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Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Following the June 30, 2014, By-elections Held in Fort McMurray—Athabasca, Macleod, Scarborough—Agincourt and Trinity—Spadina and the November 17, 2014, By-elections Held in Whitby—Oshawa and Yellowhead

1. Introduction

According to subsection 534(2) of the Canada Elections Act (the Act), if one or more by-elections are held in a year, the Chief Electoral Officer must, within 90 days after the end of the year, produce a report that sets out "any matter or event that has arisen or occurred in connection with the administration of the Chief Electoral Officer's office since the last report and that he or she considers should be brought to the attention of the House of Commons."

This report covers the four by-elections held on June 30, 2014, in the electoral districts of Fort McMurray–Athabasca (Alberta), Macleod (Alberta), Scarborough–Agincourt (Ontario) and Trinity–Spadina (Ontario), and the two by-elections held on November 17, 2014, in the electoral districts of Whitby—Oshawa (Ontario) and Yellowhead (Alberta).

On February 4, 2014, the government introduced Bill C-23, which proposed extensive changes to the Act. The legislation received royal assent on June 19, 2014 (Fair Elections Act, S.C. 2014, c. 9). Some of the changes were effective immediately, but the vast majority of the operational changes did not come into force until December 19, 2014.

These by-elections allowed Elections Canada to pilot new training processes and materials for election administrators in preparation for the 2015 general election.

Further information on the by-elections can be found in the reports on the surveys of electors, which were commissioned following each by-election. The reports will be published on Elections Canada's website once available.

Since the last report in March 2014, Elections Canada has focused on finalizing improvements and preparing for the 2015 general election, having achieved essential election readiness by March 1, 2015. The agency also continued to support Parliament and engage political parties and other stakeholders.

The Chief Electoral Officer supported the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs during their review of changes to the Act. The agency also consulted with the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, the Elections Canada Advisory Board, the Advisory Committee of Political Parties and other stakeholders on election readiness and implementation of changes to the Act. The Chief Electoral Officer also appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs on Bill C-37, An Act to change the names of certain electoral districts and to amend the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act.