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Attitudes of Canadians toward Online Registration (2004–2011)


The Canada Elections Act (section 18.1) provides the Chief Electoral Officer with the power to explore and test new technologies to make the electoral process more accessible. In its Strategic Plan for 2013–2018, Elections Canada has committed to increasing voter accessibility by implementing a registration process that allows electors to register in person, or by mail, telephone or Internet.Footnote 2

Furthermore, the 2013–2016 Business Plan proposes to encourage all voters to use online registration to ensure they are registered at the right address before voting.Footnote 3

Previous research has supported the viability of online voter registration. For instance, a feasibility study completed in 2003 showed that online voter registration could offer benefits of convenience and accessibility for electors and improve Elections Canada’s service delivery. The study also noted benefits of allowing Elections Canada to "position itself for the investigation of electronic voting, to establish a substantial Government On-Line presence, to develop mechanisms for real-time exchange of data with partners, and to enhance the quality of the National Register of Electors."Footnote 4

It was moreover stated in the 2010 report Responding to Changing Needs that an increasing number of electors and political entities want to do business with Elections Canada electronically.Footnote 5

Elections Canada launched its online elector registration service in April 2012. The first phase allowed electors to confirm their registration, update their addresses and, in limited cases, add themselves to the Register.Footnote 6 The next phase, which would allow new electors to register online, will not be possible until an authentication mechanism is available.

Footnote 2 Elections Canada. Strategic Plan. 2013.

Footnote 3 Elections Canada. Elections Canada’s Business Plan 2013–2016. 2013

Footnote 4 CGI Information Systems and Management Consultants Inc. On-line Voter Registration Feasibility Study. 2003.

Footnote 5 Elections Canada. Responding to Changing Needs – Recommendations from the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Following the 40th General Election. 2010.

Footnote 6 For those who have provided consent on their income tax return and who can enter a driver’s licence number for validation.