National Register of Electors - Updates: November 2023 Annual Lists of Electors
Table of Contents
- 1. Background
- 2. Updating
- 3. Quality
- 4. Future Plans
- 5. Conclusion
In accordance with the Canada Elections Act, Elections Canada provides lists of electors (containing name, address and unique identifier) to members of Parliament by November 15 of each year and, upon request, to each federal registered party for any electoral district in which the party endorsed a candidate in the last general election or by-election.
This document provides an overview of the primary sources of information used to update the National Register of Electors as well as information on the quality of the lists.
The data extracted for the above purpose reflect updates to the National Register of Electors (the Register) made on the basis of information obtained from federal, provincial, territorial and municipal administrative sources; lists of electors provided by other electoral agencies; and electors through the Online Voter Registration Service of Elections Canada. Since November 15, 2022, some 313,000 new electors have been added to the Register; the majority (265,000) were between 18 and 24 years old. Records for some 313,000 deceased electors and 8,000 duplicate records have been removed from the lists of electors. In addition, address changes have been made for nearly 2.7 million electors who moved. The current lists also reflect improvements made to address information.
The November 2023 annual lists of electors include 95.5 percent of the 28.4 million eligible electors (see Table 1). The percentage of eligible electors registered at their current residential address is 89.8 percent, or 25.5 million eligible electors. Among registered electors, 94 percent are listed at their current residential address.
Estimates are based on results from the latest Data Quality Confirmation Study, conducted in partnership with Statistics Canada, which was completed in summer 2023. As a result, quality estimates for the November 2022 annual lists of electors presented in this document will differ slightly from the preliminary quality estimates presented last year. More information regarding this quality review can be found in section 3.5, Reliability of Quality Estimates.
|November 2023||November 2022|
|Eligible electors footnote 1||28,413,036||28,036,154|
|Coverage (%) footnote 2||95.5||95.9|
Return to source of footnote 1 The electoral population is estimated using information from the 2021 Census of Population, adjusted for census net undercoverage as well as demographic components of growth.
Return to source of footnote 2 Coverage has been adjusted to account for deceased electors, duplicates and non-Canadian citizens. This adjustment is similar to that made in previous years. Currency and accuracy have been adjusted accordingly.
The Register is a database of Canadians who are qualified to vote in federal elections. The Register contains the name, gender, date of birth, address and unique identifier of each elector.
Elections Canada uses the information in the Register to produce preliminary lists of electors for federal elections, by-elections and referendums, and to provide lists to members of Parliament by November 15 of each year and, on request, to registered political parties. The Canada Elections Act also allows Elections Canada to provide Register data to other jurisdictions (provinces, territories and some municipalities) for electoral purposes, where data-sharing agreements have been signed.
According to Statistics Canada, some 12 percent of elector information typically changes every year. These changes involve moves (9 percent), new 18-year-olds (1 percent), new citizens (1 percent) and deaths (1 percent). To reflect these demographic changes, Elections Canada regularly updates the Register using federal, provincial, territorial and some municipal administrative data sources. It may also be updated using electoral lists from other jurisdictions. Revisions made to lists of electors during federal elections are another important source of updates to the Register. Since November 15, 2022, the Register has been updated using the following sources and data:
- Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This source provides the name, address and date of birth of tax filers who indicated that they are at least 18 years old and a Canadian citizen and who consented to their information being provided to Elections Canada. In 2023, 79 percent of tax filers gave their consent on their T1 tax returns.
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This source provides the name, address, date of birth, gender and date of citizenship conferral of new Canadians who consented to their information being provided to Elections Canada once their citizenship was granted. In 2023, 95 percent of new citizens gave this consent. In addition, Elections Canada receives periodic information from IRCC regarding permanent residents and foreign nationals, which Elections Canada cross-checks against the information in the Register.
- The Register of Future Electors (ROFE). Established on April 1, 2019, this register contains information (name, date of birth, gender, address, and unique identifier) about young Canadian citizens who are between 14 and 17 years of age and who consented to register with Elections Canada. When they turn 18, they are added to the National Register of Electors to update the lists of electors for federal elections and referendums. To date, the main ROFE source is the CRA. Since November 15, 2022, 77,231 future electors have been added to the National Register of Electors when they reached 18 years old.
- Department of National Defence. This source provides the name, gender, date of birth, service number and address of Canadian Armed Forces electors to update the Register.
- Provincial and territorial motor vehicle agencies. These sources provide driver information from each province and territory, except Quebec, and identification card information from some provinces and territories. For electors residing in Quebec, address updates are obtained solely through that province's permanent voters lists.
- Provincial and territorial vital statistics agencies. These sources provide information on deceased persons from each province and territory, except Quebec. For Quebec, deceased electors' information is obtained through that province's permanent voters lists. The CRA and some provincial and territorial motor vehicle agencies also provide information on deceased persons.
- Provincial and territorial electoral lists. These sources include elector information from the permanent voters lists maintained by Élections Québec, the lists of electors for the Prince Edward Island provincial election held in April 2023 and the Alberta provincial election held in May 2023. Data from the voters lists for the most recent Manitoba provincial election, held in October 2023, are not yet available.
- Elector-initiated updates. This data is from requests from electors to have their information updated or added to the Register as well as requests to opt out of the Register entirely or out of sharing their information with other jurisdictions. Since November 15, 2022, there have been 321 requests to opt out of the Register entirely and one request to opt out of sharing personal information with other jurisdictions. The electors who have requested to opt out entirely do not appear on the November 2023 annual lists of electors. There have been 14,922 changes of address and 23,288 registration requests have been submitted through the Online Voter Registration Service; 1,443 registration or update requests have been submitted through paper forms.
- Removal of duplicates. Regular verifications are done to identify and remove duplicates (individuals for whom more than one record is found) from the Register. Since November 15, 2022, some 8,000 records have been identified as duplicates and removed from the lists.
The main indicators used to measure the quality of information in the Register are coverage, currency and accuracy. These indicators are described below along with the corresponding estimates for the November 2023 annual lists of electors. See section 3.4 for information on how to interpret these measures.
The percentage of electors included in the Register (coverage) is one of the key indicators used to measure the extent to which Canadians can exercise their democratic right to vote. As of April 2023, the national coverage target was increased from 94 to 95 percent. Therefore, the November 2023 annual lists have been assessed against this new target.
Coverage measurements involve determining what proportion of the eligible population is represented on the lists. This entails comparing the number of electors on the lists with the estimated number of Canadian citizens aged 18 and over. This makes it possible for Elections Canada to assess the quality of the Register relative to its national coverage target.
Elections Canada prepares estimates of eligible electors based on information provided by Statistics Canada. The 2021 Census of Population serves as the baseline for the estimates, which are adjusted for census net undercoverage. A demographic component approach is used to derive estimates at the electoral district level using detailed information on new adults, deceased electors, new citizens, electors who move between electoral districts and electors leaving the country permanently. This information is used to estimate demographic changes on a monthly basis. The sum of the electoral district estimates provides provincial, territorial and national estimates. The time elapsed since the 2021 Census of Population will likely affect the quality of the eligible population estimates.
Coverage estimates for Canada and the provinces and territories are shown in Chart 1 and Table 2 (below). A comparison of estimates of registered electors with estimates of eligible electors indicates that the November 2023 annual lists include some 95.5 percent of electors—which is higher than the established Elections Canada target of 95 percent.
Some 12,000 electors do not appear on the lists because their address has not yet been assigned to an electoral district or a polling division.
Coverage may vary by region because of various factors:
- Demographic changes.
- Availability of data sources used to update the Register.
- Rates of consent to share information.
- Information for some people does not appear in any administrative files used for updating purposes.
- Some records cannot be positively matched with information held in the Register.
- Time between the occurrence of demographic changes and the reception and processing of information by Elections Canada.
The coverage of lists of electors in most provinces are above the national target of 95 percent, with the exception of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and the three territories.
Chart 1. Coverage Estimates, Canada, Provinces and Territories, November 2023 Annual Lists of Electors
Text version of "Chart 1. Coverage Estimates, Canada, Provinces and Territories, November 2023 Annual Lists of Electors"
|Newfoundland and Labrador||96.3|
|Prince Edward Island||97.2|
Registration of young electors poses additional challenges, as the information from administrative sources may be available to Elections Canada only several months after these electors reach voting age. Initiatives involving feeder groups (future electors under 18 years of age) are under way, which should help reduce the coverage gap for young electors over time (see sections 2 and 4.1).
Chart 2 illustrates that the gap between registered electors and eligible electors decreases steadily with age. Electors who have recently become eligible to vote (18-year-olds) represent the largest gap: only 119,000 out of 385,000 of newly eligible electors are registered. The gap decreases considerably for 19-year-olds (200,000 out of 382,000 are registered) and continues to decrease up to the age of 38. After that age, the Register contains information for nearly all eligible electors. As of April 2023, a new national target for coverage of 18–24-year-olds was established at 80 percent with the aim of improving youth coverage. There were nearly 1.9 million registered electors between 18 and 24 years of age, which represents 69.2% of the estimated Canadian population in this age range, lower than the established target.
Chart 2: Eligible Electors footnote 1 by Age footnote 2 footnote 3 footnote 4, Canada, November 2023 Annual Lists of Electors
Text version of "Chart 2. Eligible Electors and Registered Electors by Age, Canada, November 2023 Annual Lists of Electors, in thousands"
|Age||Registered electors||Eligible electors|
Return to source of footnote 1 Based on counts from Statistics Canada (2021 Census of Population, adjusted for census net undercoverage and demographic growth). Eligible electors are Canadian citizens aged 18 and over.
Return to source of footnote 2 Source: National Register of Electors (NROE).
Return to source of footnote 3 The NROE contains a small number of deceased electors, non-citizens and duplicate records. This explains why the number of registered electors is slightly greater than the number of eligible electors at some ages.
Return to source of footnote 4 Persons aged 100 and over are excluded from the chart.
The second measure of the quality of the lists is the currency of electors' addresses. Measuring the currency of the lists comes down to answering the following question: What proportion of eligible electors are registered at their current address?
The currency of lists is estimated by comparing the number of updates made to electors' addresses in the Register with the estimated number of moves in each region of the country based on mobility rates provided by Statistics Canada. Updating addresses presents a number of challenges. In addition to the factors listed above, the high number of moves and the variations by region could also explain differences in currency. That is why the national currency target is set lower than the coverage target. As of April 2023, the national currency target was increased from 80 percent to 90 percent.
Currency estimates for Canada and the provinces and territories are provided in Table 2 below. Eligible electors across the country are estimated to be registered at their current address at a rate of 89.8 percent. The currency rate of lists is below 90 percent (the national target) in most provinces and territories, with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Ontario. Various measures are put in place locally at election time to improve these lists.
Accuracy of the electoral lists is determined by dividing the currency estimates by the coverage estimates.
Whereas currency indicates the proportion of all eligible electors registered at their current address, accuracy measures the proportion of registered electors listed at their current address. As of April 2023, a new national accuracy target was established at 90 percent.
Among electors appearing on the November 2023 annual lists of electors, an estimated 94.0 percent have current residential address information, higher than the new national target of 90 percent. Excluding the three territories, in all provinces, over 9 registered electors out of 10 are listed at their current address.
|Coverage (national target 95%)||Currency (national target 90%)||Accuracy (national target 90%)|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||96.3||90.5||94.0|
|Prince Edward Island||97.2||90.4||93.0|
Return to source of footnote 1 The estimates are adjusted for deceased electors, duplicates and non-Canadian citizens. The quality estimates are subject to sampling errors. See section 3.5, Reliability of Quality Estimates.
To better understand the practical impact of the quality indicators of the lists, it is important to consider how the data are used in a federal election, by-election or referendum. Shortly after an electoral event is called, voter information cards (VICs) are mailed to electors appearing on the preliminary lists of electors that are extracted from the Register. More than 9 out of 10 registered electors will receive a VIC addressed to them that correctly indicates where they can vote in their electoral district (accuracy).
During an electoral event, returning officers provide candidates with a Statement of Quality of the Preliminary Lists of Electors. This document provides quality measures and estimated revision volumes for their electoral district. For example, lower currency estimates may result in a higher number of revisions or polling day registrations. The document also contains counts that reflect recent activities to improve the lists as well as targeted revision plans. The Chief Electoral Officer instructs each returning officer to discuss list quality issues with candidates during the candidates' briefing meeting, which must be held shortly after all candidates have been confirmed. Candidates are encouraged to raise questions and issues concerning the revision process and to advise the returning officer if they believe areas of the electoral district could benefit from additional targeted revision efforts.
3.5 Reliability of Quality Estimates
Elections Canada completed the seventh iteration of its national Data Quality Confirmation Study (DQCS) in summer 2023. The purpose of such studies is to periodically assess the quality indicators of lists of electors.
In the past, Elections Canada conducted DQCSs using a survey-based approach. After sampling elector records from the Register, these electors were asked to confirm their personal information. As it was becoming more and more difficult to reach electors, Elections Canada established a partnership with Statistics Canada in 2018 to obtain an independent assessment of the quality indicators, shifting from a survey-based approach to a record linkage one. Records from the Register are matched with various data sources held by Statistics Canada. This results in a more comprehensive evaluation, reduced costs and improved quality indicators.
The 2022 DQCS is the third iteration of the study conducted in partnership with Statistics Canada. Its results serve as the baseline to produce the quality indicators for the November 2023 annual lists of electors included in this document. However, there is a margin of error associated with these quality indicators, as they are produced using several estimates, including estimates of the eligible population as outlined in section 3.1 above. While this margin of error is difficult to measure, owing to the multiple components involved in producing the quality indicators, it is deemed to be acceptable.
4. Future Plans
4.1 Register of Future Electors
Since 2020, Elections Canada has increased its coverage rate for young electors by collecting information about Canadians between 14 and 17 years of age who consent to be included in the ROFE. To do so, Elections Canada has been working with various provincial and territorial electoral partners and data suppliers to update information-sharing agreements whenever possible; such updates enable Elections Canada to obtain information on youth and thereby continue to maintain the ROFE. To date, 19 agreements have been completed and work continues on others. Future electors can also contact Elections Canada directly to be added to the ROFE. As of October 2023, there were 125,650 future electors between 14 and 17 years of age in the ROFE, which represents 7.9% of the estimated Canadian population in this age range. Coverage of 17-year-olds in the ROFE is however at 17.0%, lower than the new 25% target to be met as of April 2023. Elections Canada is planning to offer an online registration option for future electors in the next year or so, which will provide more opportunities for outreach and civic education activities. All these efforts will enable Elections Canada to add a greater proportion of new electors and increase youth coverage in the Register over time.
Elections Canada estimates that the November 2023 annual lists of electors derived from the Register include around 95.5 percent of the 28.4 million eligible electors and that 89.8 percent of the eligible electors are registered at their current address. The proportion of registered electors listed at their current address is estimated at 94.0 percent.
Although these national estimates are near or above the national targets, it is important that electors and political entities understand that Register activities continue throughout the year and that revision procedures are essential to maintaining this level of quality.
Additionally, electors are also responsible for verifying with Elections Canada that they are registered and that their information is up to date.