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Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada on the 41st general election of May 2, 2011

Conclusion

Given the frequency of elections in recent years, Elections Canada has had to maintain an ongoing state of readiness to conduct a general election whenever it might be called. With the election of a majority government and the end of successive minority governments, we now have the opportunity to focus on longer-term priorities and improvements for the 42nd general election in October 2015. Our approach will benefit from our experience with four general elections over the last seven years.

Elections Canada will also benefit from the results of the evaluations currently being conducted on a range of topics such as accessibility based on feedback from electors, candidates and election workers.

As the statutory report following a general election must be submitted within 90 days, it is not possible to integrate the findings of our evaluations into the present report. Since the evaluations take more time to conduct, they will be completed over the summer and fall, and a report that includes the resulting analysis will be presented to parliamentarians in 2012. The results will be of interest to parliamentarians and other key stakeholders.

Looking toward the next election, which is scheduled to take place on October 19, 2015, under the Canada Elections Act, it is important to note that six provincial and territorial elections are also scheduled to be held in the fall of 2015. Although they do not all occur on the same day, holding so many elections in close proximity poses challenges that need to be closely examined early on, so that proper measures can be taken in time to ensure a smooth process.

To a large extent, however, the improvements to the electoral process will depend on legislative changes to the Canada Elections Act. Elections Canada has reached a point where the limited flexibility of the current legislation no longer allows us to meet the evolving needs of electors and candidates. Our previous report on recommended changes to the Act indicated a number of areas that require modernization in order to make the Act more efficient and better serve Canadians, and we look forward to working with parliamentarians as we prepare for the 42nd general election.