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An Electoral Framework for the 21st Century: Recommendations from the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Following the 42nd General Election


The recommendations in this report are all designed to improve the administration of the Act. They promote accessibility, inclusiveness, flexibility and effectiveness while still observing key safeguards and fairness for all participants. In sum, the report recommends that Parliament make changes to bring the electoral process into the 21st century.

Evidence from the last few general elections and particularly from the 2015 election points to a voting process that is too rigid, not easily scalable and ill-suited to quickly adapting to spontaneous shifts in demand for voting services. The recommendations in this report aim to prudently address these issues without in any way affecting the confidence of electors, on which the legitimacy of election results rests.

It is also clear that greater flexibility as well as more effective mechanisms are required in the tools available to ensure compliance with the political financing rules adopted by Parliament. The Act contains a detailed regulatory regime that cannot be enforced solely with criminal prosecutions, as was the case in the 19th century. Minor compliance issues should be dealt with administratively, and the Commissioner should be properly equipped to deal effectively with more serious violations.

Finally, while Elections Canada has taken important steps over the years to make the process more inclusive for various groups of electors, there is no doubt that more needs to be done. In particular, new technology and the possibility of electronic or Internet voting provides great hope to many electors with disabilities. The agency needs a clear mandate to move forward in this area.

Elections Canada trusts that parliamentarians and the government will carefully examine these recommendations, as they have done in the past, in order to build a modern and inclusive electoral framework.