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Office of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada: Info Source


Info Source describes the programs and activities, and the information holdings related to programs and activities, of government institutions subject to the Access to Information Act to facilitate the right of access. It also provides individuals, including current and former employees of the Government of Canada, with relevant information to access personal information about themselves held by government institutions subject to the Privacy Act and to exercise their rights under the Privacy Act.

An index of institutions subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act is available centrally.

The Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act assign overall responsibility to the President of Treasury Board (as the designated Minister) for the government-wide administration of the legislation.


The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, which includes Elections Canada and the Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections, is an independent, non-partisan agency that reports directly to Parliament. A description of Elections Canada’s role and structure can be found on its website.

The following Acts of Parliament govern the operations of Elections Canada:

Prior to the creation of the Dominion Elections Act in 1920, Canadian elections functioned in a decentralized manner. Administration of federal elections was uneven from province to province, with voter eligibility determined by provincial laws. The Act established uniform eligibility requirements as well as the post of Chief Electoral Officer, beginning the tradition of independent, non-partisan agencies administering the electoral process in Canada – the first such agency in the world. More information on the history of the vote in Canada can be found on the Elections Canada website.

A description of the Commissioner of Canada Elections’ history can be found on its website.


Elections Canada carries out its responsibilities in accordance with its mission, mandate and values. In fulfilling its mandate, Elections Canada also has the responsibility to:

  • appoint, train and support returning officers and retain the services of field liaison officers across Canada;
  • maintain the National Register of Electors, which is used to prepare preliminary lists of electors at the start of electoral events;
  • publish reports on the conduct of elections and official voting results;
  • maintain electoral geography information, which provides the basis for maps and other geographic products;
  • register political entities, including political parties, electoral district associations, candidates, nomination contestants, leadership contestants, third parties that engage in election advertising and referendum committees;
  • administer the reimbursements and subsidies paid to eligible candidates, registered political parties and auditors;
  • disclose information on registered parties and electoral district associations, registered parties’ nomination and leadership contestants, candidates, third parties and referendum committees, including their financial returns;
  • refer to the Commissioner of Canada Elections information concerning possible offences under the Canada Elections Act (or other relevant Acts);
  • consult the Advisory Committee of Political Parties to receive advice and recommendations;
  • issue written opinions, guidelines and interpretation notes on the application of the Canada Elections Act to political entities;
  • recommend to Parliament amendments for the better administration of the Canada Elections Act by submitting a recommendations report after a general election, as well as by providing expert advice and other special reports; and,
  • appoint the Broadcasting Arbitrator, who is responsible for allocating free and paid broadcasting time among political parties and for arbitrating disputes that may arise between parties and broadcasters.

A description of the Commissioner of Canada Elections’ role and responsibilities can be found on its website.