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Elections Canada Advisory Board – Terms of Reference


The Elections Canada Advisory Board (the Board) is established to provide ongoing advice to the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada (CEO) on matters relating to Canada's electoral system, its voting processes, and support for a vigorous democracy that reflects our constitution, deeply held values, and the evolving needs and circumstances of Canadians.

The Board is established by and reports to the CEO, who may from time to time revise the Terms of Reference in consultation with the Board.

Specific issues for study, assessment and advice by the Board may include matters related to:

  • the conduct and oversight of elections
  • electoral participation, including candidacy
  • regulatory compliance
  • stakeholder engagement, including the relationship with political entities
  • accountability to Parliament
  • electoral reform
  • such other issues as the CEO, or the Board in consultation with the CEO, may identify

In discharging its mandate, the Board may consult and otherwise engage stakeholders and provide verbal or written reports to the CEO. Elections Canada will provide the resources the Board may require, including research, analytical and reporting tools.


The Board shall consist of up to 15 members, including a Chair, or, at the discretion of the CEO, two Co-Chairs. Additionally, the CEO shall serve ex officio as a member of the Board.

The Board shall establish a Nominating Committee, which shall prepare and regularly update a list of candidates for Board membership for the consideration of the CEO. The Board may establish and mandate such other ongoing and ad hoc committees and working groups as it considers desirable. Such groups shall report back to the Board as a whole.


Members of the Board shall be appointed by the CEO for terms of not less than one and not more than three years, and are eligible for reappointment at the discretion of the CEO.

Members will be selected on the basis of their capacity to provide the CEO with the highest quality advice in matters pertaining to the Board's mandate, having regard to their integrity, sound judgment and demonstrated commitment to the public good, as well as the desirability of including senior-level experience and knowledge in one or more of the following areas:

  • politics, political processes and strategy, regardless of political affiliation
  • public service and public administration
  • legal and constitutional matters
  • academe, particularly in applicable disciplines such as political science, sociology, political participation and public administration
  • media, technology and communications
  • community leadership, engagement and outreach
  • leadership in areas such as administration, management and business

Role of the Chair or Co-Chairs

The Chair or Co-Chairs shall preside over the deliberations of the Board and, in consultation with the CEO, shall lead in setting the work agenda and the strategic approach and forward agenda of the Board. As set out below, the Chair or Co-Chairs lead in the conduct of Board meetings.

The Chair or Co-Chairs may be called upon to carry out administrative and preparatory activities in support of the Board's work, with secretariat support from Elections Canada officials, and, in support of the CEO, shall serve as lead spokesperson(s) for the Board.

Compensation of Board Members

Members of the Board shall be eligible for reimbursement of reasonable expenses incurred through service to the Board and shall be compensated for their participation in meetings of the Board and its committees at a rate of $1,500 per diem. Additionally, the Chair or Co-Chairs shall be compensated for administrative and preparatory work in the capacity as Chair or Co-Chairs at a rate of $1,750 per diem.

Operating Principles

Regardless of their backgrounds and affiliations, members shall serve in an individual capacity, having regard to the public interest, and not as the delegates or representatives of particular organizations, sectors or groups. While knowledge of political context and processes is needed, particular care must be taken to avoid political partisanship.

Members of the Board should declare any actual or potential conflicts of interest at the start of all meetings, including meetings of committees or working groups. A determination of whether recusal is appropriate shall be made in consultation with the Chair or Co-Chairs.

Deliberations by the Board and its committees and working groups shall be open, frank and confidential, in conformity with Chatham House Rules. Different perspectives should be presented with candour and accorded respect. In communicating with stakeholders and media about the Board and its work, Board members should respect the confidentiality of their colleagues and shall not attribute statements or views to individual fellow members.


The Chair or Co-Chairs, in consultation with the CEO, shall be responsible for calling, presiding over and setting the proposed agenda for meetings. The Board may adopt guidelines for the conduct of meetings. A quorum is constituted by a majority of Board members.

The Board should conduct its first meeting within 30 days of being established and meet at least three times annually thereafter, as circumstances require. Meetings, including meetings of committees or working groups, may be conducted (or individual members may participate) by any available means of telecommunications technology.

In addition to formal meetings, the CEO may also consult with and seek advice from individual members of the Board at his discretion.


The Chair or Co-Chairs shall provide the CEO an annual written report on the activities of the Board, and otherwise as requested by the CEO or as determined by the Board following consultations with the CEO. The annual report shall be made public by the CEO, who may publicly release other reports at his discretion.


Secretariat support for the Board shall be provided by Elections Canada.

The Board may establish committees and working groups and set out their mandates.