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Reference DocumentOverview of Elections Canada and the Federal Electoral System Briefing Book (October 2021)

Electoral Cycle

The Electoral Cycle at Elections Canada

Pre-election period

  • Voter Information Campaign
  • Expenses limits of third parties and political parties

Election period

Election campaign (min. 37 days / max. 51 days)
  • Fully functioning offices of the returning officer
  • Preliminary lists of electors
  • Elector information update
  • Candidate nominations
  • Special ballots
  • Expenses limits of third parties, political parties and candidates
  • Advance poll operations
  • Election day registration
  • Election day operations
  • Validation of results and official results
  • Judicial recount

Post-election period

  • Submission, audit and publication of expense returns of political parties and third parties and of campaign returns of candidates
  • Reimbursements to political parties and candidates
  • Legal challenges by individuals or groups (Commissioner, Director of Public Prosecutions or courts)
  • CEO reports: election results, retrospective and recommendations
  • Conclusions of independent audit

Between elections

  • Annual reports of political entities
  • Knowledge development and transfer
  • Policy development
  • Pilot projects
  • Budget allocation
  • Recruitment and training of election workers
  • Electoral preparation