent communications

Current provisions of the Criminal Code appear to be of limited assistance in dealing with deceptive communications with electors.

Harassing or misleading phone calls (subsections 372(1), (3))

It is an offence to convey, by telephone, information known to be false "with intent to injure or alarm any person" (subsection 372(1)). It is unclear whether a court would consider that affecting an opponent's chances of success in the election (as opposed to injuring the opponent himself or herself) constitutes an injury under this section.

It is also an offence to "mak[e] or caus[e] to be made repeated telephone calls" with "intent to harass" the person receiving the calls (subsection 372(3)).

Personation (section 403)

It is an offence to fraudulently personate another person, living or dead, with intent to achieve any of four specified purposes, including "to cause disadvantage to ... another person". The jurisprudence confirms that the personation must be of a real person. The offence would not be applicable to a call or caller represented as "Elections Canada", nor to a fictitious character such as Pierre Poutine.

Mischief (section 430, subsection 430(1.1))

Section 430 lists activities in relation to "property" (as defined) that constitute the offence of "mischief". Subsection 430(1.1) creates mischief offences for destroying, altering or interfering with the use of "data" as defined in section 342.1 (that is, "representations of information ... suitable for use in a computer system"). These provisions do not appear to apply to the calls
per se.


Footnote 7 Four of these lists are given to candidates and parties during the election period (the preliminary lists, the updated preliminary lists, the revised lists and the official lists). The final lists, produced after the election, are given to registered parties that endorsed candidates in the electoral districts and to members of Parliament for their respective districts. Members of Parliament also receive an annual copy of the lists of electors for their respective districts, as do parties that request one, provided they endorsed a candidate in that district in the last election.

Footnote 8 See Colin J. Bennett and Robin M. Bayley, Canadian Federal Political Parties and Personal Privacy Protection:
A Comparative Analysis
(Ottawa: Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, 2012), pp. 16, 34ff. www.priv.gc.ca/information/pub/pp_201203_e.asp.

Footnote 9 Id., p. 16.

Footnote 10 The expression "deceptive practices" is used in this report rather than the (in some respects) narrower concept of "voter suppression" commonly found in the literature. Voter suppression is defined in the US Department of Justice manual for the prosecution of election offences as follows: "Voter suppression schemes are designed to ensure the election of a favored candidate by blocking or impeding voters believed to oppose that candidate from getting to the polls to cast their ballots. Examples include providing false information to the public or a particular segment of the public regarding the qualifications to vote, the consequences of voting in connection with citizenship status, the dates or qualifications for absentee voting, the date of an election, the hours for voting, or the correct voting precinct.... Currently there is no federal criminal statute that expressly prohibits this sort of voter suppression activity." See Craig C. Donsanto, Federal Prosecution of Election Offenses, 7th ed. (Dept. of Justice, 2007), p. 61. Elections Canada prefers the use of the term "deceptive practices", which is broader and also includes impersonation of political opponents that is not aimed at suppressing the vote but which distorts the electoral process.

Footnote 11 See Common Cause, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Century Foundation, Deceptive Practices 2.0: Legal and Policy Responses (Washington: Common Cause, 2008).

Footnote 12 The Canada Elections Act does not address the collection or disclosure of personal information by political entities. The need to prove that the person who used the information knew that it came from the lists of electors (as opposed to another source) reduces the likelihood of a successful enforcement action. This may limit mechanisms to reinforce accountability with regard to the protection and use of the personal information contained on the lists.

Footnote 13 Canada Elections Act, s. 319.

Footnote 14 Id., s. 320.

Footnote 15 Id., para. 281(g); offence at para. 491(3)(d).

Footnote 16 Id., para. 482(b).

Footnote 17 Id., s. 91; offence at para. 486(3)(c).

Footnote 18 On polling day, May 2, 2011, there were 64,477 polling stations located in 15,260 polling sites. In addition, 1,669 mobile polls were set up in 4,865 establishments.

Footnote 19 Canada Elections Act, s. 95.

Footnote 20 Id., s. 102. The Report on the Evaluations of the 41st General Election of May 2, 2011, published by Elections Canada, indicates that in total, 326 ordinary polling stations (0.5%) and 38 advance polling stations (0.8%) were reassigned to another site. Of the 326 ordinary polling stations reassigned to a new polling site after the VICs were mailed, there was enough time to mail a revised VIC to electors for 274 of them. The remaining 52 polling stations, representing approximately 19,000 electors, were reassigned less than six days before election day. This situation occurred in 26 electoral districts.

Footnote 21 Canada Elections Act, ss. 135140, 283291.

Footnote 22 In April 2011, following a request received from a party, Elections Canada sent a dataset of all polling sites to be used for the 41st general election to all political parties. The message covering the dataset indicated that polling locations may change. As a result, it asked parties to ensure that users of the dataset respect the following restrictions: that the dataset be used for internal purposes only; that it not be used to inform voters of their voting location, via mail-outs or other forms of communications; and that it not be shared with any other organization.

Footnote 23 For example, electors have the option of providing their telephone number when they apply for special ballots in order for Elections Canada to contact them if their faxed documents are illegible.

Footnote 24 Opitz v. Wrzesnewskyj, [2012] S.C.C. 55, para. 23.

Footnote 25 These principles are set out in Schedule 1 of PIPEDA and have been reproduced in the annex to this report.

Footnote 26 The Bennett and Bayley report, mentioned supra at footnote 8, indicates that British Columbia's Personal Information Protection Act has a broad definition of "organization" and does not limit its application to commercial activities. It has been held to cover British Columbia's political parties and may also cover the activities of federal political parties in that province. See www.priv.gc.ca/information/pub/pp_201203_e.pdf, p. 26.

Footnote 27 Id., p. 19.

Footnote 28 Id., p. 22.

Footnote 29 Id., p. 24.

Footnote 30 Id.

Footnote 31 Phoenix Strategic Perspectives, Survey of Electors on Communications with Electors, March 2013, p. 10.

Footnote 32 Id., p. 5.

Footnote 33 Id., p. 7.

Footnote 34 IRPP, Issues Arising from Improper Communications with Electors Roundtable Report, March 2013, p. 7.

Footnote 35 This section is Elections Canada's attempt to summarize the CRTC rules. The rules themselves can be found on the CRTC's website at http://crtc.gc.ca/eng/trules-reglest.htm. Also of interest is a fact sheet entitled "Key facts on the telemarketing rules for political candidates, parties and organizations," found at http://crtc.gc.ca/eng/info_sht/t1041.htm. For further information regarding the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules, please contact the CRTC.

Footnote 36 While the rules adopted by the CRTC are in many ways quite comprehensive, they do not apply to the Internet or e-mail communications. In December 2010, Parliament adopted anti-spam legislation (see S.C. 2010, c. 23). As a result, once the legislation comes into force, the mandate of the CRTC will be expanded to include commercial electronic messages.

Footnote 37 See paragraphs 41.7(1)(c) to (e) of the Telecommunications Act.

Footnote 38 Id., s. 41.7(4).

Footnote 39 However, one may call a person who has asked to be put on the internal do not call list of an organization if the telecommunication is for the sole purpose of collecting information for a survey of members of the public.

Footnote 40 This issue is dealt with in the CRTC fact sheet mentioned supra at footnote 35. It indicates that "[a] constituent's request to have their name and phone number added to the internal do not call list of a party or candidate, or those making calls on their behalf, must be honoured at the time of the call. Callers must update their internal do not call list within 31 days."

Footnote 41 These hours are subject to provincial legislation governing this type of activity. The Phoenix survey of electors referred to supra at footnote 31 indicates that 40% of electors prefer to be contacted between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. (p. 3).

Footnote 42 These hours are subject to provincial legislation governing this type of activity.

Footnote 43 Election Accountability Amendment Act, 2012, S.A. 2012, c. 5, assented to December 10, 2012. Section 46 of that Act amends section 134 of the Alberta Election Act.

Footnote 44 Id., section 54 adding new section 153.1 to the Alberta Election Act. Under this new authority, Alberta's Chief Electoral Officer must be of the opinion that a person has contravened a provision of the Act before serving on the person a notice of administrative penalty or a letter of reprimand. The notice of penalty must set out, among other things, the particulars of the contravention, the amount of the penalty and the date by which it must be paid, and a statement of the right to appeal the imposition or the amount of the penalty to the Court of Queen's Bench. The following factors must be considered by Alberta's Chief Electoral Officer in determining the amount of the penalty to be paid or whether to issue a letter of reprimand: the severity of the contravention, the degree of wilfulness or negligence, whether there are mitigating factors, whether steps have been taken to prevent reoccurrence of the contravention, whether the person has a history of non-compliance, whether the person reported the contravention on discovering it had occurred, and any other relevant factor. The amount of the penalty may not exceed the maximum fine that could be imposed for the corresponding offence. If the penalty is not paid within the time frame set out in the notice, Alberta's Chief Electoral Officer may file a copy of the notice with the Court of Queen's Bench and on being filed, the notice has the same force and effect as a judgment of that court and may be enforced as if it were a judgment of the court.