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
2. The 2013 By-elections
2.1 Launch of the By-elections
Issue of the writs
The by-elections held in 2013 were called to replace five members of Parliament:
- Peter Penashue, Conservative Party of Canada Member of Parliament for Labrador (Newfoundland and Labrador) since May 2, 2011, who resigned on March 14, 2013
- Denis Coderre, Liberal Party of Canada Member of Parliament for Bourassa (Quebec) since June 2, 1997, who resigned on June 2, 2013
- Merv Tweed, Conservative Party of Canada Member of Parliament for Brandon–Souris (Manitoba) since June 28, 2004, who resigned on August 31, 2013
- Vic Toews, Conservative Party of Canada Member of Parliament for Provencher (Manitoba) since November 27, 2000, who resigned on July 9, 2013
- Bob Rae, Liberal Party Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre (Ontario) since March 17, 2008, who resigned on July 31, 2013
The writ for the Labrador by-election was dated April 7, 2013, and the date for the by-election was set as May 13, 2013. The writs for the Bourassa, Brandon–Souris, Provencher and Toronto Centre by-elections were dated October 20, 2013, and the date for the by-elections was set as November 25, 2013.
House of Commons seat distribution
The table below summarizes the seat distribution in the House of Commons when the writs were issued.
(April 7, 2013)
Provencher, Toronto Centre
(October 20, 2013)
|Conservative Party of Canada||164||161|
|New Democratic Party||100||100|
|Liberal Party of Canada||35||34|
|Green Party of Canada||1||1|
Local Elections Canada offices
Under the Canada Elections Act, returning officers must open offices without delay after the writs are issued. The Chief Electoral Officer mandated all five returning officers to prepare for the by-elections by researching suitable and accessible office space and polling sites and by identifying potential printing services as well as furniture and equipment suppliers.
The returning officer in Labrador opened one local office and one satellite office on April 8, 2013. The satellite office was located in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
The local offices for the November 25, 2013, by-elections were opened on the following dates:
- Bourassa – October 20, 2013
- Brandon–Souris – October 21, 2013
- Provencher – October 20, 2013
- Toronto Centre – October 22, 2013
For the five by-elections, returning officers set up 69 advance polling stations, 861 stationary polling stations and 27 mobile polling stations on election day. These were located at 58 advance polling sites and 273 ordinary polling sites. The 27 mobile polling stations visited a total of 105 sites on election day. Tables 1 and 2 in the Appendix list the types of polling sites and polling stations used in these by-elections, while Table 3 compares the types of polling sites used to those used in the 41st general election. Table 4 lists the polling sites that met Elections Canada's accessibility criteria.
Recruiting election officers
To fill election officer positions, returning officers turned to:
- names of potential election officers provided by candidates of the registered political parties whose candidates finished first or second in the last election; however, candidates in only two electoral districts submitted names (131 names in Bourassa and 2 in Brandon–Souris)
- online applications submitted through the Elections Canada website; 1,172 were submitted across all five electoral districts
- applications received following print and radio media placement
- names of election officers from previous elections
In addition, to improve the recruitment process, Elections Canada added an Employment area to its website, an initiative begun for the 41st general election, which featured an online application form for election officers to work on election day. Posters were also developed and promoted on the website and displayed in local Elections Canada offices. The "Need Pocket Money?" poster aimed to recruit youth aged 16 to 25, and the "Want to Work?" poster displayed the electoral district information and how to apply for positions.
Elections Canada provided additional support to returning officers in the five by-elections as follows:
- Advertisements promoting election day employment opportunities were published in print media and aired on local radio stations.
- As a result of collaborating with the College of the North Atlantic alumni department, job descriptions for election day workers were distributed to all alumni.
- Advertisements promoting election day employment opportunities were aired on local radio stations.
- The Chief Electoral Officer approved a request to hire workers from outside the electoral district.
- An Apply button was added to the by-election page on the Elections Canada website to promote election day employment opportunities.
- Advertisements promoting election day employment opportunities were aired on local radio stations.
- The Chief Electoral Officer approved a request to hire workers from outside the electoral district and workers aged 16 to 17.
- Advertisements promoting election day employment opportunities were aired on local radio stations.
- An Apply button was added to the by-election page on the Elections Canada website to promote election day employment opportunities.
- Toronto Centre:
- The returning officer did not seek any particular assistance.
The number of election officer positions filled for the by-elections, including individuals on standby to act as replacements, if needed, were:
- Labrador – 251, compared to 280 for the 41st general election
- Bourassa – 673, compared to 644 for the 41st general election
- Brandon–Souris – 537, compared to 494 for the 41st general election
- Provencher – 520, compared to 504 for the 41st general election
- Toronto Centre – 950, compared to 1,001 for the 41st general election
Resources available to election officers
The following resources were available to election officers during the by-elections:
- Elections Canada Support Network (ECSN) – Advisors at Elections Canada assisted returning officers and other election workers in local Elections Canada offices with day-to-day administration, acting as the first point of contact during regular business hours.
- Field liaison officers – Experienced election practitioners provided support and guidance to returning officers, kept Elections Canada informed about how the by-elections were progressing at the local level and helped with media relations as required. During electoral events, field liaison officers are available around the clock and have an open dialogue with returning officers.
- Subject matter experts – Experts at Elections Canada gave returning officers personalized assistance in unusual or unforeseen situations – after hours, on call or as a result of a direct escalation from an ECSN agent during regular business hours.
2.2 Working with Political Entities
Candidates and registered political parties
When the writ was issued for the Labrador by-election, 19 political parties were registered. Prospective candidates had until 2:00 p.m. on April 22, 2013, to file their nomination papers in accordance with the date published by the returning officer in the Notice of Election. Four candidates were confirmed for the by-election, endorsed by the following registered parties: the Conservative Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada, the Libertarian Party of Canada and the New Democratic Party. There were no independent candidates. None of the candidates withdrew during the period in which this was permitted.
When the writs were issued for the by-elections in Bourassa, Brandon–Souris, Provencher and Toronto Centre, 18 political parties were registered. The First Peoples National Party of Canada voluntarily deregistered on July 31, 2013. Prospective candidates had until 2:00 p.m. on November 4, 2013, to file their nomination papers. None of the candidates withdrew during the period in which this was permitted.
In Bourassa, six candidates were confirmed for the by-election, endorsed by the following registered parties: the Bloc Québécois, the Conservative Party of Canada, the Green Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party and the Rhinoceros Party. There were no independent candidates.
In Brandon–Souris, five candidates were confirmed for the by-election, endorsed by the following registered parties: the Conservative Party of Canada, the Green Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada, the Libertarian Party of Canada and the New Democratic Party. There were no independent candidates.
In Provencher, four candidates were confirmed for the by-election, endorsed by the following registered parties: the Conservative Party of Canada, the Green Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada and the New Democratic Party. There were no independent candidates. One potential candidate did not meet all of the statutory requirements because his nomination paper did not have the required number of signatures to support his nomination.
In Toronto Centre, 11 candidates were confirmed for the by-election. Seven registered parties endorsed candidates: the Conservative Party of Canada, the Green Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada, the Libertarian Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party, the Online Party of Canada and the Progressive Canadian Party. There were four independent candidates.
Communications and information sessions
Elections Canada provided documentation to candidates, their official agents and auditors for the 2013 by-elections. Topics included general information for auditors, candidates and official agents; political financing rules; and expenses limits for candidates and registered parties. Multimedia kits, including handbooks and tutorials, were provided to all official agents.
Returning officers typically hold meetings with confirmed candidates and their representatives after nominations close. The returning officer in Labrador sent a letter of invitation to the four confirmed candidates; however, none of them expressed an interest in attending a meeting. As no meeting was held, the returning officer was advised that, in the interest of transparency, any information or documentation requested by one candidate should be made available to all candidates.
For the November by-elections, meetings were held on the following dates:
- Bourassa – November 8, 2013
- Brandon–Souris – November 7, 2013
- Provencher – November 7, 2013
- Toronto Centre –November 8, 2013
The meetings covered a variety of topics, such as candidates' representatives at the polls, displaying or posting campaign literature, election night results, notices (e.g. notice of grant of a poll), lists of electors and accessibility. Returning officers responded to any specific questions that were asked.
Election expenses limits
The Canada Elections Act sets separate limits on the election expenses of candidates and registered political parties. The election expenses limit for candidates is based on several factors, including the number of names appearing on either the preliminary or the revised lists of electors for an electoral district, whichever yields the higher limit. The election expenses limit for political parties is based partly on the number of names on the lists of electors for all electoral districts in which the party has endorsed a candidate and partly on the number of candidates endorsed in an election.
For the by-election in Labrador, the candidates' election expenses limit was $89,852.84, while the election expenses limit for political parties was $18,824.47.
For the by-elections in Bourassa, Brandon–Souris, Provencher and Toronto Centre, candidates' election expenses limits ranged from $89,016.17 in Bourassa to $101,793.06 in Toronto Centre, for an average of $95,406.40. The election expenses limit for political parties ranged from $64,954.19 to $270,774.92 for a party that endorsed a candidate in all four by-elections.
Third party election advertising
A third party is a person or group other than a candidate, registered party or electoral district association of a registered party. The Act requires any third party conducting election advertising during an election to identify itself in the advertisement and indicate that it has authorized the advertising.
The Act also sets limits on the amount that a third party may incur in election advertising expenses, and third parties that incur expenses of $500 or more must register with Elections Canada. They must also produce an election advertising report within four months after polling day.
Two third parties were registered for the Labrador by-election, and six were registered for the four by-elections in Bourassa, Brandon–Souris, Provencher and Toronto Centre. The third party election advertising limit for the 2013 by-elections was $4,002 per electoral district. All third parties produced election advertising reports, although one party submitted the report after the deadline.
2.3 Communicating with Canadians
Each time a by-election gets underway, Elections Canada launches a multi-channel campaign to inform electors how, when and where to register and vote. For the 2013 by-elections, these campaigns included sending direct mail to electors, launching an advertising campaign and deploying community relations officers (CROs) in the field. All communication channels directed electors to the Elections Canada website and Public Enquiries Unit for more information.
As required by the Canada Elections Act, a voter information card (VIC) is mailed to all registered electors (electors whose names appear on the preliminary lists of electors). A VIC confirms an elector's registration and gives information about where and when to vote. For the 2013 by-elections, Elections Canada mailed 309,399 VICs and later mailed 10,121 revised VICs to electors who registered or updated their information during the election or to advise electors of changes to the information provided on the original VIC, such as a change to a polling site.
The "Are You Ready to Vote?" brochure is also mailed to all households, and approximately 216,500 bilingual brochures were sent to households in the five electoral districts in the weeks leading up to the by-elections. Along with providing important dates and deadlines, the brochure gives the full list of authorized pieces of identification that electors can use to prove their identity and address. This brochure prompted electors to contact Elections Canada if they had not received their VIC or if the one they had received contained errors.
Elections Canada's advertising campaign for the 2013 by-elections focused on the following topics:
- the dates of the by-elections and advance polls
- eligibility and identification requirements
- other voting options
- the VIC as an important source of information
- Elections Canada as the overall source of voting information
The campaign included two print advertisements and two radio advertisements, which targeted the periods leading up to advance polls and election day.
In Labrador, print ads appeared in four general publications. Radio ads aired on a number of stations, including on two Aboriginal stations in Inuktitut.
In Bourassa, print ads appeared in six general publications, and in six ethnocultural publications in four languages (Arabic, Creole, Italian and Spanish). Radio ads aired on several stations, including on ethnocultural stations in four languages (Arabic, Creole, Italian and Spanish).
In Brandon–Souris, print ads appeared in five general publications, including a student newspaper, and in two Aboriginal publications. Radio ads aired on several stations, including on an Aboriginal station.
In Provencher, print ads appeared in three general publications and in two Aboriginal publications. Radio ads aired on several stations, including on an Aboriginal station.
In Toronto Centre, print ads appeared in six publications, including a student newspaper, as well as in 11 ethnocultural newspapers in six languages (Chinese, Bengali, Filipino, Hindi, Spanish and Tamil). Radio ads aired on several stations, including on six ethnocultural stations in five languages (Chinese, Filipino, Hindi, Spanish and Tamil).
Elections Canada received 43 calls from the media, including three interview requests, and produced 14 news releases and media advisories.
Community relations officers
Elections Canada takes special measures to encourage the participation of groups likely to experience difficulty in exercising their right to vote or those not easily reached through mainstream advertising campaigns. Target groups may include youth, ethnocultural communities, homeless electors, Aboriginal electors and seniors living in residences and long-term care facilities.
For the 2013 by-elections, returning officers hired 17 CROs to communicate with electors in target groups. CROs provided these electors with information about how, when and where to vote, and they used a variety of channels (e.g. information kiosks, presentations, discussion groups and information materials). The key messages drew electors' attention to the voting dates and different voting options, and promoted Elections Canada as the overall source of voting information.
Table 5 in the Appendix lists the number of CROs hired, by electoral district and target group.
Website and Public Enquiries Unit
In addition to the information that Elections Canada provides electors using the VIC, brochures and advertising, electors can obtain information themselves – e.g. about registration, voting procedures, polling sites and other common topics – from local Elections Canada offices, by calling the national toll-free number, from the Elections Canada website and, during election periods, by e-mail.
Local offices responded to the following numbers of calls during the election periods:
- Labrador – 192
- Bourassa – 1,991
- Brandon–Souris – 2,908
- Provencher – 2,238
- Toronto Centre – 5,195
Bilingual staff in the Public Enquiries Unit responded to the following numbers of calls to the national toll-free number originating from the electoral districts during the election periods:
- Labrador – 87
- Bourassa – 327
- Brandon–Souris – 153
- Provencher – 120
- Toronto Centre – 779
Elections Canada's online Voter Information Service, which electors can use to determine their electoral district and polling site, received 13,503 visits during the by-elections. On election night, results were posted on the website as they became available. The site received 17,662 visits on the night of the by-election in Labrador and 48,957 visits on the night of the by-elections in Bourassa, Brandon–Souris, Provencher and Toronto Centre.
Online complaints received by the Chief Electoral Officer
Electors are able to submit complaints through the Elections Canada website. These are reported separately from accessibility complaints (see "Report on accessibility" below) and complaints about offences under the Act, which are forwarded to the Commissioner of Canada Elections (see "Electoral law enforcement").
Elections Canada received 29 complaints from the electoral districts during the by-elections:
- Labrador – 1
- Bourassa – 1
- Brandon–Souris – 3
- Provencher – 2
- Toronto Centre – 22
The topic of complaints varied widely, most commonly touching on the distance to the polling site and service at the polls.
2.4 Conducting the By-elections
The Chief Electoral Officer may adapt the Canada Elections Act under subsection 17(1) to address an emergency, an unusual or unforeseen circumstance or an error. Table 6 in the Appendix describes the adaptations of the Act pursuant to subsection 17(1) that were made during the 2013 by-elections.
In addition, section 179 of the Special Voting Rules as Adapted for the Purposes of a By-election permits the Chief Electoral Officer to issue instructions for the purpose of adapting any provision of the Special Voting Rules (SVR) set out in Part 11 (sections 177 to 282) of the Act in order to execute the intent of the SVR in respect of a particular circumstance. Table 7 in the Appendix describes the adaptations by instruction used during the 2013 by-elections.
Registration of electors
Lists of electors
Elections Canada maintains the National Register of Electors, a database of Canadians who are eligible to vote in federal elections. The Register is updated regularly with data provided under agreements with the Canada Revenue Agency, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, provincial and territorial electoral bodies, motor vehicle registrars and vital statistics registrars as well as by electors themselves. The Register is also updated following revisions made during federal elections.
During the by-elections, electors were able to use Elections Canada's online registration service (E-Registration), introduced in April 2012, to check whether they were registered to vote. Users who needed to update their registration information or register for the first time were directed to contact their local Elections Canada office. E-Registration was not widely promoted since this was the first phase of the application and functionality was limited.
When the by-elections were called, Elections Canada extracted information from the Register to produce preliminary lists of electors in the electoral districts. Elections Canada provided the preliminary lists to those political parties that requested them, and the returning officers provided the lists to candidates. Distribution of the preliminary lists of electors to candidates and parties began on April 10, 2013, for the by-election in Labrador and on October 22, 2013, for the by-elections in Bourassa, Brandon–Souris, Provencher and Toronto Centre.
During the Toronto Centre by-election, Elections Canada, as part of its commitment to ensuring the confidentiality of personal information, conducted an audit of whether the lists of electors and lists of election workers used during general elections and by-elections were secure. A certified auditor hired by the agency examined whether the controls in place to ensure the security and confidentiality of these lists at the local Elections Canada office and on election day were effective and adequate. The results of the audit will be available in spring 2014.
Table 8 in the Appendix provides details about voter registration during the five by-elections. Following revision activities and election day registrations, the number of electors on the final lists increased in each electoral district, with increases ranging from a low of 200 in Bourassa to a high of about 1,000 in Toronto Centre. In Bourassa, 2,468 electors were removed from the lists, and 2,668 were added, including new electors and moves from other electoral districts; this accounts for the small increase in electors on the final lists. The greatest number of changes occurred in the electoral district of Toronto Centre, where 4,081 electors were removed from the lists and 5,083 were added, including new electors and moves from other electoral districts.
Quality of the preliminary lists of electors
The quality of information on the preliminary lists of electors can be measured by three main indicators: coverage, currency and accuracy. "Coverage" represents the proportion of eligible electors on the lists relative to the total number of Canadian citizens aged 18 and over; the national quality target is 92 percent. "Currency" represents the estimated number of electors on the lists at the correct residential address relative to the total number of Canadian citizens aged 18 and over; the national quality target is 80 percent. "Accuracy" measures the proportion of registered electors listed at their correct residential address.
Many factors affect the quality of the lists, such as demographic growth and the mobility of the population, the availability of the data sources used to update the lists, the rates of consent to share information and the length of time between the date that a demographic change occurs and the dates that the information is provided to and processed by Elections Canada.
Table 9 in the Appendix lists the quality indicators for the preliminary lists in the five electoral districts.
Voting under the Special Voting Rules
Electors seeking alternatives to voting at advance or ordinary polls in their electoral district have the opportunity under the SVR to vote by mail or at a local Elections Canada office. Special ballot application forms and guides are widely available in Canada and throughout the world. Electors can also download the application form from the Elections Canada website after answering some basic questions to determine their eligibility.
Table 10 in the Appendix lists statistics for the ballots issued under the SVR, by elector group and electoral district, for the 2013 by-elections. These groups are defined in the table and described in the sections below.
Electors living in Canada
Registration to vote by special ballot was available to electors living in Canada from April 7 to May 7, 2013, in Labrador and from October 20 to November 19, 2013, in Bourassa, Brandon–Souris, Provencher and Toronto Centre.
Electors voting in their electoral district (local electors) were responsible for returning their completed ballot to the local Elections Canada office in their electoral district before the close of the polls in that electoral district on election day in order for their ballot to be counted. Electors temporarily away from their electoral district (national electors) were responsible for returning their completed ballot to Elections Canada in Ottawa no later than 6:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) on election day in order for their ballot to be counted.
Elections Canada made arrangements with the administrators of acute care facilities in all five electoral districts to ensure that eligible electors who were unexpectedly hospitalized could register and vote by special ballot by the prescribed deadlines. Registration and voting in acute care facilities took place on May 5, 6 and 7, 2013, in Labrador and on November 17, 18 and 19, 2013, in Bourassa, Brandon–Souris, Provencher and Toronto Centre.
Elections Canada maintains a register of international electors – that is, Canadian citizens who are temporarily living outside the country. These persons are entitled to vote under the SVR if they left Canada less than five years before applying to register and vote by special ballot. At the beginning of the by-elections, a special ballot voting kit was mailed to international electors previously registered in the by-election ridings. Special ballot voting kits were also sent to international electors who registered from April 7 to May 7, 2013, for the by-election in Labrador and from October 20 to November 19, 2013, for the by-elections in Bourassa, Brandon–Souris, Provencher and Toronto Centre.
Canadians living abroad could also obtain information about voting by special ballot by contacting any of the diplomatic missions or consular posts of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) or by visiting the Elections Canada website. During the 2013 by-elections, DFATD assisted Elections Canada in returning application forms and special ballots of Canadian electors living or travelling outside Canada by the prescribed deadlines.
Canadian Forces electors
Canadian Forces electors, whether based in Canada or abroad, were informed of their voting rights by the Department of National Defence. Commanding officers displayed notices featuring a map of electoral districts where by-elections were being held as well as important deadlines. At the beginning of the by-elections, a special ballot voting kit was mailed to every Canadian Forces elector whose Statement of Ordinary Residence recorded an address located in Labrador, Bourassa, Brandon–Souris, Provencher or Toronto Centre.
Electors in correctional institutions
Elections Canada made arrangements with all Canadian correctional institutions to ensure that eligible electors who had a place of ordinary residence in an electoral district where a by-election was being held had an opportunity to register and vote by special ballot. Notices were posted in each correctional institution, informing electors of the by-elections as well as important deadlines, and eligible electors were given the necessary materials and instructions to register. Special ballot voting kits were sent to incarcerated electors who registered from April 7 to May 7, 2013, for the by-election in Labrador and from October 20 to November 19, 2013, for the by-elections in Bourassa, Brandon–Souris, Provencher and Toronto Centre.
Voting in advance
Returning officers are required to set up advance polling stations to collect the votes of electors who cannot or do not wish to go to their ordinary polling stations on election day.
In Labrador, 20 advance polling stations were open from noon to 8:00 p.m. (local time) on May 3, 4 and 6, 2013. A total of 1,560 electors (or 12.9 percent of those who voted) voted in advance.
The numbers of advance polling stations in the November by-elections were as follows:
- Bourassa – 11
- Brandon–Souris – 13
- Provencher – 12
- Toronto Centre – 13
All of the advance polling stations were open from noon to 8:00 p.m. (local time) on November 15, 16 and 18, 2013. A total of 12,293 electors (or 11.8 percent of those who voted) voted in advance during the four by-elections.
In all, 13,853 electors voted in advance during the five by-elections, or 11.9 percent of all voters. This compares to 14 percent of electors who cast votes at the advance polls in the 41st general election.
Voting on election day
In Labrador, Bourassa and Toronto Centre, all of the polls opened on time. In Brandon–Souris, one poll opened late because the poll clerk had gone to the wrong location. However, no electors were kept waiting during the delay; in fact, no elector arrived for another hour after the poll opened. In Provencher, one poll opened a little late because it was missing a poll book. As no electors were waiting to vote, this late opening did not cause any inconvenience.
Casting a ballot at a polling station on election day remained the choice of the vast majority of electors during the five by-elections: 100,260 electors chose this option, or 86.4 percent of all voters. This compares to the 83.8 percent of all those who cast votes on election day in the 41st general election.
Voter turnout for the by-elections was as follows:
- Labrador – 58.8 percent
- Bourassa – 26.9 percent
- Brandon–Souris – 44.3 percent
- Provencher – 33.4 percent
- Toronto Centre – 37.7 percent
Table 11 in the Appendix shows the number of ballots cast in the by-elections and the overall voter turnout. Voter turnout in Labrador was higher than in the 41st general election of May 2011. Voter turnout was lower in the other by-elections compared to the 41st general election; this is comparable to past by-elections.
Report on accessibility
A Polling Site Accessibility Feedback Form is available at all polling locations and local Elections Canada offices as well as on the Elections Canada website. Electors have the option to file complaints about accessibility at the polling site when they vote, or by telephone, fax, e-mail or regular mail.
For the 2013 by-elections, all polling sites in all five electoral districts met Elections Canada's accessibility criteria.
During the 2013 by-elections, 324 accessibility feedback forms were submitted. Of these, 69 reported 127 accessibility issues. The remaining forms either did not relate to accessibility or recorded compliments.
Returning officers are responsible for reviewing all the forms submitted, taking appropriate remedial action where required and following up with those electors who request to be contacted.
The table below provides a breakdown of complaints received. All accessibility issues were reviewed and addressed, and all files have been closed.
|Accessibility category||Number of complaints||Percentage of total complaints (%)|
|Walkways and pathways||14||11|
|Interior accessible routes||15||12|
¹ One form can report on issues in multiple categories. The 127 issues summarized above were reported on 69 forms.
On election night, each returning officer logged into his or her local Event Results System (ERS) and then connected to Elections Canada's central computer. When ballot-counting was completed at each polling station, the deputy returning officer called in the results to the local Elections Canada office, where totals were entered into the ERS, then transmitted to Elections Canada for posting on its website. Some ballots cast under the SVR were counted at Elections Canada in Ottawa on election night.
The by-election results were as follows:
- Labrador – Yvonne Jones, Liberal Party of Canada, was elected
- Bourassa – Emmanuel Dubourg, Liberal Party of Canada, was elected
- Brandon–Souris – Larry Maguire, Conservative Party of Canada, was elected
- Provencher – Ted Falk, Conservative Party of Canada, was elected
- Toronto Centre – Chrystia Freeland, Liberal Party of Canada, was elected
Table 12 in the Appendix lists the valid votes obtained, by candidate, in the five by-elections.
Validation of results
Returning officers validate the results as soon as possible after election day. The validations were completed as follows:
- Labrador – May 21, 2013 (originally scheduled for May 17; however, bad weather prevented the timely return of the ballot boxes)
- Bourassa and Toronto Centre – November 26, 2013
- Brandon–Souris and Provencher – November 27, 2013
Return of the writs
A returning officer must hold the writ for six days after the validation of the results to allow time for candidates and electors to request a recount. No recounts were requested, and the writs were returned as follows:
- Labrador – May 31, 2013
- Bourassa and Toronto Centre – December 3, 2013
- Brandon–Souris and Provencher – December 4, 2013
Elections Canada publishes official voting results about three months after an election. These publications contain the poll-by-poll results for each electoral district as well as various statistics. The official results for the Labrador by-election were published in August 2013; the official results for the November 2013 by-elections were published in February 2014. The official voting results for all five by-elections are also available on the Elections Canada website.Footnote 2
Electoral law enforcement
The Commissioner of Canada Elections is an independent officer whose duty is to ensure that the Canada Elections Act and the Referendum Act are complied with and enforced.
The Office of the Commissioner received 25 complaints regarding the 2013 by-elections. The Office was able to quickly resolve four complaints, three of which concerned the refusal to give canvassers entry to residential buildings. Two of these three were resolved by contacting the manager of the buildings and explaining to him the conditions under which access had to be given.
The allegations made in 15 complaints did not constitute offences under the Canada Elections Act. For example, the Commissioner received two complaints regarding telephone calls. Investigators for the Commissioner promptly contacted the originator of the calls and, after listening to the recording and reviewing the scripts used when the calls were made, determined that the calls were not problematic because they encouraged people to register and vote.
The Office of the Commissioner could not pursue four complaints because too little information had been supplied.
The Office of the Commissioner continues to review two complaints: an allegation that an election sign was removed and an allegation that a candidate's representative at a poll tried to prevent the complainant from voting.
Cost of the election
The table below summarizes the estimated cost of the by-elections. The estimated cost for the May 2013 by-election in Labrador is $660,000, while the estimated cost for the November 2013 by-elections in Bourassa, Brandon–Souris, Provencher and Toronto Centre is $3.0 million. The total estimated cost for all five by-elections is $3.6 million, approximately $11.56 for each registered elector.
Approximately $2.1 million, or 57 percent of the estimated election cost, went to election workers – returning officers, staff in local Elections Canada offices and election officers – and to goods and services providers in the five electoral districts, including printers, renters of polling sites and local furniture and equipment suppliers.
Approximately $1.1 million, or 32 percent of the estimated cost, was incurred at Elections Canada in Ottawa to prepare for and conduct the by-elections. This amount included producing and placing election advertising (print, radio, Web); producing and printing reminder brochures, to be delivered to every household; delivering election materials and supplies to the electoral districts; and supplying technical assistance to support the required information technology infrastructure between Elections Canada in Ottawa and the local offices.
Another $407,000 is projected to be paid to candidates for the partial reimbursement of their election expenses.
Overall, the average cost per electoral district for these five by-elections, at $724,000, is slightly lower than the average for by-elections.
|Activity||Labrador||Bourassa, Brandon–Souris, Provencher, Toronto Centre||Total|
|Conducting the by-elections in the electoral districts – Includes training election workers at local Elections Canada offices and at polling stations; printing the lists of electors and VICs; leasing and equipping local offices and polling sites||274||1,790||2,064|
|Preparing for and conducting the by-elections at Elections Canada in Ottawa and providing support to returning officers – Includes training returning officers and other key employees; holding advertising and awareness campaigns; making the ECSN available to returning officers; supplying information technology; carrying out post-election activities||233||914||1,147|
|Reimbursing election expenses to candidates and subsidies to candidates' auditors2||153||254||407|
1 Estimated cost as at February 2014.
2 Amounts are projected; actual expenditures will not be known until Elections Canada has received and audited the candidates' election expenses reports.