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2016–17 Report on Plans and Priorities

Chief Electoral Officer's Message

Elections Canada successfully delivered the 42nd general election on October 19, 2015. The election was historic from several perspectives: it was the first fixed-date election and the longest federal election calendar in 143 years; we saw a 70 percent increase in advance voting; and some three million more Canadians voted at this federal general election than at the 2011 election, resulting in the highest voter turnout in more than 20 years.

During fiscal year 201617, Elections Canada will continue to focus on wrapping up the 42nd general election. This includes seeing that the independent audit of poll worker performance during the election is completed, as well as auditing financial returns of political entities. The agency will also carry out comprehensive post-election assessments and surveys to review the experience of electors, candidates and electoral workers, and to identify lessons learned and areas for improvement.

In June 2016, I will submit a more detailed retrospective report of the 42nd general election, informed by our post-elections reviews. This will be followed in the fall by a report recommending legislative changes to improve the administration of the Canada Elections Act.

With another fixed election date set for October 21, 2019, Elections Canada has the opportunity to improve and modernize the electoral process before returning to general election readiness. A new strategic plan will guide the agency's efforts toward the next general election with a core focus on improving the voter experience.

In light of the government's intention to review and introduce comprehensive legislative changes to the electoral system, a key element of our strategic plan will be supporting parliamentarians with technical expertise and consulting with political entities and other stakeholders.

Elections Canada will also take steps to increase its capacity to support Parliament, electors, political entities and electoral workers throughout these important changes to the electoral process. The agency stands ready to align its priorities with electoral reform and recognizes that it needs to be prepared for a range of eventualities, including a review of electoral boundaries. This will involve significant multi-year capital investments, particularly in the area of information technology, as well as investments in recruiting and developing the talent that the agency needs to deliver a fundamentally different election in 2019.

Marc Mayrand
Chief Electoral Officer of Canada