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Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada on the 39th General Election of January 23, 2006

Appendix V – Chief Electoral Officer's Response to Recommendations in the Auditor General's Report

Auditor General's Recommendation Elections Canada's Response
Preparedness for an Election Call
Elections Canada, in collaboration with other public sector organizations, should pursue its efforts and explore additional ways to rationalize and improve the overall efficiency of data collection and management of information on Canadians and Canadian geography.
  • We will build on the 36 existing agreements with various federal, provincial, territorial and municipal agencies to support voter registration. The Electoral Technology Accord signed by all provincial and territorial chief electoral officers builds upon data-sharing partnerships and demonstrates their commitment to increased co-operation to achieve cost savings and efficiencies through common processes and services, shared data, and expertise.
  • We will continue to maintain the National Geographic Database with Statistics Canada, as well as partnering with Statistics Canada and other federal organizations to develop a common national road network through the Inter-Agency Committee on Geomatics, which is co-chaired by Natural Resources Canada and the Department of National Defence. Finally, we will pursue additional partnerships in this area with the Canada Post Corporation.
  • In June of 2005, Elections Canada launched a strategic review of voter registration, in collaboration with all stakeholders, to continue improving list quality and voter registration services. New partnership opportunities are expected to arise from this project.
  • The Chief Electoral Officer's September 2005 report to Parliament on proposed changes to the Canada Elections Act includes recommendations specifically designed to further facilitate register and geography partnerships, such as sharing elector data with provincial electoral authorities for updating purposes, and sharing neutral address and geographic information.
Delivering Fair and Transparent Elections
Elections Canada should assess the cost-effectiveness of its targeted revision activities, consider other options to REVISE, and evaluate the effectiveness of its communication strategy.

The Chief Electoral Officer's September 2005 report to Parliament recommends that:

  • Revising agents should no longer have to work in pairs while performing targeted revision, a measure that would reduce by half revising agents' fees, related training costs, and travel allowances. Based on the 2004 general election, this would amount to a reduction of some $2.4 million in the cost of targeted revision.
  • There should be increased flexibility in registering electors who are absent when a revising agent visits their residence. That is, an elector answering the door would be able to register other electors residing there, without having to provide proof of identification for them. This would increase registration rates at no additional cost.
  • We have already initiated a project to conduct a complete review of voter registration processes. Data management and systems for lists of electors will also be examined in light of current technological advances.
  • The advertising campaign for the 2004 general election was based on assessment of the campaign used for the 2000 election and the feedback it generated from parliamentarians and others, as well as evolving strategies for outreach to target groups. As no negative feedback was received on the 2004 campaign, the Chief Electoral Officer decided that we would use the same communications program for the subsequent general election. This decision enabled the agency to be ready with a tested program, generating significant savings.

In accordance with this recommendation, we plan to undertake a review of the campaign after the 2006 general election.

Performance Measurement and Reporting
Elections Canada should enhance the quality of its performance measures and ensure that performance targets and indicators are in place for all of its key activities.
  • We will continue to build on our experience in establishing comprehensive performance indicators for election readiness and delivery activities, to determine and refine targets and indicators for ongoing programs, particularly our advertising campaign and voter education and outreach programs for youth, Aboriginal communities, ethnocultural groups, and people with disabilities.
Elections Canada should enhance its reporting to Parliament on its future strategic direction and on the progress made in achieving its objectives.
  • We have undertaken to update our strategic plan, and in future appearances before Parliament, the Chief Electoral Officer will continue to link the strategic direction of the agency, recommendations to amend electoral legislation to improve the electoral process, and the actual performance of the organization between and during elections.
Financial and Human Resources Management
Elections Canada should develop and implement a human resources plan and a succession plan that are linked to its long-term strategic direction and objectives, and establish key performance indicators and obtain information on its performance for the management of human resources.
  • Our human resources plan will be formalized in the context of the Public Service Modernization Act, while continuing to meet the requirements of the Public Service Employment Act and the Canada Elections Act. This plan will be linked to the agency's strategic plan and integrated with the annual business planning cycle. We will also review our key performance indicators in the area of human resources management and establish additional indicators in accordance with the needs of the agency.