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2015–16 – Report on Plans and Priorities

Chief Electoral Officer's Message

By March 1, 2015, Elections Canada had achieved essential readiness for the 2015 general election, scheduled for October 19. The agency is now prepared to conduct the next general election in 338 electoral districts. It has largely implemented the recent amendments to the Canada Elections Act and is on pace to complete key administrative changes aimed at improving services to electors by October 19.

For 20152016, Elections Canada will focus on one overarching priority: delivering the 2015 general election. This entails maintaining election readiness, refining preparations, progressively deploying resources across the country, conducting the election and completing wrap-up activities.

For the 2015 general election, electors can expect more convenient services and improved information. They can now verify and update their voter registration online. Information and frequent reminders in a variety of new formats will advise electors on when, where and ways to register and vote. We will also offer more opportunities to vote with an additional day of advance polls and special ballot voting at select Elections Canada satellite offices.

As part of our commitment to ensure accessibility for all Canadian voters, Elections Canada has worked with the disability community to identify 35 accessibility standards that returning officers will use to select voting locations. Electors will now be able to verify the accessibility of their polling site on their voter information card, on our website or by calling our local offices in advance, enabling them to make alternative arrangements if needed.

Elections Canada has finalized new processes and administrative measures to improve the performance of poll workers, including enhanced recruitment practices, modernized training and, when possible under the Act, simplified procedures and clearer instructions for election workers. To support returning officers in recruiting a competent work force, the agency is proceeding with a Treasury Board submission to increase the fees paid to poll workers and other local office staff.

In addition to other measures the agency is taking, these initiatives will contribute to compliance with procedures at the polls and to the consistent application of voter identification requirements. Elections Canada will commission an independent audit of poll worker performance and report on the results.

Elections Canada will continue to consult the Advisory Committee of Political Parties regarding written opinions, guidelines and interpretation notes on the application of the Act to political entities. The agency is also completing extensive updates to the systems that support political financing in light of new provisions under the Act and will update handbooks for political entities. The voters lists available to candidates and parties will also be improved through efforts to increase currency before election day.

In making these enhancements, Elections Canada will improve the election experience for electors and political entities alike.

Marc Mayrand
Chief Electoral Officer of Canada