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Independent audit report on the performance of the duties and functions of election officials – 42nd General Election


Appendix A – Recommendations

Given the results of the audit, the following recommendations are being proposed for consideration by the CEO. It should be noted that some of the recommendations, if implemented, could eliminate the need for others. In some cases, implementation may require legislative changes. It is suggested that each recommendation be fully evaluated and if a decision is made to proceed, each one should be tested fully before full implementation.

Recommendation 1

  1. We recommend that the CEO consider a series of activities to modernize the electoral process with an aim to increasing the efficiency and accuracy of the administrative elements, specifically:

    1. automate components of the electoral process to serve electors such as locating elector on the List of Electors and noting which elector has voted

    EC response

    We agree with this recommendation. Work has already begun to identify elements of the electoral process at the polls that could benefit from automation. We will carefully assess risks, benefits and costs, and will conduct tests before automating elements of the process at all polling stations in a general election. We will engage stakeholders as these initiatives evolve.

Recommendation 2

  1. We recommend that the CEO explore opportunities for streamlining procedures, specifically:

    1. review the advance poll process and associated controls to ensure the continued relevancy of, and optimizing opportunities to streamline, the process, including aligning the advance poll processes with general election day processes (to allow for streamlined training/tools)
    2. introduce a special procedures desk (potentially to replace the registration desk) for each polling site where all special procedures would be administered, including the administration of the oaths/declarations and the completion of the certificates
    3. clarify and simplify the forms and certificates associated with the special procedures to avoid duplication

    EC response

    We agree with the findings and the recommendation in this area. Work has already begun to review functions and procedures at the polls in order to simplify them. We will be making recommendations to Parliament to modify the Canada Elections Act in line with this objective.

Recommendation 3

  1. We recommend that the CEO consider enhancements to the existing training program to ensure that necessary focus/time is given to the administration of the special procedures and to ensure election officials understand why/how to complete the activities, specifically:

    1. revise training approach to focus on the specific duties of the target audiences (for example those handling special voting circumstances and procedures)
    2. enhance the current training program to include walk-throughs of the process, role playing and samples/practice examples of the various scenarios
    3. through training emphasize the role of the central poll supervisor in ensuring the completeness and accuracy of the administration/record-keeping associated with special procedures, including ongoing supervision of the activities at the polling station and registration desk as electors are being served

    EC response

    We will be reviewing and updating our training to reflect any changes that result from automation and simplified procedures and functions at polling places. At the same time, we will take into account the specific recommendations made by PricewaterhouseCoopers regarding training.

Appendix B – Audit criteria

Audit objective Audit criteria Audit subcriteria
Assessment of whether DROs, PCs and REGOs have, on all days of advance polling and on polling day, properly exercised the powers conferred on them, and properly performed the duties and functions imposed on them, under sections 143 to 149, 161 to 162 and 169 of the CEA. DROs, PCs and REGOs performed their duties as prescribed by sections 143 to 149, 161 to 162 and 169 of the CEA. Election officials establish a person's qualification to register and/or vote, e.g. obtain proof of identity and residence and elector's signature on registration certificate declaring to being a Canadian citizen and at least 18 years old.
REGOs and DROs identify situations when special procedures must be administered to qualify an elector.
REGOs, DROs and PCs administer the prescribed procedures and forms in accordance with the CEA.
DROs administer the required oaths.
Forms and related election documents are duly completed.
Administrative controls
Assessment of the degree to which the administrative controls established by EC, including manuals and training material, support election officials in the exercise of their powers and performance of their duties and functions in accordance with section 164.1 of the CEA. Adequate tools, guidance and training are provided to election officials to ensure accurate and consistent exercise of power and duties in accordance with sections 143 to 149, 161 to 162 and 169 of the CEA. Training courses have been designed to equip election officials to efficiently and effectively take on the duties and functions of their specific roles.
Training officers have appropriate qualifications and training themselves to effectively deliver training to a large number of non-specialists in a very short time period.
Training officers provide training consistently to election officials in accordance with the training expectations/program of EC.
Election officials obtain the appropriate training programs and tools given their assigned responsibilities.
Training officers conduct comprehension tests and use other tools to evaluate and assess whether election officials have the competencies and abilities to fulfill their duties.
Mechanisms are in place for election officials to highlight any need for additional training or support prior to exercising their duties.
Tools, guidance materials and functions have been established to support election officials in assuming the duties and functions of their specific roles.

Appendix C – Glossary of terms

Term Definition
C-23 Bill C-23
CEA Canada Elections Act
CEO Chief Electoral Officer
CSAE Canadian Standards on Assurance Engagements 3001: Direct Engagements
DRO Deputy returning officer
EC Elections Canada
ED Electoral district
PC Poll clerk
PwC PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
REGO Registration officer
RO Returning officer