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Did you know?

Black and white image of a man and a woman crouching down in a room that has dozens of packages and canvas mail bags lined up in horizontal rows. They partially lift one of the canvas bags to get a better look
Elections Canada employees prepare election supplies for shipping in the 1960s, more than 50 years after Elections Canada was created. Credit: National Film Board

Did you know Elections Canada's responsibilities go beyond what you see when you go to vote?

As the agency turns 100, here are 10 lesser-known facts about Elections Canada and its work.

  1. Elections Canada is the longest-standing independent electoral commission in the world. Before it was created in 1920, Canada's federal elections were run by government officials.
  2. The Chief Electoral Officer is the only Canadian citizen over the age of 18 who, by law, is not allowed to vote in federal elections. This is because he or she has a duty to uphold the principles or absolute neutrality and non-partisanship.
  3. Elections Canada conducted its last Canada-wide, door-to-door enumeration more than 20 years ago. Today, the agency maintains a permanent, continually updated database called the National Register of Electors. It contains the information of Canadians who are eligible to vote.
  4. On the day of a federal election, Elections Canada becomes the largest employer in the country. The agency hires about 250,000 people in communities across Canada.
  5. Elections Canada is required by law to hold federal elections on a Monday. If the Monday is a federal or provincial holiday, then the election is moved to a Tuesday.
  6. Canada's smallest riding, Toronto Centre, is only 6 km2 but has nearly three times the population of Nunavut (2,093,190 km2), Canada's largest riding.
  7. An independent commission redraws Canada's federal election districts every 10 years to reflect changes in the population. Elections Canada provides technical assistance for the process, which will begin again after the 2021 census.
  8. There were 21 federal political parties registered with Elections Canada during the 2019 election. The number of registered parties is always changing. Elections Canada oversees the registration process and ensures parties meet the legal requirements to stay registered.
  9. Elections Canada meets with several advisory groups to share information. These include an advisory committee of political parties, an advisory group for disability issues and an advisory circle of educators.
  10. Elections Canada administers the Canada Elections Act, but a different body, known as the Commissioner of Canada Elections, is responsible for enforcing it. The Commissioner's office independently investigates possible offences and determines if any election laws have been broken.

Fun Fact – Shared Anniversaries

Elections Ontario is also celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2020. Ontario created a permanent Chief Election Officer position in 1920. However the position and office didn't become independent from government until much later.