3. Closing the General Election – Report on the 44th General Election of September 20, 2021
Counting and Validation of Election Results
On September 20, 2021, election day, preliminary voting results were incomplete at the close of polls because of the supplementary measures that were applied when counting special ballots from electors who voted by mail or at an Elections Canada office from within their electoral district. Notably, these integrity measures included verifying each special ballot and comparing it to information gathered at the polls in order to check that no elector had voted more than once. The ensuing delay of up to five days had been publicized well in advance of election day. Elections Canada had consistently communicated throughout the election period that the count of these ballots would not begin until September 21. By September 23, 291 electoral districts (86 percent) had completed their count of special ballots. By the deadline of September 25, 336 electoral districts (99 percent) had finalized their counts. The two remaining electoral districts finished their counts one day later, on September 26.
For the final validation of results, 332 electoral districts had finished by September 27 (within the seven-day time frame), while the validation dates in 6 electoral districts had to be postponed because of delays in the return of the ballot boxes to the offices of returning officers due to logistical and weather challenges during transportation. The last validation was completed in Nunavut on October 6, 2021.
Judicial recounts took place in four electoral districts: Châteauguay–Lacolle (Quebec), Trois- Rivières (Quebec), Davenport (Ontario) and Brome–Missisquoi (Quebec). In all four cases, the second-place candidate had made an application for the recount, which was granted by a judge.
In each case, the manual counting of ballots under judicial supervision began as scheduled by the judge seized of the matter. The judicial recounts for Châteauguay–Lacolle (Quebec) and Trois-Rivières (Quebec) were completed. In the instance of Châteauguay–Lacolle (Quebec), the recount led to a reversal of the results and gave Liberal Brenda Shanahan, the incumbent member of Parliament, the win over Bloc Québécois challenger Patrick O'Hara by 12 votes. In Trois-Rivières (Quebec), the results remained unchanged and the Bloc Québécois candidate René Villemure was confirmed as the winner by 83 votes over the Conservative candidate Yves Lévesque. The judicial recounts for Davenport (Ontario) and Brome–Missisquoi (Quebec) were not completed; at the request of the candidates who had applied for each recount, the judge agreed to terminate the recount.
There were no automatic judicial recounts requested by returning officers, as the difference between the number of votes cast for the first- and second-place candidates was more than one one-thousandth of the total votes cast in each of the 338 electoral districts.
As of this report, there were no contested elections.
Paying Election Workers
Elections Canada commits to paying election workers within six to eight weeks after election day. After four weeks, Elections Canada had paid more than 195,000 workers. As in any event of this magnitude, some workers' pay needed more attention as the files were incomplete at the time the returning officers were ready to close their offices. Returning officers have been working diligently to ensure that any missed timesheets or information is submitted promptly. Elections Canada continues to work on processing and resolving exceptional cases.
Estimated Cost of the Election
The cost of the 44th general election is estimated at $630 million. Expenditures related to this general election are being incurred mainly over the course of four fiscal years (2020-21 to 2023-24), as they include the preparation, delivery and closing of the event, as well as evaluation activities and reimbursements to political entities.As of this report, many disbursements were still being processed or had yet to be made; nevertheless, an estimate for these items is included in the total cost. Similarly, the costs related to the reimbursement of election expenses for political parties and candidates are based on an estimate. Updates to the cost of the 44th general election as well as additional details and a cost comparison with the previous general election will be made available in the Official Reports section of the Elections Canada website.endnote xxix