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2019–20 Departmental Plan

Planned Results: What We Want to Achieve This Year and Beyond

Core Responsibilities

Electoral Administration and Oversight

Description

Elections Canada's core responsibility is to prepare for, deliver, and report on federal elections and referendums in accordance with the legislative framework, while ensuring integrity throughout the electoral process.

Planning Highlights

Elections Canada's first Departmental Result is to ensure that Canadians can exercise their democratic right to vote. In 2019–20, the agency will focus on the delivery of the 43rd general election scheduled for October 21, 2019. Since the adoption of Bill C-76,Footnote ii Elections Canada has been working on implementing the provisions that need to be in place for the 2019 general election. The agency will finalize implementation of this comprehensive piece of legislation that modernizes electoral administration in Canada, reinforces its integrity, and makes the voting process more inclusive.

  • Elections Canada will complete its preparations and ramp up for delivery of the 2019 general election, giving Canadians the opportunity to exercise their democratic right to vote as soon as the election is called. This will involve fine tuning systems and applications, distributing electoral material to the 338 electoral districts, and support Returning Officers in securing printing and furniture services for polling stations and hiring and training election workers to ensure optimal operations at the call of the election.
  • As part of the election preparations, Elections Canada will work to safeguard the security and integrity of the electoral process by working with federal agencies with an election security mandate to prepare for a range of potential incidents and protect Canadians' right to register, vote, and be a candidate.
  • Elections Canada will also roll out a new case management system that will improve the agency's ability to efficiently manage and respond to public enquiries and complaints, as well as other types of communications and enquiries from field administrators.
  • The agency will continue to update the National Register of Electors to ensure that elector data and addresses are as current and accurate as they can be in advance of the election, thus simplifying the voting process for electors. Plans for modernizing the Register in co-operation with provinces and territories will also be undertaken in 2019–20.
  • The agency will ensure that Canadians have easy access to accurate information on where, when, and ways to vote, and on the safeguards that protect the integrity of the electoral process. In addition, the agency will monitor the information environment and proactively correct false or misleading information related to where, when, and ways to vote to ensure that Canadians can exercise their right to register, vote, or be a candidate.
  • On September 1, 2019, 338 returning officers will establish their offices and over 165 satellite offices across the country in order to be ready to deliver electoral services to all Canadians as soon as the general election is called.

Beyond the 2019 general election, the agency will focus on the following key initiatives to support Canadians' democratic right to vote:

  • Elections Canada will continue to deliver civic education and stakeholder mobilization in the form of new education and information products shared at educator conferences, professional development events, and through Inspire Democracy workshops and conferences with stakeholder organizations. These efforts will increase Canadians' knowledge, understanding, interests, and skills required to make decisions on participating in the electoral process.
  • The agency will continue development of the Register of Future Electors to provide opportunities to youth to pre-register and simplify the process to register voters when they turn 18. In the longer term, this will increase the accuracy and coverage in the National Register Register of Electors for the 18-34 age range where the gap between the estimated number of electors and the number of electors who were registered is highest.
  • Elections Canada will also continue to work to introduce electronic poll books (providing electronic lists of electors and recordkeeping at the polls) to accelerate services to electors and reduce recordkeeping errors made by poll workers at the 44th general election.

In 2019–20, Elections Canada will also deliver on its second Departmental Result, which is to promote a fair and transparent electoral process, free of undue influence. To this end, the agency plans to include a number of initiatives:

  • The agency will safeguard the security and integrity of the electoral process by working with lead security agencies to protect the agency's digital assets and monitor the information environment for incidents that could affect the smooth administration of the election.
  • A new centralized social media monitoring and response coordination unit will be in operation for the 2019 general election to support the agency's ability to detect and quickly respond to security issues, operational incidents, and inaccurate information about the electoral process that may be conveyed during the electoral cycle.
  • Following the adoption of the Elections Modernization Act in December 2018, the agency is implementing the changes to the political financing regime, including significant changes in the regulation of third party activity, to further level the playing field for political entities.
  • Another priority for 2019–20 is to provide political entities with modern tools and training to help them comply with their obligations under the Act. The first phase of a multi-year project includes a new online political financing reporting tool (EFR-online) available ahead of the next general election for parties and electoral district associations, and a paperless process for nomination contestants and candidates to file their electoral expense returns and supporting documentation electronically. The agency will also provide training to candidates' official agents before and after the general election to help them comply with the political financing regime.
  • Elections Canada will develop a new audit process to make it more effective and timely to ensure that Canadians have transparent access to all political entities financial data and that political entities operate in compliance with the Canada Elections Act. This includes a change in the way we assess audit risks and use data analytics to better identify cases of non-compliance. The agency will also finalize preparations for the audit of election expenses returns following the general election.
  • Elections Canada will maintain its presence on the international scene by attending international events. Bilateral engagements with other election management bodies, including the ones from emerging democracies, contribute to the sharing of knowledge and expertise. Active participation in these forums also ensures that the agency remains on the leading edge of trends and issues related to election management.
  • The agency will publish a statutory post-election report on the administration of the election and the official voting results. A mandatory audit report on the performance of poll workers regarding certain administrative tasks performed at the polls will also be released.

Beyond the 2019 general election, the agency will focus on the following key initiatives to ensure a fair and transparent electoral process free of undue influence:

  • In 2019–20, Elections Canada will confirm, as is required on a triennial basis, that registered political parties retain the minimum number of members to maintain their registered status. This will add to the various measures Canadians can already count on to ensure the integrity of the political financing regime.
  • Also in 2019–20, Elections Canada will continue to deliver its training program for electoral district associations (EDAs). Training sessions are offered to EDAs' chief agents and chief executive officers from November to March every year and are part of the agency's commitment to help political entities comply with the political financing regime of the Canada Elections Act.
Key Risks

Elections Canada is continually updating its corporate risk framework and monitoring the risk environment. Elections Canada has identified electoral integrity and security issues, specifically during the general election, as the key risks to delivering on its mandate in 2019–20. These risks may compromise the privacy of Canadians and their trust and ability to participate in the electoral process. In addition to the planned activities, the agency has undertaken the following actions to mitigate potential harm:

  • The agency is actively monitoring the risk environment, both nationally and internationally in the context of the forthcoming general election. The agency's Electoral Integrity Office is taking steps to monitor the information environment, including social media, for incidents that could affect the smooth administration of the election. The Office is also studying best practices in combatting emerging threats to democracy and learning from the experiences of other democracies and election agencies.
  • The agency conducted a cybersecurity audit as well as training and awareness activities both at headquarters and in the field. These complement the agency's cybersecurity safeguards and a "Security by Design" framework. Further initiatives will continue to improve the agency's security posture in advance of the forthcoming general election.
  • The agency is reviewing its event monitoring and response processes to ensure that it can quickly and effectively respond to incidents during the 43rd general election.

The agency will also be continually reviewing and updating the risks relating to the direct delivery of the election as part of its ongoing preparations.

Planned Results
Departmental Results Departmental Result Indicators Target Date to Achieve Target Actual Results
201516(42nd general election) 201617(one by-election) 201718(11 by-elections)
Canadians can exercise their democratic right to vote Percentage of polling stations that meet Elections Canada's key accessibility criteria 100% March 31, 2020 96% 98% 99%
Percentage of electors included in the National Register of Electors At least 94% March 31, 2020 93% 91% 92%
Percentage of electors who are aware of the main voting methods At least 90% of electors are aware of the option to vote at a polling station on election day March 31, 2020 90% N/A N/A
At least 70% of electors are aware of the option to vote at an advance poll March 31, 2020 64% N/A N/A
Percentage of electors' residences that are within a given road distance of their assigned polling place At least 95% March 31, 2020 93.9% 90.1% 95.1%
A fair and transparent electoral process free of undue influence Percentage of Canadians who have a positive perception of the administration of elections Electors: at least 95% March 31, 2020 94% 92% 91%
Candidates: at least 85% March 31, 2020 79% N/A N/A
Percentage of excess contributions that are returned to contributors or remitted to the Chief Electoral Officer At least 90% March 31, 2021 N/A N/A 100%
Percentage of candidates' campaign returns that Elections Canada posts online within 10 business days of filing 100% March 31, 2020 N/A N/A 89%
Election officers' level of compliance with procedures at the polls A deviation under 2% for key controls March 31, 2020 Within tolerance Within tolerance Within tolerance
A deviation under 11% for secondary controls March 31, 2020 Within tolerance Within tolerance Within tolerance

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2019–20
Main Estimates
2019–20
Planned Spending
2020–21
Planned Spending
2021–22
Planned Spending
452,267,740 452,267,740 77,937,719* 74,728,569

The planned expenditures for 2019–20 include the delivery cost of the next general election, which is to be held on October 21, 2019.

Human Resources (full-time equivalents)
2019–20 Planned
FTEs
2020–21 Planned
FTEs
2021–22 Planned
FTEs
791 507 494

The planned full-time equivalents are higher for 2019–20 as a result of the next general election, which is to be held on October 21, 2019.

Financial, human resources, and performance information for Elections Canada's Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.Footnote iii

Internal Services

Description

Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct service categories that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories are: Management and Oversight Services; Communications Services; Legal Services; Human Resources Management Services; Financial Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Technology Services; Real Property Services; Materiel Services; and Acquisition Services.

Planning Highlights

In 2019–20, Elections Canada's Internal Services will continue to support the agency. The key initiatives to be undertaken by Internal Services include:

  • Elections Canada will continue to strengthen its security posture by securing the assistance of, and developing collaboration protocols with the national security agencies for the 2019 general election. This will help the agency maintain robust and effective security controls against threats in order to protect the services and systems that support its mandate.
  • The agency's Internal Services will play a pivotal role in supporting Returning Officers through the next general election by providing the procurement and acquisition services for electoral needs, supplying technology and telecommunication services for 500 returning offices and satellite offices, and completing more than 300,000 payments for election workers and polling stations.
  • In order to start planning for beyond the 2019 general election, Elections Canada will initiate a strategic planning exercise that will involve expanded consultations with external audiences. The resulting Strategic Plan will be launched in 2020–21, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of Elections Canada.
  • Further to Royal Assent of the Elections Modernization Act in December 2018, the Commissioner of Canada Elections will be administratively moving from the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to Elections Canada, and both agencies will coordinate for a seamless transition that maintains the independence of both offices as per their mandate.
  • Elections Canada will resume its efforts for the development of a new business model for the recruitment, training, and remuneration of election workers. The new model, including the replacement of two aging financial systems, will be developed and implemented in preparation for the 44th general election.
Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2019–20
Main Estimates
2019–20
Planned Spending
2020–21
Planned Spending
2021–22
Planned Spending
40,968,036 40,968,036 35,706,323 36,124,790

The planned expenditures for 2019–20 include the cost for supporting the delivery of the next general election, which is to be held on October 21, 2019.

Human Resources (full-time equivalents)
2019–20 Planned
Full-time Equivalents
2020–21 Planned
Full-time Equivalents
2021–22 Planned
Full-time Equivalents
229 239 241