Estimated Cost of the 44th General Election
- Estimated cost of the 44th general election
- Comparing the costs of the 43rd and 44th general elections
Estimated cost of the 44th general election
The estimated cost of the 44th federal general election is $630 million or approximately $22.90 for each registered elector. The costs associated with delivering a general election typically span four years and include expenditures incurred well after election day, such as reimbursements for parties and candidates. Most of the cost for the 44th general election will be incurred in fiscal year 2021-2022. As of January 31, 2022, over 80% of the estimated costs have been incurred.
We will update these estimates as required until all related expenditures have been received and processed, which will then confirm the final cost of the general election.
The estimated cost of the 44th general election is broken down into two main categories: expenditures related to preparing for, delivering, and closing out the election; and reimbursements to parties and candidates for eligible election expenses.
|Election day||Sep. 20, 2021|
|Electoral calendar||36 days|
|Number of electoral districts||338|
|Number of electors on final list of electors||27,509,158|
|Preparation, conduct and post-event activitiesFootnote 1||$563.3 million|
|Reimbursement of election expenses to parties and candidates (includes subsidies to candidates' auditors)Footnote 2||$66.7 millionFootnote 3|
|Total estimated cost||$630.0 million|
|Estimated cost per elector||$22.90|
Comparing the costs of the 43rd and 44th general elections
Any comparison of the election costs for the 43rd (2019) and 44th (2021) general elections must account for the fact that those of the 43rd are almost final, whereas those of the 44th are estimates and subject to change over time. Certain key figures are also different.
|43rd general election October 21, 2019||44th general election September 20, 2021||Difference (increase / decrease)|
|Election period||40 days||36 days||4 days (decrease)|
|Number of registered parties||21||22||1 (increase)|
|Number of confirmed candidates||2,146||2,010||136 (decrease)|
|Number of registered electors||27,373,058||27,509,158||136,100 (increase)|
|Estimated cost||$500.8 million||$630.0 million*||$129.2 million (increase)|
|Estimated cost (in constant dollars)||$514.3 million||$630.0 million*||$115.7 million (increase)|
*Estimate as of January 31, 2022.
The difference between the estimated cost of the 2021 and 2019 elections can be explained as follows:
|Cost increase / decrease of 2021 election vs. 2019 election||Source of increase or decrease||Explanation|
|$44.7 million (increase)||Field offices and personnel (incl. increased rates of pay for field workers)||To improve services in the field, pay rates of poll and other field workers were increased and overtime provisions were introduced in the Federal Elections Fees Tariff. Also includes changes to the staffing model, and offices and polls operations and maintenance.|
|$42.0 million (increase)||Pandemic measures||In 2021, the election took place during the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure that Canadians were safely able to exercise their democratic rights to vote and be a candidate, Elections Canada made many changes to its operations.|
|$13.9 million (increase)||Inflation||Adjusting costs for inflation (2019 to 2021 dollars) results in an increased cost estimate for the 2021 election.|
|$12.8 million (increase)||IT infrastructure||Elections Canada upgraded IT equipment, systems and Web hosting services.|
|$11.4 million (increase)||Readiness cost due to timing of election||During minority governments, the level of readiness is higher and the duration of readiness is longer, due to the need to be prepared to conduct a federal election at any time.|
|$11.2 million (increase)||Elections Canada headquarters||Elections Canada hired extra resources to support field services, the distribution centre, recruitment, compensation, auditing, and other services across the agency.|
|$6.8 million (decrease)||Shorter calendar length||The election period was 36 days in 2021 and 40 days in 2019; it was preceded by the early opening of local offices. The shorter period in 2021 resulted in decreased costs for the delivery of the election.|
|Total: $129.2 million (Equivalent to $115.7 million on a constant basis of 2021)|
On a constant basis of 2021 dollars, the cost per elector increased by 22% from $18.79 in 2019 to $22.90 (estimated) in 2021.
Return to source of Footnote 1 Includes costs to recruit, and train returning officers and more than 195,000 election workers along with costs for their service fees; to print ballots and lists of electors; to lease local offices and polling places; to replenish and ship election materials; to run communications campaigns; to hire temporary staff; and to procure and deploy IT equipment and telecommunications.
Return to source of Footnote 2 To be eligible for partial reimbursement of election expenses, candidates must be elected or obtain at least 10% of the valid votes cast in their electoral district. Registered parties must obtain at least 2% of the valid votes cast nationally or 5% of the valid votes cast in electoral districts where the party has endorsed candidates.
Return to source of Footnote 3 This amount remains an estimate until all the audits of election expenses and contributions reports are finalized.