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Elections Canada's Nunavut Inuktitut "facsimile" ExperienceCEO appearance on the Main Estimates 2022-2023 before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs

Key Messages

  • Elections Canada's introduction of a ballot facsimile in Inuktitut during the last general election (GE) was a positive experiment that the agency would like to expand in other districts, using both other languages and a more systematic approach.
  • The costs related to the ballot facsimile were minimal. It's important to note, however, that Inuktitut translation is done through the Translation Bureau, where translators are readily available. Additionally, the ballot facsimile costs included minimal content to translate, and a small quantity to print.
  • Initial estimates of the printing cost of facsimiles of lists of candidates in electoral districts (EDs) where 1% of the population has that Indigenous language as mother tongue, is about $40,000 to $60,000 per GE.

Facts

  • For the first time during the 2021 GE, Elections Canada provided electors in Nunavut with posters of the final list of candidates in Inuktitut.
  • Large posters (24x36) were hung at entrances and in polling locations, and small posters (8.5x11) were placed at voting tables for electors to refer to when marking their ballots.
  • A significant effort was required to produce these posters on time, a process that ran in parallel with the ballot production process, and which took place in the National Capital Region.
  • This activity was conducted within a very small window on the electoral calendar (Day 21- Day 19) in order to be delivered on time to Nunavut to be included in the poll workers' kits and sent on to the various polling locations in the electoral district.

Costs

  • Production costs for the Nunavut facsimile for GE44 include:
    • Translation: $195 + taxes
    • Printing: $365 + taxes (for 60 large posters and 100 small posters)
    • Design: no cost - done internally
    • Distribution: no cost as it was sent along with the ballots
    • Total production cost was approximately $560 (+ taxes)

Projected costs for large-scale deployment

  • Initial estimate of the printing cost of facsimiles of lists of candidates (as they appear on federal ballots) in Indigenous languages, in EDs where 1% of the population has that Indigenous language as mother tongue, is about $40,000 to $60,000 per GE.
  • A rough estimate of translation costs, totaling approximately $15,000, is included in the Annex. Translation costs are based on an average rate based on Indigenous languages that Elections Canada currently translates.
  • There are 27 EDs where an Indigenous language is the mother tongue of at least 1% of the population 1.
    • In 20 of these EDs, only 1 Indigenous language meets the 1% threshold.
    • One ED (Northwest Territories) has the highest number at 5 Indigenous languages.
  • In EDs with more than one Indigenous language meeting the threshold, there are two possible approaches to printing the facsimiles:
    • All languages could be provided on the same facsimile, or
    • Different facsimiles could be provided for each language.
  • Based on the 1% threshold, above, the Directive rates 2 and further assumptions below, the estimated total printing cost of facsimiles for these 27 EDs would be:
    • Same facsimile includes all languages: $41,626.89, or
    • Different facsimile for each language: $59,057.16.
    Note: This does not include other costs such as production and creating the facsimile images, shipping, translators, etc.

Lessons Learned

  • This activity was successfully completed, and because it was done as a separate product, it did not jeopardize the ballot production timeline.
  • The availability, on short notice, of translation services and independent quality assurance in Inuktitut also contributed to a successful outcome.
  • The ballot production process for Nunavut being handled from the National Capital Region facilitated the process. Other unique shipping and logistical arrangement may have resulted in more challenging circumstances.
  • It appears that Elections Canada has not directly received feedback from electors, either positive or negative, about this approach. Only a few complaints were received in Nunavut on the absence of Inuktitut on the ballot.

Annex: Estimated translation costs

Indigenous Languages used at 44th GE Indigenous Languages for Ballots at 45th GE Estimate Translation Cost for Indigenous Language for Ballots
Atikamekw Atikamekw 1 ED x $400 = $400
Blackfoot Blackfoot 1 ED x $400 = $400
Denesuline Denesuline 2 EDs x $400 = $800
Gwich'in N/A N/A
Inuktitut Inuktitut 3 EDs x $400 = $1,200
Innu (Montagnais) Innu (Montagnais) 2 EDs x $400 = $800
Michif N/A N/A
Mi'kmaq Mi'kmaq 3 EDs x $400 = $1,200
Mohawk N/A N/A
Moose Cree Moose Cree 4 10 EDs x $400 = $4,000
Nisga'a N/A N/A
Ojibway Ojibway 5 EDs x $400 = $2,000
Oji-Cree Oji-Cree 1 ED x $400 = $400
Plains Cree Plains Cree 1 ED x $400 = $400
Saulteaux N/A N/A
Stoney Stoney 1 ED x $400 = $400
Naskapi 3 1 ED x $400 = $400
Dogrib (Tlicho) 3 1 ED x $400 = $400
Inuinnaqtun (Inuvialuktun) 3 2 EDs x $400 = $800
Gitxsan (Gitksan) 3 1 ED x $400 = $400
North Slavey (Hare) 3 1 ED x $400 = $400
South Slavey 3 1 ED x $400 = $400
Total = $14,800

EC will likely continue to translate products in the five Indigenous languages currently included in our list even if they aren't part of the 1% threshold. We will need to analyse which products will be developed in those languages and where those products should be distributed.

Footnotes

1 Information provided by Data Analysis and Performance Measurement team

2 The rates within section 5 of the Elections Canada Directive on Certain Field Acquired Goods and Services in Conduct of Electoral Events EC 11780 (Directive) were used to calculate the estimates of printing the facsimiles.

3 New Indigenous Languages cost are unknown.

4 EE&I list lists "Cree" likely because we don't know which type of Cree to use. We indicated "Moose Cree" since it is one of the Languages EC translates into and because the list already includes "Plain Cree and Oji-Cree".