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2015–16 – Report on Plans and Priorities

Section II: Analysis of Programs by Strategic Outcome

Strategic Outcome: An Accessible Electoral Framework that Canadians Trust and Use

Achieving the strategic outcome is facilitated by a Program Alignment Architecture (PAA) consisting of three programs that are directly beneficial to Canadians. Footnote 7

Program Expected Results
Electoral Operations The electoral process is accessible and responsive to the needs of electors
Regulation of Electoral Activities Canadians have confidence in the integrity of how the electoral process is managed
Electoral Engagement Canadians have the information they need to engage in the electoral process

A fourth program, Internal Services, contributes to the agency's organizational priorities by enabling the other three programs to achieve their expected results. The planning highlights in this section take into account the risks and mitigation strategies identified in Section I.

Program 1.1: Electoral Operations

Description

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.

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2015–16
Main Estimates
2015–16
Planned Spending*
2016–17
Planned Spending
2017–18
Planned Spending
277,113,580 277,113,580 39,633,822 38,262,594

*Planned spending is higher in 2015–16 as a result of the conduct of the 42nd general election, which is to be held on October 19, 2015.


Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents)
2015–16* 2016–17 2017–18
297 195 195

*The number of full-time equivalents is higher in 2015–16 as a result of the conduct of the 42nd general election, which is to be held on October 19, 2015.


Performance Measurement
Expected Results Performance Indicators
The electoral process is accessible and responsive to the needs of electors Percentage of voters who are satisfied with their voting experience

Percentage of non–voters reporting administrative reasons as their main reason for not voting
Elections are delivered whenever they are called Number of days required for all electoral offices to be fully functional

Percentage of eligible electors included on the list (coverage)

Percentage of electors included on the list and at the correct address (currency/accuracy)
Elections accurately reflect the choices Canadians make Variance between the preliminary and official results (validated or subsequent to judicial recounts)

Number of electoral districts where official election results have been overturned because of administrative errors
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
The redistribution of electoral boundaries is effectively supported Percentage of commissioners who are satisfied with the services and support provided by Elections Canada

Planning Highlights

The following planned initiatives within the Regulation of Electoral Activities program will contribute to the agency's organizational priorities in 2015–16.

Maintain Readiness and Implement Administrative Improvements

In 2015–16, the Electoral Operations program will continue to maintain and refine its level of readiness to deliver the 42nd general election.

Improve Quality Controls

Elections Canada is investing significant efforts into reducing procedural and record-keeping errors at the polls. Enhanced recruitment practices, modernized training and, where possible, simplified procedures and clearer instructions for election workers will contribute to building quality assurance and improve poll worker performance.

Modernize Voter Registration

Elections Canada will continue to improve the accuracy of the National Register of Electors by promoting online voter registration. A new authentication policy will facilitate the online registration process.

The agency has also invested in developing a secure national voters database that can be updated in real time by returning officers and electors themselves during an election, using the online registration service. The new database is expected to be operational by early March 2015.

Also, Elections Canada will write directly to some 800,000 potential electors to confirm their information and request their consent to be added to the National Register of Electors.

These initiatives aim at improving the accuracy of the voters lists used on election day. They will also contribute to reducing the number of electors registering in person at the polls, which was a known source of procedural and record-keeping errors in the last general election.

Enhance Accessibility

Elections Canada will continue to improve accessibility by reviewing its inventory of approximately 20,000 polling sites against 35 criteria, including level access. The agency will communicate to electors the extent to which polling sites will be accessible and barrier-free. Electors will be able to verify the accessibility of their polling site in advance and make alternative arrangements for voting if needed. The agency will also assign accessibility officers to local offices, extend training of election workers, and provide a Braille list of candidates and magnifiers at polling stations.

Implement the Voter Identification Policy

For the 2015 general election, Elections Canada will implement a new voter ID policy that sets the criteria for determining authorized ID, lists the pieces authorized for registering and voting, and provides guidance to ensure the consistent application of the ID requirements. The new policy is designed to improve accessibility for electors, particularly those who may have difficulty providing documentary proof of residence. It is also expected to improve compliance at the polls by reducing the need for attestations since more electors should have the required ID.

Expand Opportunities for Voting

For the 2015 general election, Elections Canada will offer more opportunities to vote through an additional advance voting day and more advance voting locations. To make voting more convenient for students and Aboriginal electors who may find it difficult to vote, voting by special ballot will be expanded to some 110 locations such as YMCAs, Aboriginal Friendship Centres and school campuses.

Improve Contact Centre Services

For the 2015 general election, Elections Canada will implement a new case management system to improve how electors interact with the agency. Changes include a new e-mail enquiry service and a new centralized online complaint form supported by clear protocols and escalation procedures for responding in a timely manner. To ensure that Elections Canada can respond effectively to all telephone enquiries and e-mails received during the election, it will renew partnerships for contact centre services with other government departments and outsource additional contact centre agents to the private sector.

Deliver the 2015 General Election

The delivery of the 2015 general election will involve a series of activities carried out at headquarters in the National Capital Region, in 338 local offices, 240 additional points of service and approximately 20,000 polling sites across Canada.

Once the writs are issued, resources will be deployed to local offices without delay. Returning officers will set up local and satellite offices, and secure polling sites. Elections Canada headquarters will equip offices with information and communications technology. It will distribute supplies such as hardware, software, electoral data, forms and instruction manuals. During the election period, returning officers, under the supervision and with the support of headquarters staff, will proceed with hiring, training and assessing election workers. They will also receive and validate candidates’ nomination papers. Returning officers are also responsible for overseeing outreach activities and targeted revision in areas where registration rates are lower.

In addition to election day voting, advance polls will be open for four days as opposed to three in the past. Returning officers will deploy approximately 200,000 election officers to some 20,000 polling sites across Canada to administer the voting process, tally the votes and report results to headquarters. Following the election, returning officers will return election materials to headquarters and close local offices, satellite offices and polling sites. Elections Canada will then validate the preliminary results and prepare the official voting results for publication. Within 90 days of the return of the writs, the Chief Electoral Officer will submit a report to the Speaker of the House of Commons on the conduct of the election.

Program 1.2: Regulation of Electoral Activities

Description

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 monitoring compliance, disclosure and reporting of financial activities.

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2015–16
Main Estimates
2015–16
Planned Spending*
2016–17
Planned Spending
2017–18
Planned Spending
79,015,382 79,015,382 10,949,059 9,244,800

*The increase in planned spending in 2015–16 is primarily a result of the reimbursements to political parties and candidates for eligible expenses expected in the 42nd general election.


Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents)
2015–16 2016–17 2017–18
59 59 59


Performance Measurement
Expected Results Performance Indicators
Canadians have confidence in the integrity of how the electoral process is managed Percentage of Canadian electors who believe Elections Canada is non-partisan

Percentage of candidates who express confidence in how Elections Canada administers and regulates federal elections
Canadians have timely access to accurate political financing data Percentage of guidelines and interpretation notes issued within statutory requirements
Political entities understand and comply with their obligations under the Canada Elections Act Proportion of cases that are subject to administrative measures and/or referred to the Commissioner of Canada Elections

Percentage of candidates who are satisfied with the tools and information provided by Elections Canada

Planning Highlights

The following planned initiatives within the Regulation of Electoral Activities program will contribute to the agency’s organizational priorities in 2015–16.

Finalize Registration of Electoral District Associations

Elections Canada will complete the registration of new electoral district associations and confirm existing associations under Canada’s new electoral districts. The agency will also continue to assist political entities in deregistering electoral district associations that will no longer be active under the new boundaries.

Implement the Electoral Integrity Program

The Electoral Integrity Program was created to help Elections Canada better prevent, detect and analyze incidents affecting the integrity of the electoral process, as well as recommend responses. To improve the agency’s risk awareness for the 2015 general election and its ability to respond, the office will develop and operate an electoral incident management service. This service will interact with the Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

Elections Canada will also ensure that an independent audit of poll worker performance is conducted to meet a new requirement of the Canada Elections Act.

Align Political Financing Systems with the New Legal Framework

Elections Canada will prepare new financial filing software and update internal systems to implement the recent amendments to the Canada Elections Act. The agency will also develop new financial reporting forms for political entities to capture additional information required under the Act.

Issue Written Opinions, Guidelines and Interpretation Notes

The Canada Elections Act now requires Elections Canada to issue written opinions, guidelines and interpretation notes (OGIs) on the application of the Act to political entities. OGIs will be issued at the request of a political party, or on Elections Canada’s own initiative, following consultations with all registered parties as well as with the Commissioner of Canada Elections. Elections Canada is mandated to respond to all OGI requests from political parties. The agency will also follow this process to update all handbooks for political entities.

There are mandatory time constraints for issuing OGIs. Elections Canada will work with a steering committee of the Advisory Committee of Political Parties to manage the process and establish priorities.

Administer Reimbursements and Subsidies

Following the election, Elections Canada will be ready to receive political entities’ financial returns. It will issue reimbursements to eligible candidates and registered political parties, as well as subsidies to auditors.

Audit Returns Following the General Election

Following the election, Elections Canada will perform compliance audits on all election expenses returns of candidates and parties using updated audit programs that reflect recent legislative changes.

Program 1.3: Electoral Engagement

Description

This program promotes and sustains the Canadian electoral process. It provides Canadians with electoral education and information programs 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.

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2015–16
Main Estimates
2015–16
Planned Spending
2016–17
Planned Spending
2017–18
Planned Spending
8,060,043 8,060,043 8,118,902 8,118,902


Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents)
2015–16 2016–17 2017–18
62 62 62


Performance Measurement
Expected Results Performance Indicators
Canadians have the information they need to engage in the electoral process Canadian electors’ recall rate of the Elections Canada advertising campaign

Percentage of Canadian electors using voting options other than election day voting

Percentage of Canadian electors who report that they knew when, where and ways to register and vote
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

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
Parliamentarians have timely access to evidence-based information on existing and emerging electoral issues Proportion of recommendations endorsed by parliamentarians and ultimately enacted

Planning Highlights

The following planned initiatives within the Electoral Engagement program will contribute to the agency's organizational priorities in 2015–16.

Provide Support to Parliament

Elections Canada will continue to inform parliamentarians on an ongoing basis of its plans to deliver the 2015 general election. It will support the work of parliamentary committees on any matters about which the Chief Electoral Officer may be called upon to appear.

Following the 2015 general election, the agency will prepare and submit the Chief Electoral Officer's official report on the conduct of the general election as required by the Act.

Engage Stakeholders

During the reporting period, Elections Canada will continue to engage political parties through the Advisory Committee of Political Parties. It will proceed with issuing written opinions, guidelines and interpretation notes under the Act, hold an annual general meeting before late summer of 2015 and hold a conference call with members following the issue of the writs.

The agency will also benefit from the advice of the Elections Canada Advisory Board on matters relating to Canada's electoral system, its voting processes, and support for a vigorous democracy that reflects the evolving needs and circumstances of Canadians.

Elections Canada will continue to engage the disability community through its Advisory Group for Disability Issues, established in February 2014. In consultation with this group, we will refine and implement the new Accessibility Policy and Service Offering for the 2015 general election. Members will help disseminate election information products to the communities they represent. Elections Canada will host a post-election meeting with the advisory group to obtain feedback on the conduct of the general election and establish a forward agenda for future improvements to the electoral process for persons with disabilities.

The agency will work with a variety of national organizations to reach groups of electors who are less aware of the electoral process or who face barriers to voting. These include First Nations organizations, youth groups, and organizations representing seniors, students, ethnocultural electors and homeless electors. Elections Canada will encourage these organizations to distribute election information products.

Communicate with Electors

Elections Canada will implement a comprehensive, multi-channel communications campaign to ensure Canadians know when, where and ways to register and vote, and turn to Elections Canada when in doubt. Information will be provided in a variety of new formats. There will be frequent reminders of important dates within the election calendar. The campaign will feature targeted communications just before and after the issue of the writs, aimed at encouraging first-time voters and voters who have recently moved to register or update their registration online. Following the election, the agency will prepare a program assessment to identify areas for improvement.

Promote Civic Education

Elections Canada will contract with CIVIX to hold a parallel election program in schools across Canada for the 2015 general election. The agency has worked with CIVIX, formerly known as Student Vote, since 2004 to conduct this program in classrooms from kindergarten to Grade 12. During the 2011 election, 3,750 schools took part (nearly one third of all Canadian schools), enabling over 560,000 students to practise casting a ballot for actual candidates. Following the election, the agency will complete an evaluation of the program, which has previously been shown to significantly increase students' knowledge, interest and sense of voting as a civic duty.

Internal Services

Description

Internal Services are groups of related activities and resources that are administered to support the needs of programs and other corporate obligations of an organization. These groups 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; Acquisition Services; and Travel and other administrative services. Internal Services include only those activities and resources that apply across an organization and not those provided specifically to a program.

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2015–16
Main Estimates
2015–16
Planned Spending
2016–17
Planned Spending
2017–18
Planned Spending
31,770,812 31,770,812 31,809,836 31,809,836


Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents)
2015–16 2016–17 2017–18
136 136 136


Planning Highlights

The following planned initiatives within Internal Services will contribute to the agency's organizational priorities in 2015–16.

Support Delivery of the 2015 General Election

Elections Canada's internal services will continue to support the agency as it maintains election readiness and shifts to deploying resources at headquarters and in the field to support election delivery. For internal services, this includes the following activities:

Amend the Federal Elections Fees Tariff Regulation

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.

Finalize the 2015 General Election Reporting Framework

In 2015–16, Elections Canada will finalize the scope and approach for reporting on the conduct of the 2015 general election. The reports will draw on multiple perspectives and lines of evidence, including the new independent audit of poll worker performance; surveys of electors, candidates and election officers; returning officers' feedback; and other administrative data.

Strengthen Security

Elections Canada will continue to implement measures strengthening the management of its security in response to gaps identified in a 2012 audit report. The agency will reinforce governance and accountability for security management as well as controls over financial management and assets. We will continue to work with a broad network of public safety and security agencies, including local police services, to ensure the security of electors and workers as well as the continuity of our operations during the next general election.

Renew Strategic Plan

Over the reporting period, Elections Canada will continue the process of renewing its strategic plan to set a long-term direction that remains aligned with the evolving needs of electors and political entities.

Enhance Information Management and Technology

Information management and technology will continue to play a pivotal role in improvements to election delivery. Elections Canada will deploy new applications and use automation where possible to improve business processes in support of quality and compliance. These processes include enhanced online voter registration, voters list revision, public enquiries and complaints management services, geographical information systems, voter information systems, modernized electronic workflows, and enhanced reporting and analytics tools. The agency will complete the implementation of PeopleSoft HR as scheduled, and will develop plans to implement SAP Financials following the general election.

Manage Human Resources

The Chief Human Resources Officer Sector will continue to support the agency, particularly in the areas of staffing, health and safety, and official languages.