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Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Following the September 17, 2007, By-elections Held in Outremont, Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean and Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot

Advancing Our Mandate

As a complement to our mandated priorities and our response to legislative change, Elections Canada strives for ongoing improvement: refining the electoral process and our internal operations, and re-examining our relationships with Parliament, the public and other stakeholders.

Mandate, mission and vision

The Elections Canada Strategic Plan 2008–2013 refines the agency's mandate, mission and vision.

Mandate – Elections Canada is an independent, non-partisan agency that reports directly to Parliament. We must be prepared at all times to conduct a federal general election, by-election or referendum, administer the political financing provisions of the Canada Elections Act, monitor compliance and enforce electoral legislation. Elections Canada is also mandated to conduct voter education and information programs, and provide support to the independent boundaries commissions in charge of adjusting the boundaries of federal electoral districts following each decennial census. Finally, Elections Canada may carry out studies on alternative voting methods and, with the approval of Parliament, test electronic voting processes for future use during electoral events.

Mission – Ensuring that Canadians can exercise their democratic rights to vote and be a candidate.

Vision – An accessible electoral framework that Canadians trust and use.

Strategic Plan 2008–2013

In recent years, an unpredictable election cycle, considerable amounts of legislative change affecting Elections Canada's operations and mounting challenges in the areas of human resources and information technology (IT) have highlighted the need to re-examine our priorities, engage in longer-term planning and set up a framework for managing decisions.

In the fall of 2007, after undertaking a comprehensive review of our internal and external environment, Elections Canada completed its Strategic Plan 2008–2013. This plan sets out three strategic objectives.

  • Accessibility: Elections Canada will strive to increase the accessibility of the electoral process by testing innovative ways to vote and offering electors additional ways to register. Under the Canada Elections Act, some of these innovations would require prior approval from Parliament. Our mandate now permits Elections Canada to study alternative voting methods.

  • Trust: Elections Canada will strive to maintain and strengthen the recognition among participants in the electoral process that we administer the Canada Elections Act fairly, consistently, effectively and transparently.

  • Engagement: Elections Canada will strive to increase young Canadians' understanding of the importance of voting and becoming candidates in elections. We will seek to collaborate more effectively with parliamentarians and political parties to further strengthen the electoral process.

Each of these objectives has implications for Elections Canada's approach to human resources, IT systems, governance and communications.

Our strategic plan will guide us as we work together to promote participation in the electoral system, refining it to the benefit of voters, without adding to the administrative and regulatory burden faced by political entities in complying with the Canada Elections Act.