Guidelines for Use of the Lists of Electors
The purpose of this document is to provide candidates, members of Parliament, registered parties and eligible parties ("authorized recipients") with privacy best practices for the acceptable use of the lists of electors as required by the Canada Elections Act (CEA). This will assist in ensuring effective protection and management of personal information contained in the lists of electors.
Elections Canada values privacy and recognizes that the protection of personal information of Canadian electors is an essential element in continuously earning and maintaining the public's trust. Therefore, Elections Canada is providing these guidelines to authorized recipients to educate them on the appropriate measures that should be taken to ensure that the lists of electors are used in an acceptable manner and that personal information is protected against accidental or unauthorized access, disclosure or use, as required by the CEA.
Elections Canada is subject to the terms of the Privacy Act and as a general rule does not share personal information about electors. The distribution of the lists of electors to authorized recipients is an exception to this rule specifically required by the Canada Elections Act.
Authorized recipients of the lists of electors are not regulated by the Privacy Act, although the Canada Elections Act requires registered and eligible political parties to adopt and publish their own policies for the protection of personal information. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) has published a guidance document entitled Guidance for federal political parties on protecting personal information that sets out both legal requirements and best practices for political parties to follow in developing privacy policies. That document can be found on the OPC's website at www.priv.gc.ca.
Respecting electors' privacy is an important element of protecting electors' trust in the democratic institutions of the country. While Elections Canada and political entities (members of Parliament, political parties and candidates) are not subject to the same regulations with respect to personal information, there is nonetheless a shared responsibility for protecting electors' personal information - and in doing so encouraging participation in our democratic processes and fostering the integrity of those processes.