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42nd General Election Evaluations

This report follows and complements Elections Canada's first report on the conduct of the 42nd general election. It uses administrative reviews and feedback from electors, candidates, political parties and election officers to provide a comprehensive assessment. The findings support Elections Canada's modernization efforts and set the stage for many of the legal recommendations that were presented in a third report to Parliament on September 27, 2016.

The following surveys, studies and post-mortems were conducted to assess the 42nd general election:

Future Electors

  • Student Parallel Election Program (Student Vote) Evaluation
    Elections Canada contracted CIVIX—a non-partisan charity focused on building the skills and habits of citizenship among young Canadians—to conduct a parallel election for students under the voting age for the 42nd general election. In all, 922,000 students from Canada's 338 electoral districts participated in the program, making it the largest Student Vote to date.

    This evaluation analyzes feedback and survey results from participating students, teachers and parents to assess the success of Student Vote in meeting Elections Canada's objectives for a student parallel election program. The evaluation found that, overall, the Student Vote program had a positive impact on students and teachers. Key findings show that Student Vote increased students' knowledge of and interest in politics, and their likelihood of discussing politics with friends and family more comfortably, factors that research has shown are important predictors of voting. The evaluation also found that the program has cumulative benefits, and both students and teachers reported high levels of satisfaction with their experience.


  • Survey of Electors Following the 42nd General Election
    The Survey of Electors was administered to over 3,500 Canadian electors from October 29, 2015 to January 12, 2016. Oversamples were collected for specific groups of interest, including: Aboriginal electors, young electors aged 18 to 34, electors with disabilities and foreign-born electors. The survey measures electors' attitudes, opinions and knowledge about Elections Canada's services, and assesses their experiences during the election.

  • Evaluation of the Electoral Reminder Program (ERP) for the 42nd Canadian Federal Election
    As part of the Evaluation of the Electoral Reminder Program (ERP), a five-phase online survey (using a panel of approximately 5,000), a post-campaign telephone survey (with a sample size of a 1,000 respondents) and 17 in-person and online focus groups were administered to eligible Canadian electors between August 10 and November 1, 2015. This report presents the findings of these surveys and focus groups. More precisely, it assesses the reach and effectiveness of the ERP and evaluates its design, implementation and impact on Canadian electors' knowledge of both the registration and voting process from the onset to the end of the election period.

  • 2015 National Youth Survey
    The survey provides a unique portrait of youth voting behaviour in Canada, including the access and motivational barriers that deter youth from voting and the different information needs of young voters compared to older adults.

  • Voter Turnout by Age Group
    The participation of Canada's youth in the 2015 election indicates the highest increase in turnout since Elections Canada began reporting demographic data in 2004. Voter turnout for electors aged 18–24 increased to 57.1% from 38.8% (2011); turnout for those aged 25–34 increased to 57.4% from 45.1% (2011).

  • Voter Turnout by Sex and Age
    See the full results of turnout by sex and age in Canada broken down by province and territory.

  • Estimation of Voter Turnout by Age Group and Gender at the 2015 General Election
    The Estimation of Voter Turnout by Age Group was a study conducted by Elections Canada. It uses administrative data from the electoral process to create a sample of electors who voted during the 42nd general election. The date of birth and gender of each elector were then extracted from the National Register of Electors to develop estimates by age group and gender, based on the sample. Estimates are also available by province and territory. This study was initiated after the 2004 general election and repeated since then.

  • Turnout and Reasons for Not Voting During the 42nd General Election: Results from the Labour Force Survey
    Elections Canada asked Canadians whether they voted and their reasons for not voting in the Labour Force Survey following the 2015 federal election. The reasons cited most often were "not being interested in politics" (31.8%) and "being too busy" (23.5%). Read more about this study, which focuses particularly on reasons related to the electoral process, including comparisons with the 2011 federal election.

  • Facilitating First Nation Voter Participation for the 42nd Federal General Election
    The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) was contracted by Elections Canada (EC) to provide critical support during the 42nd Canadian federal general election. This report highlights how the AFN supported EC's information outreach efforts to First Nations electors about when, where, and the ways to register and vote, and how the AFN helped to fill research gaps about First Nations electors.

  • On-Reserve Voter Turnout – 42nd General Election
    The participation rate of electors living on reserves increased from 47.4% in the 2011 election to 61.5% in the 2015 election. These estimates are based on administrative data gathered by Elections Canada.

  • Voting Service Interruption on First Nation Reserves
    During the 42nd general election, there were reports of voting service interruptions due to ballot shortages in a number of polling places on First Nations reserves. In the weeks following the election, Elections Canada conducted an administrative review into these incidents, assembling facts from media reports as well as gathering eye-witness testimonies from returning officers, polling place supervisors, representatives of the Assembly of First Nations and local representatives of candidates' campaigns.

  • Voting at Select Campuses, Friendship Centres and Community Centres, 42nd General Election
    As a part of its efforts to increase access to voting for certain targeted groups, including youth and Indigenous electors, Elections Canada ran a pilot project at the 42nd general election, opening 71 temporary offices at select post-secondary institutions, Friendship Centres and community centres. The offices were open for four consecutive days and gave electors another option for registering and voting. In all, 70,231 electors voted at the temporary offices.

    This report assesses how effective the pilot project was at making the electoral process more convenient and accessible to the targeted groups.

Candidates and Political Parties

  • Survey of Candidates of the 42nd Federal General Election
    The Survey of Candidates was administered to approximately 900 candidates between November 25 and December 21, 2015. The survey measures candidates' levels of satisfaction with EC's services and products and assesses their experiences with the electoral process in general.

  • Advisory Committee of Political Parties
    The Advisory Committee of Political Parties (ACPP) was convened for an Annual General Meeting in June 2015 to discuss Elections Canada's preparation for the 42nd general election. Elections Canada reconvened ACPP members in November 2015 for their feedback on the conduct of the election, particularly their on-the-ground experience of services provided to voters and political parties.

Elections Officers

  • Post-Event Regional Meetings
    From January 19 to February 20, 2016, Elections Canada management staff met with returning officers (ROs) and field liaison officers (FLOs) across Canada to gather insights, feedback and recommendations for changes based on their election experience. The workshops focused on several key topics including engagement, technology and RO support and governance structures.

  • Returning Officers' Report of Proceedings – 42nd General Election, 2015
    The Returning Officer's Report of Proceedings is a post-election survey that allowed returning officers to provide feedback on what worked well during the 42nd general election and where improvements can be made to their administrative responsibilities. It covers such areas as recruitment and training; tools and resources; managing official language requirements; services to political parties and candidates; revision to the list of electors, outreach and accessibility; and opening and closing of polls on advance voting days and election day.

  • Survey of Election Officers Following the 42nd Federal General Election
    The Survey of Election Officers was administered to over 3,500 election staff working at polling stations (deputy returning officers, information officers, central poll supervisors, registration officers and poll clerks) between December 9, 2015, and January 7, 2016. Oversamples were collected in specific poll locations, including mobile polls, polls on Aboriginal reserves, post-secondary campuses, and seniors’ residences or long-term care facilities. The survey measures their opinions on various election-related issues and on the quality of services they received from Elections Canada.