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2017–18 Departmental Plan

Planned Results: What We Want to Achieve This Year and Beyond

Note to the Reader

Most of Elections Canada's programs can only deliver results to Canadians 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. Consequently, past results for individual by-elections are not presented in the Planned Results tables in this section.

Leading up to the next general election, Elections Canada is pursuing under each of its programs a number of initiatives to support the modernization of the electoral process and the renewal of the infrastructure and assets that enable the delivery of electoral events. Future reports will provide additional information on how the agency intends to leverage innovation and experimentation to deliver results to Canadians in this regard. As usual, the CEO will also account to Parliament and Canadians on the results of the agency's efforts in the post-election reports.Footnote i

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.

Planning Highlights

The following planned initiatives within the Electoral Operations program will contribute to the agency's organizational priorities in 2017–18.

Conduct high-quality electoral events

The agency will maintain operational readiness to deliver by-elections as they are called.

Modernize voter registration and electoral data services

In order to increase the coverage and currency of the National Register of Electors, Elections Canada will conduct research and consult with partners on options for modernized data collection processes, data sharing agreements and online voter registration services. It will investigate options for adopting new geo-location methodologies and optimizing the assignment of voters to polling locations so that average address-to-poll distance is reduced.

Improve voting processes

Elections Canada will continue to develop and refine its proposed model for more accessible, convenient and efficient voting processes. The agency must begin this work now in order to implement the proposed changes for the 43rd general election. The new model—some components of which are contingent upon Parliament's making the legislative amendments recommended by the CEO—would introduce streamlined workflows and electronic record-keeping procedures at polling places to reduce wait times, increase the quality and consistency of services, and improve quality controls. It would also make the process of voting by special ballot more convenient and efficient for electors who are unable or find it difficult to vote at their designated polling station. Those who apply online would have the option of downloading an electronic copy of the special ballot voting kit, rather than having to wait to receive the kit by mail, increasing the likelihood that their completed ballot would be returned on time.

Meanwhile, the agency will research and analyze the possible impacts of legislative changes on voting processes and, as necessary, make preparations for the implementation of any changes Parliament may enact prior to the 2019 general election.

Enhance front-line service delivery

Elections Canada will begin reviewing its communication systems, procedures, tools and training programs for field staff, with a view to maximizing efficiency and increasing professionalism and satisfaction among staff.

Increase the inclusiveness of the electoral process

Elections Canada will continue to focus on increasing the inclusiveness of the electoral process, encompassing both accessibility and convenience, as a key goal in its planning activities. Its plans related to voter registration, for instance, are aimed in part at increasing voter registration rates among under-represented groups, such as youth and Aboriginal electors.

Modernize services to candidates and political entities

Elections Canada will launch a multi-year initiative to review and modernize the services provided to candidates and political entities, and to better align with their evolving service expectations. This includes developing a portal that will enable self-service access to a variety of online services.

Planned Results
Expected
Results
Performance
Indicators*
Date to
Achieve
Actual Results
2015–16
(42nd general election)
2014–15
(6 by-elections)
2013–14
(5 by-elections)
The electoral process is accessible and responsive to the needs of electors. Percentage of voters who are satisfied with their voting experience 2019 96% No general elections were held in 2014–15. Results from the 6 by-electionsFootnote ii held that year are not comparable. No general elections were held in 2013–14. Results from the 5 by-electionsFootnote iii held that year are not comparable.
Percentage of non-voters reporting administrative reasons as their main reason for not voting 2019 11%
Elections are delivered whenever they are called. Number of days required for all electoral offices to be fully functional 2019 15
Percentage of eligible electors included on the list (coverage**) Ongoing 94.5%
Percentage of electors included on the list and at the correct address (currency***) Ongoing 88.3%
Elections accurately reflect the choices Canadians make. Variance between the preliminary and official results (validated or subsequent to judicial recounts) 2019 0.557%
Number of electoral districts where official election results have been overturned because of administrative errors 2019 0
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 2019 3,085
The redistribution of electoral boundaries is effectively supported. Percentage of commissioners who are satisfied with the services and support provided by Elections Canada 2023 Not applicable in 2015–16

*Targets for these performance indicators are under development.

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

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

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2017–18
Main Estimates
2017–18
Planned Spending
2018–19
Planned Spending
2019–20
Planned Spending
53,556,884 53,556,884 39,431,253 36,663,769


Human Resources (full-time equivalents [FTE])
2017–18
Planned Full-Time Equivalents
2018–19
Planned Full-Time Equivalents
2019–20
Planned Full-Time Equivalents
257 229 220

The downward trend in planned spending and FTEs over three fiscal years is mostly the result of the investment horizon for projects that fall under electoral services modernization and asset renewal.

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.

Planning Highlights

The following planned initiatives within the Regulation of Electoral Activities program will contribute to the agency's organizational priorities in 2017–18 and will help maintain public trust in Canada's electoral system during a time of heightened scrutiny.

Process and audit political financing returns

Elections Canada will continue to process, audit, and report on political parties' and candidates' political financing returns in accordance with its service standards. Over the course of the next fiscal year, the agency will audit the financial returns of approximately 1,800 candidates who participated in the 42nd general election. The auditing of all returns related to that election is expected to be completed by mid-year 2018. The agency will also conduct audits of the election returns of candidates participating in by-elections.

Electoral district associations' 2016 annual returns are due toward the end of May 2017. The agency expects to audit 90% of the anticipated 1,100 returns by March 31, 2018.

Since the Conservative Party of Canada leadership contest ends on May 27, 2017, leadership campaign returns are due by November 27, 2017. Elections Canada will begin auditing these returns in 2017–18. The proportion of audits that will be complete by the end of the fiscal year depends on the number of candidates and the total amount they will have spent and received in contributions.

Issue opinions, guidelines and interpretation notes

Elections Canada will, as required, issue written opinions, guidelines and interpretation notes on the application of the Canada Elections Act to political entities.

Formalize the Electoral Integrity Program

To reinforce its ability to detect, monitor and quickly and effectively respond to risks that may affect the integrity of electoral administration and Canadians' right to vote, Elections Canada will continue to build internal capacity to support the development of quality and risk management frameworks and further develop the capability to identify patterns, trends and integrity-related incidents.

Also, following every by-election to be held in the 2017–18 fiscal year, as prescribed by the Canada Elections Act, Elections Canada will retain the services of an independent auditor to report on whether poll workers have properly performed their duties.

Develop a political financing training program for electoral district associations

Elections Canada will develop a practical online training program for electoral district associations. The program, which will be integrated with and supported by the agency's existing guidance materials, will help strengthen political entities' understanding of their obligations under the Canada Elections Act.

Planned Results
Expected
Results
Performance
Indicators*
Date to
Achieve
Actual Results
2015–16
(42nd general election)
2014–15
(6 by-elections)
2013–14
(5 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 2019 92%** No general elections were held in 2014–15. Results from the 6 by-electionsFootnote iv held that year are not comparable. No general elections were held in 2013–14. Results from the 5 by-electionsFootnote v held that year are not comparable.
Percentage of candidates who express satisfaction with the way elections are administered 2019 69%
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 2019 -
Political entities understand and comply with their obligations under the Canada Elections Act. Percentage of candidates' election returns that are submitted within four months of election day 2019 -
Percentage of candidates who are satisfied with the tools and information provided by Elections Canada 2019 99%

*Targets for these performance indicators are under development.

**Indicator previously measured the proportion of Canadian electors who believe that Elections Canada administers elections in a non-partisan manner.

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2017–18
Main Estimates
2017–18
Planned Spending
2018–19
Planned Spending
2019–20
Planned Spending
11,219,651 11,219,651 9,248,769 9,244,062


Human Resources (full-time equivalents [FTE])
2017–18
Planned Full-Time Equivalents
2018–19
Planned Full-Time Equivalents
2019–20
Planned Full-Time Equivalents
75 71 71

The downward trend in planned spending and FTEs over three fiscal years is the result of the completion of the activities related to the 2015 general election.

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 other stakeholders.

Planning Highlights

The following planned initiatives within the Electoral Engagement program will contribute to the agency's organizational priorities in 2017–18.

Provide support to Parliament

In order to provide high-quality technical advice to Parliament, Elections Canada will carry out research on issues related to electoral matters, following the research plan developed in 2016–17. Elections Canada officials will continue to inform and support Parliament by acting as impartial subject matter experts on all aspects of the electoral framework. They will monitor parliamentary discussions and provide advice, for instance through engagement with parliamentary committees such as the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.

Engage stakeholders

Elections Canada will work with a wide variety of stakeholders as required, including the Advisory Committee of Political Parties,Footnote vi the Elections Canada Advisory BoardFootnote vii and the Advisory Group for Disability Issues,Footnote viii to ensure that its modernization activities and its implementation of any enacted legislative changes are grounded in a thorough understanding of the needs of electors and political participants.

Communicate with electors

The agency will further define its new communication service offerings planned for the 43rd general election and begin to renew its Electoral Reminder Program accordingly.

Promote civic education and Canada's Democracy Week

Elections Canada will plan and deliver the seventh annual Canada's Democracy Week in the fall of 2017. This initiative informs, engages and connects Canadians with the democratic process through a week-long series of in-person and online activities, as well as resources and programming for teachers to use in their classrooms.

Following a comprehensive review of its civic education program and the development of a new civic education strategy in 2016–17, Elections Canada will begin piloting new civic education tools and activities in 2017–18. It is expected that the new civic education program will be implemented in fall 2018.

Participate in international assistance and cooperation

Elections Canada will continue to participate in international networks such as the Réseau des compétences électorales francophonesFootnote ix and the Commonwealth Electoral NetworkFootnote x in order to contribute to and benefit from the evolving international body of knowledge on best practices in electoral administration.

Planned Results
Expected
Results
Performance
Indicators*
Date to
Achieve
Actual Results
2015–16
(42nd general election)
2014–15
(6 by-elections)
2013–14
(5 by-elections)
Canadians have the information they need to engage in the electoral process.** Canadian electors' recall rate of the Elections Canada advertising campaign 2019 45% No general elections were held in 2014–15. Results from the 6 by-electionsFootnote xi held that year are not comparable. No general elections were held in 2013–14. Results from the 5 by-electionsFootnote xii held that year are not comparable.
Percentage of Canadian electors using voting options other than polling day voting 2019 24.3%
Percentage of Canadian electors who report that they knew when, where and ways to register and vote 2019 86% (when)
81% (where)
73% (ways)
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 2019 13,224
Number of stakeholders involved in Elections Canada's education activities 2019 150+
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 Ongoing 0
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 2017 Not applicable in 2015–16

*Targets for these performance indicators are under development.

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

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2017–18
Main Estimates
2017–18
Planned Spending
2018–19
Planned Spending
2019–20
Planned Spending
9,279,980 9,279,980 8,941,792 8,653,721


Human Resources (full-time equivalents [FTE])
2017–18
Planned Full-Time Equivalents
2018–19
Planned Full-Time Equivalents
2019–20
Planned Full-Time Equivalents
67 67 67

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.

Planning Highlights

The following planned initiatives within Internal Services will contribute to the agency's organizational priorities in 2017–18.

Asset renewal

Elections Canada will begin implementation of its multi-year investment plan to maintain, replace or upgrade assets critical for the delivery of more accessible, convenient and efficient electoral services to Canadians.

This work entails the renewal of Elections Canada's telecommunications and enterprise network infrastructure to increase capacity, mobility and security.

To better support returning officers in delivering services to electors, Elections Canada is adopting a new business model for the recruitment, training and remuneration of election workers. The agency will also review the systems and applications that election administrators used during the last general election to manage a workforce of some 285,000 poll workers.

The agency will carry out activities with a view to adopting a common identity and access management solution that will allow for a number of services to be more conveniently accessed by internal and external stakeholders, including poll workers, political entities, the media, electors, and staff working at Elections Canada headquarters and in the field.

Finally, the agency will improve its delivery of voter information services by harmonizing business processes, adopting a new case management system and reducing the number of applications and knowledge bases used at its contact centres.

Internal audit planning and response activities

Given that the terms of the current members of Elections Canada's Departmental Audit Committee are coming to an end, the agency is recruiting new committee members and expects to complete recruitment in the 2017–18 fiscal year. It will seize the opportunity to engage the new membership in the development of a new risk-based audit planning approach. It will also put in place an action plan in response to an audit of its professional development activities that is currently under way.

Information management and information technology security

As part of its asset renewal commitments, Elections Canada is undertaking key initiatives to improve its cyber security, focusing on higher-risk online system areas. This includes the modernization of its network infrastructure, data centres, and security and credential management, and improvements to its organizational information management practices.

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2017–18
Main Estimates
2017–18
Planned Spending
2018–19
Planned Spending
2019–20
Planned Spending
38,151,475 38,151,475 35,448,730 35,731,739


Human Resources (full-time equivalents [FTE])
2017–18 Planned Full-Time Equivalents 2018–19 Planned Full-Time Equivalents 2019–20 Planned Full-Time Equivalents
152 148 152