Elections Canada at 100
A lot has changed over 100 years. Elections Canada has an expanded role with new tasks and responsibilities. The agency can now combine decades of experience with ideas that look to the future.
Canadians may be less familiar with some of this work, much of which happens behind-the-scenes and between elections. At any given time, a network of dedicated experts is working to ensure Elections Canada can provide Canadians with trusted, democratic elections in the 21st century.
An Expanded Role
Elections Canada's work doesn't end after the votes are counted. The agency has responsibilities today that require attention year-round. These include:
- administering Canada's political financing rules
- overseeing the registration of new political parties
- researching new ways to run elections
- developing civic education programs to help young Canadians learn about the electoral process
To meet these responsibilities, Elections Canada's workforce includes election administrators, statisticians, lawyers, geographers, civic education advisors and other specialized experts. Elections Canada draws on this expertise when it reports to Parliament after each election and when Parliament is studying possible changes to how Canadian elections are administered.
Even with 100 years of experience, Elections Canada is always adapting. Running an election in 2020 requires staff to tackle challenges that weren't foreseeable 100 years ago, including cyber threats and the spread of false election information online. Today, Elections Canada works with national security agencies on an ongoing basis to plan and share information about cybersecurity.
Working with Others
In researching the best solutions to new problems, Elections Canada works with election agencies here in Canada and around the world. For example, the agency is part of an international network of election agencies that share technical knowledge and best practices. This work helps Elections Canada stay on top of emerging trends and technologies that may help serve Canadians.
Elections Canada also collaborates with a number of advisory groups. It consults with disability groups, educators and registered political parties to share information.
Looking to the Future
What will Canadians need to exercise their democratic rights over the next 100 years? Elections Canada is already thinking about this. The agency reports to Parliament after each election to help identify Canadians' evolving needs and ways to make future elections more accessible.
One of the newest projects to make future elections more inclusive is the Register of Future Electors. Parliament recently directed Elections Canada to create the Register. It allows young Canadian citizens aged 14 to 17 to pre-register so they can be ready to vote when they turn 18. This new database will help remove barriers facing the next generation of Canadian voters.