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2017–18 Departmental Plan

Chief Electoral Officer's Message

With the Chief Electoral Officer's recommendations for legislative change tabled in Parliament and the audit of political entities' financial returns well under way, Elections Canada has largely brought closure to the 42nd general election in 2016 and has turned its attention fully towards the 43rd general election. Its focus for the coming fiscal year is centred on three strategic priorities: supporting Parliament's legislative agenda, modernizing the electoral process and renewing its critical assets and infrastructure.

On January 31, 2017, the government announced that it would no longer pursue a change of voting system. However, leading up to the next general election, the agency anticipates the enactment of legislative changes that may have a significant impact on the conduct and regulation of electoral events.

On November 24, 2016, the government introduced Bill C-33, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. It contains a number of measures, including the expansion of public education and information activities conducted by the Chief Electoral Officer and the establishment of pre-registration for Canadian citizens 14 to 17 years of age.

Meanwhile, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs continues to review the recommendations made by the Chief Electoral Officer following the last general election and is expected to complete its review in 2017.

Elections Canada will continue to provide parliamentarians with timely technical advice as they consider various legislative options. The agency stands ready to implement changes enacted by Parliament.

During the new fiscal year, the agency will move forward with its agenda to modernize the electoral process to make it more inclusive and improve the voter experience. Elections Canada will continue to consult with parliamentarians and other stakeholders as it reviews workflows at the polls, takes advantage of some very basic technologies to improve services for voters and working conditions for poll workers, and considers expanding the use of special ballots.

Elections Canada will also begin the renewal of a number of key assets that provide the foundation for successful electoral events, such as its telephone and network systems, its data centres, and the system used to recruit, train and pay some 285,000 poll workers during each election. These investments are required since the agency has had little opportunity to direct efforts towards the maintenance and renewal of this infrastructure over the past decade, given the successive minority governments and important electoral reform initiatives.

While the year ahead brings challenges, it also presents an opportunity to make real progress towards providing Canadians with a more inclusive, convenient and efficient voting experience in the 43rd general election and beyond.

Stéphane Perrault
Acting Chief Electoral Officer of Canada

Note to the Reader

Elections Canada's 2017–18 Departmental Plan provides parliamentarians and Canadians with information on what the agency does and the results it is trying to achieve during the upcoming year. To improve reporting to Canadians, the Treasury Board Secretariat has introduced this new, simplified report to replace the Report on Plans and Priorities.

The title of the report has been changed to reflect its purpose: to communicate annual performance goals and the financial and human resources forecast to deliver those results. The report has also been restructured to tell a clearer, more straightforward and balanced story of the results we are trying to achieve, while continuing to provide transparency on how taxpayers' dollars will be spent. We describe our programs and services for Canadians, our priorities for 2017–18, and how our work will fulfill our departmental mandate commitments.