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Instructions to facilitate the sending of special ballots to certain non-resident electors

42nd General Election

Instructions of The Chief Electoral Officer Issued Pursuant to Section 179 of The Canada Elections Act for the Purpose Of Facilitating The Sending of Special Ballots to Electors Who Indicated Their Intention to Return to Canada to Reside or Provided Proof of The Application of An Exception to The Five-Year Limit after the Deadline Fixed by the Chief Electoral Officer

whereas the 42nd general election was called on August 2, 2015, with polling day on October 19, 2015;

WHEREAS, pursuant to subsection 222(1) of the Canada Elections Act (the "Act"), the Chief Electoral Officer maintains a register of electors who are temporarily resident outside Canada (the "international register") for the purposes of mailing a special ballot, an inner envelope and an outer envelope (a "special ballot kit") to those electors, so that the electors can vote by mail;

WHEREAS on July 20, 2015, the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned a lower court decision and affirmed that there are three requirements in subsection 222(1) of the Act to be met by non-resident electors who wish to have their names entered in the international register: prior residence in Canada, an intent to return to Canada to reside, and residence outside Canada for less than five consecutive years (the "five-year limit");

WHEREAS prior to July 20, 2015, and as a result of the lower court decision, the Chief Electoral Officer had stopped asking non-resident electors who wished to have their names entered in the international register if they had an intent to return to Canada to reside and, if the elector had lived outside Canada for five consecutive years or more, for proof that an exception to the five-year limit applied to the elector. The Chief Electoral Officer also stopped asking electors whose names were already entered in the international register and who had reached the five-year limit for residence outside Canada for proof that an exception to the five-year limit applied to them;

WHEREAS section 225 of the Act authorizes the Chief Electoral Officer to require an elector whose name is entered in the international register to provide, within the time fixed by the Chief Electoral Officer, any information that is necessary to update the international register;

Whereas, pursuant to section 225 of the Act and in order to implement the Court of Appeal decision, on July 31, 2015, the Chief Electoral Officer began sending letters requesting information on intent to return to Canada to reside and proof of the application of an exception to the five-year limit from electors whose names were entered in the international register and who had not supplied this information or proof;

WHEREAS the Chief Electoral Officer imposed a deadline of September 12, 2015, for receipt of the requested information or proof;

WHEREAS paragraph 226(a) of the Act requires the Chief Electoral Officer to delete from the international register the name of an elector who does not provide the requested information within the time fixed by the Chief Electoral Officer;

WHEREAS any elector whose name had been entered in the international register, who was sent a letter from the Chief Electoral Officer requesting information on intent to return to Canada to reside or proof of the application of an exception to the five-year limit, and who did not supply the requested information or proof by September 12, 2015, had his or her name deleted from the international register;

WHEREAS some of the electors described above supplied the required information or proof after the September 12, 2015, deadline;

WHEREAS section 221 of the Act states that an elector may vote by special ballot if his or her application for registration and special ballot is received in Ottawa by 6:00 p.m. on the 6th day before polling day and his or her name is entered in the international register;

WHEREAS there may be insufficient time before polling day for these electors to reapply to have their names entered in the international register, and to receive and return a special ballot;

WHEREAS, but for the delay in receiving the required information or proof, the names of these electors would have been in the international register and these electors would have been entitled to vote by special ballot;

And whereas section 179 of the Act provides the following:

179. For the purpose of applying this Part [Part 11 of the Act] to, or adapting any provision of this Part in respect of, a particular circumstance, the Chief Electoral Officer may issue any instructions that he or she considers necessary in order to execute its intent.

Therefore, pursuant to section 179 of the Act, the Chief Electoral Officer issues instructions to the special voting rules administrator as follows:

1. Despite section 221 of the Act, the special voting rules administrator is instructed to reinstate in the international register, without receiving a new completed application, the names of those electors

i) to whom the Chief Electoral Officer sent a letter requesting information on intent to return to Canada to reside or proof of the application of an exception to the five-year limit;

ii) from whom the required information or proof was not received by the deadline fixed by the Chief Electoral Officer;

iii) whose names the Chief Electoral Officer deleted from the international register because he did not receive the required information or proof by the deadline; and

iv) from whom the Chief Electoral Officer received the required information or proof before the deadline for registration in the international register in order to receive a special ballot during the election period that is, before 6:00 p.m. ET on the 6th day before polling day.

2. The special voting rules administrator is further instructed to send such electors a special ballot kit.



September 30, 2015

Marc Mayrand
Chief Electoral Officer