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Voter Identification: Consultations and Evaluations

In June 2007, Parliament passed Bill C-31, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Public Service Employment Act (S.C. 2007, c. 21). Among the new provisions, electors are required to prove their identity and address when voting. The provisions were slightly amended in December 2007 to provide additional flexibility for electors to meet the proof of address requirement. The Canada Elections Act now provides three options for an elector to prove his or her identity and address.

Elections Canada undertook to evaluate and consult on the implementation and impact of the voter identification requirements with election stakeholders and various groups of electors that may experience challenges in meeting the requirements.

Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada on the 40th General Election of October 14, 2008

The Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada on the 40th General Election of October 14, 2008, which was tabled in Parliament on February 3, 2009, features a section that details the implementation and administration of the new identification requirements. It also includes an account of some of the issues faced by electors during the 40th general election with regard to the identification requirements and the next steps Elections Canada is taking with the findings of the evaluations and consultations.

Evaluation of the voter identification requirements

Elections Canada conducted various studies following the September 2007 and March 2008 by-elections and the October 2008 general election in order to evaluate the implementation of the new voter identification requirements and their impact on the voting proceedings.

Consultations on the voter identification requirements

In the spring and summer of 2008, Elections Canada consulted across Canada with specific groups of electors, including Elections Canada staff, by-elections candidates, and members of Parliament for electoral districts on or close to the 60th parallel, to identify any barriers arising from the implementation of the new requirements; to determine the effectiveness of the Chief Electoral Officer's list of identification pieces; and to determine how Elections Canada can best provide information on the new requirements to targeted groups that are likely to experience challenges.

Consultations with northern Canadians were conducted by Apathy is Boring.  

Consultations with seniors/long-term care facility residents, students and homeless electors were conducted by the Centre for Excellence in Communications (CEC).

Response to the Consultations