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Enhancing the Values of Redistribution

Appendix 2 – Comparison of Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Under the Act, with Proposed Changes Under Bill C-69, Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and This Report

Redistribution Steps Current Act Bill C-69 Standing Committee Report Report of Chief Electoral Officer
Frequency of redistribution Every 10 years: s. 3 Every five years if specific criteria are met Every 10 years No recommendation
Timing of establishment of commissions Commissions must be established by Governor in Council within 60 days of receipt of census return by Minister: s. 3 Commissions to be established within 30 days of completion of appointment process by Speaker: s. 3 No recommendation Section 1.2
  • Commissions should be established no later than the earlier of six months after Census Day and 60 days after receipt of census return
Selection of commission members other than chairperson Speaker selects members: s. 6
  • Speaker must table members' names in House of Commons within three sitting days after appointment. Twenty members can object and require a vote on the appointment.
  • Speaker shall invite written applications from persons interested in being considered through a notice in the Canada Gazette: s. 9.
Recommendation 11
  • Appoint commissioners more transparently.
  • Broaden the pool of commissioners to include those who have substantial experience in community service and reflect the regional diversity of the province.
  • Require the name of each commissioner to be tabled in the House and referred to a Committee, allowing a reasonable period for objection.
No recommendation
Instructions, guidelines and educational materials to be provided by Elections Canada No specific provision No specific provision Recommendation 4
All electoral boundaries commissions to be provided with:
  • strategies to identify natural starting points for redistribution;
  • examples of expert advice to be sought, such as municipal planners, provincial statistical and demographic officers or bodies;
  • factors important to providing effective community representation by a member of Parliament; and
  • a full description of the duties of a member of Parliament in order to understand the drastic effect of a boundary change on a constituency's needs.
Recommendation 1
Section 18 of the Act to be amended so that Elections Canada provides each commission with:
  • standardized instructions, bibliographic references and other materials containing detailed discussion and relevant case histories for identifying and adjudicating communities of interest, identity and historical patterns of the province's constituencies;
  • a standardized report format and the basic criteria required for reporting decisions; and
  • suitable criteria for the selection of names.
Section 4.3
  • Elections Canada will facilitate the provision of information to commissions through information sessions and other means.
Public input before hearings No specific provision No specific provision Recommendation 16
  • Amend EBRA to call for written submissions from public during formulation of initial proposal
  • Elections Canada to develop and make available standardized guidelines to assist the public in preparing effective representations
Sections 1.2, 3.1 and 3.2
  • Commissions will be established prior to the census return and will be permitted to accept written submissions at all times, including before the initial proposal.
  • Introductory public outreach will be performed by commissions.
Exceeding allowable variance Can exceed ±25% in "extraordinary circumstances": s. 15(2) No changes Recommendation 6
  • Use s. 14 of the Act to entrench specific, remote and sparsely populated ridings – and/or dense urban ridings – in law; and/or provide a different quotient for northern and southern Ontario, Quebec and B.C.
Section 2.4
  • Allow commissions to continue to exceed ordinary maximum deviation in "extraordinary circumstances."
Provincial quotient – allowable variance Allowable deviation of 25% to respect community of interest, community of identity, historical pattern of electoral districts, or to maintain a manageable geographic size in rural, northern or sparsely populated regions: s. 15(2) No changes Recommendation 7
  • If Recommendation 6 is implemented, lower quotient for remaining ridings to "perhaps" 15% in the circumstances set out in the Act
Section 2.4
  • Allow commissions to deviate by up to 15% for the existing factors and to take into account topographical features and transportation networks.
Preference for continuity of ridings No provision The commission shall recommend changes to existing boundaries only when the factors of community of interest, sparse population and projected growth are sufficiently significant to warrant it: s. 19(2)(c). Recommendation 2
  • The Act to contain language that clearly prefers continuity of ridings and riding patterns as the starting point
Section 2.3
  • A commission should not change existing electoral boundaries unless the commission believes that the changes in population and communities warrant such a change so as to ensure effective representation.
Number of commission proposals Commission makes one proposal: s. 19(3) In initial advertisement, commission makes a proposal and provides information on two others which have not been selected: ss. 18, 20(3) Recommendation 12
  • Provide no fewer than two different proposals for certain regions of the province
  • No recommendation
Communities of interest Not defined Community of interest "includes such factors as the economy, existing or traditional boundaries of electoral districts, the urban or rural characteristics of a territory, the boundaries of municipalities and Indian reserves, natural boundaries and access to means of communication and transportation": s. 19(5). Recommendation 3
  • Clearly define communities of interest and identity in the Act
  • Elections Canada to furnish to commissions standardized materials to assist in interpreting of these terms
Section 2.1
  • Sets out factors to be considered when applying concept of community
  • Official Languages Act to be followed as required by statute
Respect for geographic integrity of Indian reserves No specific provision Included in definition of community of interest in s. 19(5) No recommendation Section 2.2
  • A provision should be added that Indian reserves shall not be divided between two or more electoral districts, except in circumstances where it is clear to the commissioners that such division is necessary to achieve effective representation. If a commission chooses to divide a reserve between two or more districts, it shall explain its reasons for doing so in its report.
Topography and transportation routes No explicit mention of these factors "Community of interest" includes a number of factors including "natural boundaries and access to means of communication and transportation": s. 19(5). Recommendation 5
  • The commissions should pay close attention to topography and transportation routes.
Section 2.5
  • Commissions should be required to consider topography and transportation routes in drawing boundaries, and may use these factors to deviate from the quotient.
Projected population growth No provision In drawing electoral boundaries, commission to consider "the probability that there will be a substantial increase in the population of an electoral district" in the next five years: s. 19(2)(b)(iii). Recommendation 8
  • Amend s. 15(1)(b) of the Act to include future growth as criterion for consideration
No recommendation
Advertising of commission proposals Publication in the Canada Gazette and newspaper inserts (including the names, populations and maps of the district): s. 19(3) The CEO shall publish the notice in the Canada Gazette and by whatever method he deems most appropriate: s. 20(4). Recommendation 15
  • Elections Canada to consider suggestions on multiple media strategies, including television and radio, and this advice to be the basis for any alterations to the Act on advertising
Section 3.3
  • The commissions will be given the express power to disseminate the initial proposals, by whatever means they believe are most appropriate to achieve the broadest dissemination of the information therein.
Engaging community leaders No specific provision No specific provision No recommendation Section 3.4
  • A provision should be added to the Act stating that commissions shall endeavour to communicate with groups representing citizens' interests in the province regarding the commissions' initial proposals and the methods for making representations to the commissions.
Public information and educational plans No specific provision No specific provision No recommendation Section 3.7
  • A provision should be added to the Act to provide the Chief Electoral Officer with the express authority to implement public education and information programs to make the electoral boundaries readjustment process better known to the public.
Timing of commencement of public hearings Hearings can commence no sooner than 60 days after publication of proposal No change Recommendation 14
  • Hearing can commence no sooner than 30 days after publication of proposal
Section 1.3
  • Public hearings can commence no sooner than 30 days after publication of proposal.
Requirement for notice to be given to make a representation at public hearing The Act provides that no representation shall be heard unless a notice has been received by the commission within 53 days of the publication of its advertisement. The notice must include the name of the person presenting, the nature of the representation to be made and the interest of the person: s. 19(5). No change Recommendation 13
  • Remove requirement for notice to be given in order to appear before a commission
Section 3.5
  • Retain notice, but commissions to have the power to waive any aspect of the notice, including the notice itself
Second public hearing Not provided for in Act Possibility if:
  • 25% of population of a proposed electoral district is affected by changes made to the initial proposal;
  • commission so decides; or
  • CEO so orders.
Hearing to be held no sooner than 30 days after publication of notice of hearing and details of amended plan: s. 21
Recommendation 17
  • Provide second hearings for ridings where there has been a change between the initial and final proposals.
Section 3.6
  • Opportunity for public to submit written comments following MP objection round
Contents of commission report Commission report shall include the electoral district descriptions, boundaries, populations and names: s. 20. Contents not specified: s. 22 Recommendation 10
  • The reporting format of electoral boundaries commissions should be standardized and include the rationale for their decisions and an explanation of how the commissions carried out their work.
Section 4.4
  • Standardized criteria for writing commission report to be included in the statute.
Mechanisms for better parliamentary input N/A
  • Mechanisms not specified
  • Parliamentary objection stage removed from the process
Recommendation 19
  • MPs should be better informed of the purpose of the Act, including the role and powers of the committee appointed under the Act.
Recommendation 21
  • In order to achieve better coordination between the commissions, Elections Canada and the House:
    • House committee should be formed concurrent with formation of commissions;
    • Elections Canada should present to the committee a copy of all documents or information provided to the commissions or the public as well as transcripts of the hearings.
Section 3.8
  • Elections Canada should be given the express authority to continue to develop materials and present information sessions to MPs concerning redistribution and the role of MPs in the process.
Changing electoral district names N/A No new provisions Recommendation 9
  • The Act should be amended so if there is an objection to a name and it is the unanimous recommendation of the House committee, the commission shall follow the recommendation of the committee.
Section 5.3
  • Section 23 should be amended to provide that if the House committee objects to a name proposed by a commission, and proposes an alternative name, the commission shall be bound to accept that name unless the commission later receives public input regarding the name of the district. If a member of the public objects to the committee's choice, the commission shall decide on the most appropriate name.
Appeal mechanism No appeal mechanism provided for. Review of commission decisions possible through judicial review in Federal Court of Canada. No new provisions Recommendation 18
  • New body composed of three federal judges to hear appeals
  • Appeal may only be put forward where significant opposition was registered, or where commission has not deviated in substance from initial proposal despite mandatory second public review; and when recommendation for change has been made by the relevant committee of the House. Appeal to be dispensed of in a timely manner.
Section 5.1
  • Applications for review on questions of law to the Federal Court of Appeal. Provisions to ensure continued use of boundaries being appealed.
Correction of clerical errors No provision No provision No recommendation Section 5.2
  • The Chief Electoral Officer should be given the power to correct clerical errors in a report. If the CEO exercises this power, he or she must make a report to the Speaker of the House.
  • The power of the CEO to correct clerical errors should cease at the coming into force of the new boundaries if the error to be corrected affected the population of the districts involved.
Date representation order in force Order in force on the first dissolution of Parliament to occur at least one year after the proclamation of the order is issued: s. 25. Change time period to seven months after the representation order is made: s. 24 Recommendation 20
  • Change time period to 180 days after the representation order is proclaimed
Section 1.4
  • Change time period to seven months after representation order is proclaimed, but if there is a general election during that seven-month period, the period is extended for an additional seven months after the return of the writs.
Additional administrative requirements for Elections Canada under the Act N/A No provision No provision in statute for administrative support Section 4.2
  • Make express that Elections Canada shall make available administrative support to electoral boundaries commissions
Section 4.5
  • Following a redistribution, the CEO may report to Parliament on any amendments that are desirable for the better administration of the Act.