Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Following the May 13, 2013, By-election Held in Labrador and the November 25, 2013, By-elections Held in Bourassa, Brandon–Souris, Provencher and Toronto Centre
According to subsection 534(2) of the Canada Elections Act, if one or more by-elections are held in a year, the Chief Electoral Officer must, within 90 days after the end of the year, produce a report that sets out "any matter or event that has arisen or occurred in connection with the administration of the Chief Electoral Officer's office since the last report ... and that he or she considers should be brought to the attention of the House of Commons."
This report covers the by-election held on May 13, 2013, in the electoral district of Labrador (Newfoundland and Labrador) and the by-elections held on November 25, 2013, in the electoral districts of Bourassa (Quebec), Brandon–Souris (Manitoba), Provencher (Manitoba) and Toronto Centre (Ontario).
For the 2013 by-elections, Elections Canada continued to apply the administrative improvements to the conduct of elections that had been introduced during the 41st general election, held in May 2011. Examples include making changes to ensure greater accessibility of polling sites, giving assistance to electors in acute care facilities so that they could vote by special ballot and allowing the use of the voter information card at specific voting locations to facilitate proof of identity and address.
Further information on the by-elections can be found in the reports on surveys of electors, which were commissioned following each by-election. The Labrador survey was conducted between May 21 and 29, 2013, and the results are currently available on the Elections Canada website.Footnote 1 The survey for Bourassa, Brandon–Souris, Provencher and Toronto Centre was conducted between December 19, 2013, and January 24, 2014, and the results will be available in the coming months.
Since the by-elections, a number of things have occurred that warrant special mention. First, in December 2013, Elections Canada held the inaugural meeting of the Elections Canada Advisory Board. Composed of 13 prominent Canadians representing a wide range of fields, the board was established to study and provide non-partisan advice on matters related to Canada's electoral system, including the conduct of elections, electoral participation by both voters and political participants, regulatory compliance and electoral reform.
In addition, on February 27, 2014, Elections Canada held the first meeting of its new Advisory Group on Disability Issues. The group will provide the agency with accessibility advice on initiatives planned for the 2015 federal general election. It will also help identify the best ways to inform people with disabilities about where and when to register and vote during elections.
Finally, on February 4, 2014, the government introduced Bill C-23 – the Fair Elections Act – that proposes extensive changes to Canada's election laws. At the time of preparing this report, the bill was before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. Elections Canada is currently reviewing the impacts of the bill.