Timeline for the Redistribution of Federal Electoral Districts
Below you will find the main steps of the redistribution of federal electoral districts as legislated by the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act (the Act). Please note that these are estimates of expected timelines and do not account for possible extensions.
1. Allocation of seats
The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) receives the population estimates from the Chief Statistician. (section 12.1)
December 16, 2011
The CEO calculates the number of seats allocated to each province using the population estimates and a formula found in the Constitution. The results are published in the Canada Gazette as soon as possible. (section 14)
December 19, 2011
2. Publication of census data
The Chief Statistician releases the census population numbers broken down by electoral district. This data is provided to the CEO and the Minister designated for the purposes of the Act. (section 13)
February 8, 2012
3. Establishment of commissions
A three-member commission is established in each province by the Governor in Council within 60 days after publication of the census data, and a notice to that effect is published in the Canada Gazette.
The chair of each commission is appointed by the provincial chief justice while the two other members are appointed by the Speaker of the House of Commons.
Each commission receives the census population numbers for its province from the CEO. (sections 3 to 8)
No later than April 8, 2012
Commissions were established on February 21, 2012.
Commission Proposals, Public Hearings and Reports
4. Publication of commission proposals
Each commission develops a boundaries proposal for its province. It is published in the Canada Gazette and at least one newspaper of general circulation, and it includes the time and place of public hearings. (section 19)
Between May 2012 and September 2012
5. Public hearings
Each commission holds at minimum one public hearing, at least 30 days after the publication of its proposal. (section 19)
Members of the public notify the commission if they want to make a presentation at a public hearing. Members of Parliament (MP) may also make presentations at these hearings. (section 19)
Between July 2012 and November 2012
6. Completion of commission reports
Each commission finalizes its report on the new electoral districts. The CEO may grant a two-month extension if requested. (section 20)
The report is sent to the Speaker of the House of Commons through the CEO. It is tabled and referred to a designated parliamentary committee. (section 21)
Note: If Parliament is not sitting at the time, the Speaker is required to table the report on any of the first five days of the next sitting. If Parliament is between sessions, the Speaker must have the report published in the Canada Gazette.
No later than December 21, 2012
7. Objections from members of Parliament
MPs file written objections to a report with the designated parliamentary committee within 30 days after a report is referred there, or 30 days after publication in the Canada Gazette, as the case may be. Objections must be signed by at least 10 MPs. (section 22)
Early March 2013
The parliamentary committee considers the objections. The report is then returned to the commission, through the CEO, with a copy of the objections and the committee transcripts. (section 22)
Early May 2013
8. Commissions consider objections
Within 30 days after the report is referred back to the CEO, the commission considers the objections and decides whether to modify any boundaries or district names. Then the commission submits its final report to the Speaker of the House of Commons through the CEO. (section 23)
9. Representation order
The CEO drafts the representation order, which describes the electoral districts established by the commissions, and sends it to the Minister designated for the purposes of the Act. (section 24)
Within five days of receipt, the new representation order is proclaimed by the Governor in Council. (section 25)
Within five days of proclamation, the new representation order is published in the Canada Gazette. (section 26)
10. Boundaries in effect
The new boundaries are applied at a general election called at least seven months after the representation order is proclaimed. (section 25)
This time allows Elections Canada, political parties, candidates and sitting MPs to prepare for the next general election (e.g. hire or reappoint returning officers, adjust the National Register of Electors, reorganize electoral district associations).
The next general election is planned for October 2015.
The earliest a general election could be called where the new boundaries would take effect is April 2014.