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Assistant returning officer

The Assistant Returning Officer (ARO) assists the Returning Officer (RO) in duties related to an electoral event. The RO may delegate specific responsibilities to the ARO. The ARO may be required to replace the RO.

The RO may ask the ARO to help carry out pre-event assignments, such as searching for potential office space, selecting potential polling places, and planning targeted revision.

Position description

Key activities

  • Plan and organize voting.
  • Assist in and direct the work of election officers and office staff.
  • Manage and control financial, material and human resources.
  • Establish floor plans and supervise office set-up.
  • Administer the Canada Elections Act.
  • Communicate information to the public, candidates, political parties and Elections Canada (EC).
  • Contribute to managing and improving the electoral process.
  • Oversee office safety and security.



  • Managing and controlling financial, material and human resources
  • Planning and organizing large, multi-faceted public events
  • Recruiting, selecting and training human resources
  • Negotiating accommodation space and essential services
  • Maintaining inventory, supplying and distributing material
  • Managing media relations
  • Communicating information to general public
  • Using Windows-based computer applications

Knowledge of

  • The federal electoral process
  • The Electoral District in which he resides
  • Roles and responsibilities of election officers and office staff
  • Common office automation tools and how to apply them for the efficient conduct of an electoral event


  • Organizational skills to understand the substance of the work and how best to achieve it
  • Planning and scheduling skills to allocate and track time spent on work and to estimate workload requirements
  • Budgeting skills to estimate resources required and to effectively manage allocated budget
  • Interviewing skills to evaluate the abilities of potential employees to effectively carry out their duties
  • Leadership skills to develop and establish performance expectations and goals for election officers and staff
  • Decision-making skills to establish relevance of issues, information and inquiries and to exercise sound judgment in arriving at conclusions and/or solutions
  • Analytical reasoning skills to understand and synthesize issues, identify relevant information and formulate an opinion
  • Conflict resolution skills to address issues that arise between and among staff, political party/candidate representatives, electors, media and EC
  • Listening and reading skills to perceive, interpret and/or understand messages, concepts or ideas, written instructions in manuals/guides and directives from EC or others
  • Keyboarding proficiency to write electronic messages and instructions.
  • Communication skills to effectively provide instructions, discuss issues and provide appropriate responses; to simplify complex ideas/concepts into plain language and to clearly convey information and messages to election officers, other people within the office, and at other offices within the ED; also externally to electors, election officers and to EC and the Chief Electoral Officer

Personal suitability

  • Remains impartial at all times and in all dealings
  • Maintains a professional demeanour at all times and foster such in all election officers and office staff
  • Remains focused and committed to the electoral process
  • Exercises tact and common sense when dealing with electors who may have complaints and with candidates' representatives who are competing with each other
  • Remains sensitive and responsive to the special needs of electors, candidates and their representatives, election officers and office staff, and foster this attitude in election officers and office staff to ensure that all situations are dealt with in the most appropriate way