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Returning Officers

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A federal returning officer (RO) is responsible for the delivery and control of federal electoral events within the electoral district to which he or she is appointed.

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Type of job: Varied hours – Electoral Cycle

Job status: Contractual – Electoral Administrators

Employment duration: 10-year mandate

Expected start date: In three months (on average)

Number of hours per week: Varied hours – Electoral Cycle

Salary: Hourly rate of $52.65


Key activities

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Plans and prepares for an election by carrying out pre-event tasks that include but are not limited to the following:

Plans and organizes the delivery of access to voting:

Manages and controls financial, material and human resources:

Administers the Canada Elections Act:

Communicates information to the public, candidates and political parties:

Communications with Elections Canada personnel:

Contributes to the improvement of the electoral process:

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A returning officer must be qualified as an elector (i.e. be a Canadian citizen and at least 18 years old on election day) and must live in the electoral district or an adjacent electoral district he or she will work in.


Successful completion of two years of an acceptable post-secondary education program
An acceptable combination of education, training and relevant experience


Additional qualifications that may be used to select candidates for interviews

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Knowledge and skills

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Factors to consider

A.   Candidates who are being considered for appointment must:

B.   Candidates must accept the following conditions of appointment if they are appointed as a returning officer:

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Additional information

The federal RO is appointed by and reports to the Chief Electoral Officer.

The position of returning officer is demanding, both mentally and physically.

Returning officers work long hours, seven days a week, during the minimum 36-day election calendar (from the day the writ ordering the election is issued until election day) and for several days after the election. They must be available all day, every day, during that time. Outside the election period, returning officers must be able to free themselves from other commitments on an occasional, part-time basis to carry out pre-event planning assignments, attend training or briefing sessions, etc.

The work is by nature impartial and non-partisan and returning officers must conduct all business accordingly. They must abide by Elections Canada's Code of Professional Conduct for Election Administrators and abstain from all activities of a politically partisan nature, both during and between election and referendum periods.

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