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The Electoral Reminder Program and information to specific groups of electors

Ready to voteOne of Elections Canada's (EC) key roles is to communicate effectively and clearly to Canadians about the electoral process, registration procedures and the identification required to vote. To that end, the agency has developed many resources to reach out to the Canadian electorate, especially those who face barriers to voting (youth and students, seniors, Indigenous electors, persons with disabilities, electors who are homeless and members of ethnocultural communities). Electors in these groups often lack the identification documents required to prove their address. They are less likely to be registered and receive a voter information card (VIC). Our research over the last 15 years indicates that the VIC is the main source of information on voting procedures.

Sub-populations who face barriers to voting Population % of population* Source
Youth (18–24) 3,075,285 9.2 Census (2011)
Post-secondary students 2,023,191 6.0 Census (2011)
Seniors (65+) 4,945,055 14.8 Census (2011)
Living in a long-term care facility 352,205 1.1 Census (2011)
Indigenous people 1,400,685
Footnote 1
4.3 NHS (2011)
Canadians born abroad (living in Canada) 5,261,105 16.0 NHS (2011)
New Canadians (arriving between 2001–2011) 923,053
Footnote 2
2.8 NHS (2011)
Canadians with disabilities 3,800,000
Footnote 3
11.6 NHS (2011)
People who are homeless 235,000
Footnote 4
0.7 Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (2014)

*For populations derived from the Census and the homeless population, the denominator for calculating population percentage is 33,476,688 – the total estimated population of Canada. For populations derived from the National Household Survey (NHS), the denominator is 32,852,325. In both cases, denominators include citizens, landed immigrants and non-permanent residents (for example, the NHS includes approximately 1.96 million non-Canadian citizens) of all ages, not just those of voting age. 

Services and Information for Electors with Disabilities

In February 2015, in consultation with our Advisory Group for Disability Issues (AGDI), we released our Accessibility Policy and Service Offering for people with disabilities, which provides details about the tools and services available for the 2015 general election (GE 2015). It is published on EC's Information for People with Disabilities' section, along with information in multiple formats including audio, infographic and (by summer) video. Here you will also find the AGDI's Terms of Reference and a news release announcing the formation of the group with the list of members.

Electoral Reminder Program

The Electoral Reminder Program (ERP) is a comprehensive, multimedia communication program that informs electors about voter identification requirements and when, where and ways to register and vote in a federal general election. It ensures that information is available to the general population of electors and to the specific sub-population groups of electors. The program also seeks to increase pre‑polling day registration among those less likely to receive a VIC and to communicate information about the identification required to vote.

Communication Channels

The ERP delivers concise, reliable and accessible information about the voting process and voter identification requirements using a wide variety of products, formats and channels to maximize our reach to Canadians. The communication channels include a new GE 2015–specific website, a national multimedia advertising campaign in both official languages, electronic and print information products, direct mail, social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook and YouTube) and national outreach to specific sub‑population groups of electors via stakeholder groups and organizations.

Election Website

A GE 2015–specific website will be launched at the drop of the writ. With a voter-centric homepage, it focuses on elector services and transactions: an online registration service; information on voter identification requirements; and the Voter Information Service, which allows electors to find their voting locations and provides information on the accessibility of their voting place. The GE 2015 website has a simple and intuitive navigation; respects Treasury Board standards on web accessibility for all types of users and on mobile devices. It uses newly created pictures, infographics and videos to explain complex information in shareable digital formats and features information tailored to some of the sub-population groups. All communication channels point electors to the GE 2015 website as the main source of comprehensive election information.

On March 31, 2015, we added a “Get Ready to Vote in 2015” section to EC's corporate website, focusing on registration, voter identification requirements, and accessible voter services. The “Spread the word” section has gathered in one place a voter's guide and infographics to explain where, when and ways to register and vote. This will make it easier for electors, candidates, political parties, community organizations and the media to share information widely. More information will be added during the summer prior to the launch of the GE 2015 website.

National Advertising Campaign

EC's GE 2015 national advertising campaign focuses on electoral information about where, when and ways to register and vote. Media to be used include the internet, social media, newspapers, TV, the radio and transit.

For the first time, EC will launch a targeted pre-writ national advertising campaign to encourage electors to register using our online registration service. This campaign will specifically focus on electors who have recently turned 18 or who have recently moved. Once the writ is dropped, the focus will reflect the electoral calendar: registration, the receipt of the VIC (and what to do if electors did not receive one), the dates of advance polling days and election day. All advertising directs electors either to the GE 2015 website or to our toll‑free number for additional information.

Many social media print and online ads will be translated into Indigenous and heritage languages. All ads will meet accessibility guidelines and be posted on EC's website for easy access.

Information Products

A suite of information products has been created. They are written in plain language, available in both official languages and online for easy access. Some are printed for distribution while meeting EC's objective to issue fewer print products and make shareable digital tools readily available.

The two key information products for electors are the VIC and the Reminder Brochure. Complementary products have been tailored to focus on a theme or a target group:

Product Description and Distribution
VIC

Provides information on where, when and ways to vote, as well as the level of accessibilityFootnote 5 at the polling place. This product is distributed to all 25 million registered electors 26 days prior to election day. Braille copies are available on request.

Reminder Brochure
(new approach)

Contains information about eligibility requirements, registration, voter identification requirements and a list of authorized pieces of identification.

Also provides information on different ways to vote (election day, advance polls, by mail and at local Elections Canada offices) and accessible voting.Footnote 6

This product is delivered to 15 million residences across Canada 18 days before the election. An audio format will be on the EC website and a braille version will also be available on request.

My Voter's Guide

Comprehensive guide outlines the voting process including eligibility, registration, voter identification requirements, ways to vote, what happens at the polls and accessible voting.

This bilingual product is currently available in print and on EC's website in audio format and in 43 languages. Braille copies are available on request.

ID tear off sheet and poster

Provides a full description of voter identification requirements and a list of identification pieces.

This bilingual product is available in both official languages and will be used at polling places, and is also available in 43 languages on EC's website.

Get Ready To Vote flyer

Provides information about voter identification requirements and registration.

In August of this year, this bilingual product will be distributed to geographical areas that traditionally have had high polling day registrations.

Student Postcard

Explains to student electors how to choose where to vote, how to register, voter identification requirements and ways to vote.

This bilingual product will be distributed widely on campuses following the drop of the writ. Many campuses will also have offices open to help students register or vote.

Handbook for Aboriginal Voters

Explains to Aboriginal electors where to vote, how to register, voter identification requirements, accessibility information and ways to vote.

This bilingual product will be distributed to national associations for Aboriginal peoples and all band administrators and be posted on the EC website.

Infographics and videos

Focuses on specific themes such as what happens when you go to vote, how to get ready to vote, key election dates, information for students and accessible voting.

These products are/will be posted on our website and shared via social media during the pre-writ and writ period. Alternate formats with voice over and captions will also be available.

Direct mail to unregistered electors

In addition to the focus on registration during the pre-writ and writ periods, EC will send periodic personalized direct mail to unconfirmed electors (individuals for whom we have received personal information from the Canada Revenue Agency or though provincial driver's licence registries). We will contact them to seek their consent to add them to the National Register of Electors and to validate their Canadian citizenship.

Social media

On March 31, Elections Canada launched Twitter accounts in both official languages and YouTube channels that will feature the videos mentioned above as they become available. Facebook accounts will follow in July.

We will use these media to help increase awareness of where, when and ways to register and vote, voter identification requirements, and employment opportunities, to make it easy for followers to share our digital communication products.

National outreach activities in support of communication

EC has established partnerships with over 50 national organizations serving our target groups of electors facing access and information barriers greater than those of the general population.

Through formal contracts and verbal agreements, they will disseminate EC information products electronically or through in-person briefings prior to and during the general election. These national organizations are encouraged to promote EC's online registration service in their communications and at their events prior to the election.

Community relations officers

A network of community relations officers (CROs) will once again be recruited to conduct local outreach activities aimed at these target groups. They are responsible for promoting the online registration service, providing basic election information with specific emphasis on the voter identification requirements and supporting the letter of confirmation process as appropriate. For the 2015 election, CROs will provide services to electors with disabilities.



42nd General Election Outreach Program – Information Sharing Partnerships

*This list of partnerships was current as of August 6, 2015

Partnerships with youth, students and civic education organizations

Contracts

  • Apathy is Boring
  • Institut du Nouveau Monde
  • Samara
  • Encounters with Canada
  • Fédération de la jeunesse canadienne-française

Verbal Agreements

  • Forum for Young Canadians
  • Historica Canada
  • Boys and Girls Club of Canada
  • Rotary Ottawa (Rotaract)
  • Canadian Teachers' Federation
  • University of British Columbia – Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions
  • YMCA
  • Canadian Federation of Students
  • Canadian Alliance of Student Associations
  • Quebec Federation of University Students
  • Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec
  • Universities Canada
  • Colleges and Institutes Canada
  • Polytechnics Canada
  • Groupe Femmes, Politique et Démocratie
  • Langara College
  • Vancouver/Victoria High Schools: Day of Democracy Events
  • Lunenberg County Votes
  • Check your Head
  • Be the Vote
  • Springtide Collective

Partnerships with disabilities and seniors organizations

Contracts

  • CNIB
  • People First of Canada
  • Council of Canadians with Disabilities
  • Easter Seals Canada
  • Brain Injury Association of Canada
  • Confédération des organismes de personnes handicapées du Québec (COPHAN)

Verbal Agreements

  • Canadian Association for Community Living
  • Neil Squire Society
  • Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP)
  • Accessible Media Inc. (AMI)
  • Canadian Association of the Deaf
  • Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians
  • Canadian Mental Health Association Toronto branch

Partnerships with ethnocultural organizations

Contract

  • Canadian Ethnocultural Council

Verbal Agreements

  • Institute for Canadian Citizenship
  • City for all Women Initiative (CAWI)

Partnerships with Indigenous organizations

Contracts

  • Assembly of First Nations
  • Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
  • Native Women's Association of Canada
  • Métis Nation British Columbia

Verbal Agreements

  • National Association of Friendship Centres
  • Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
  • Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres
  • Métis Nation of Alberta
  • Métis Nation of Ontario
  • Manitoba Métis Federation

Partnerships with Government organizations

 

Verbal Agreements

  • Service Canada
  • Employment and Social Development Canada
  • Department of Canadian Heritage
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  • Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

Partnerships with literacy organizations

Contracts

  • ABC Life Literacy Canada
  • La fondation pour l'alphabétisation

Verbal Agreement

  • Canadian Library Association


Footnote 1 526,657 Indigenous people live on-reserve.

Footnote 2 Of this population, 59.7 percent were between the ages of 25 to 54.

Footnote 3Of this population, 42.5 percent were 75+, 26.3 percent were between 65 to 74, 16.1 percent were between 45 to 64, 6.5 percent were between 25 to 44 and 4.4 percent were between 15 to 24.

Footnote 4 This represents the estimated number of Canadians that experience homelessness in a given year. It is estimated that approximately 35,000 individuals are homeless on any given night. It is important to keep in mind that there is no single definition of homelessness and estimates vary.

Footnote 5 Levels of accessibility:

Footnote 6 For Elections Canada, accessible voting means responding to the needs of voters of all abilities to ensure that all eligible Canadians can exercise their democratic rights to vote and to be a candidate in federal elections. The agency provides information products in multiple formats such as large print, Braille, audio and ASL/LSQ video, and voting services and tools such as magnifiers, Braille lists of candidates and sign language interpretation.