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Spending and human resources2020–21 Departmental Plan

This section provides an overview of the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer's planned spending and human resources for the next three consecutive fiscal years and compares planned spending for the upcoming year with the current and previous years' actual spending.

Financial framework

Elections Canada's unique dual-funding mechanism and planning practices are part of its mandate. The agency is partly funded by an annual appropriation that covers the salaries of its indeterminate positions and is not affected by the electoral cycle. The agency also has a statutory authority that allows it to draw directly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for all other expenses. The statutory authority ensures that Elections Canada has access to the funds required for elections that may occur at any time and reflects Elections Canada's independence from the government.

Under Canada's parliamentary system, general elections are scheduled to take place on fixed dates but can still be called in advance, particularly during a minority government. By-elections, which take place whenever seats in the House of Commons become vacant, are also unpredictable, as Elections Canada has no control over their frequency and timing. Legislative changes and market forces for procured goods and services can also significantly impact a general election.

Planned spending

Departmental spending from 201718 to 202223

The following graph presents planned (voted and statutory) spending over time.

Agency Spending Trend

Totals may not add up due to rounding.

Long Description of Agency Spending Trend


Budgetary planning summary for core responsibilities and Internal Services (dollars)

The following table shows actual, forecast, and planned spending for each of Elections Canada's core responsibilities and Internal Services for the years relevant to the current planning year.

Core responsibilities and Internal Services 201718 expenditures 201819 expenditures 201920 forecast spending 202021 budgetary spending (as indicated in Main Estimates) 202021 planned spending 202122 planned spending 202223 planned spending
Electoral Administration and Oversight1 n/a 120,907,167 505,419,063 82,078,356 82,078,356 80,523,784 78,279,618
Electoral Compliance and Enforcement2 n/a n/a n/a 7,413,185 7,413,185 7,413,185 7,413,185
Electoral Operations3 62,296,091 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Regulation of Electoral Activities3 15,196,088 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Electoral Engagement3 10,793,892 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Subtotal 88,286,071 120,907,167 505,419,063 89,491,541 89,491,541 87,936,969 85,692,803
Internal Services 43,199,650 62,841,306 71,725,009 44,188,889 44,188,889 44,426,733 47,452,276
Total 131,485,721 183,748,473 577,144,072 133,680,430 133,680,430 132,363,702 133,145,079

1 Due to changes in Elections Canada's reporting framework starting in fiscal year 2018-19, annual expenditures by core responsibility are not available prior to that year.

2 Core responsibility added to reflect the reintegration of the Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections to the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer effective April 1, 2019. Annual expenditures are not available prior to 2019-20.

3 Due to changes in Elections Canada's reporting framework starting in fiscal year 2018-19, annual expenditures by Program Alignment Architecture are not available beyond 2017-18.

The total planned spending shows the year-to-year fluctuation in resources. The spending pattern is a result of the election cycle and is typical for the agency.

During 201718, Elections Canada worked on a number of initiatives for asset renewal and electoral services modernization, which reached a peak in 201819. Starting in 201819 the agency also increased its field operations in preparation for the conduct of the 43rd general election. The increase in the 201920 forecast spending includes expenditures related to election delivery. In the years following an election (202021 and 202122) expenditures drop sharply, returning to their usual level as election activities wind down. Additionally, the decennial Electoral Boundaries Redistribution exercise will begin in 202021. These variations affect only the statutory portion of the funding.

The agency's Voted Appropriation increased as a result of the Budget 2018 measure on Rebalancing Elections Canada's Expenditures, and following the coming into force of the Elections Modernization ActFootnote xix and An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (political financing).Footnote xx

Due to the election cycle, the annual percentage of Internal Services over total expenditures varies significantly. In the years covered in the table, it varies from 12% to 36%, with an average of 24% over the period.

Beginning in 202021, the agency's planned spending includes $7 million in support of projects to modernize the electoral process to ensure its remains relevant and meets the expectations of Canadians, and to renew assets to ensure the electoral process benefits from a secure and reliable infrastructure. At this time, approved projects include the modernization of the National Register of Electors, the migration of the agency's financial systems to the Government of Canada standard solution, and the replacement of systems that support the political financing program.

Over the next four years, the agency's total investments towards service modernization and asset renewal are expected to total approximately $50 million. The agency will provide regular updates on the projects, including resources used, in its reports to Parliament.

Planned human resources

The following table shows actual, forecast, and planned full-time equivalents for each core responsibility in Elections Canada's departmental results framework and Internal Services for the years relevant to the current planning year.

Human resources planning summary for core responsibilities and Internal Services
Core responsibilities and Internal Services 201718 actual full-time equivalents 201819 actual full-time equivalents 201920 forecast full-time equivalents 202021 planned full-time equivalents 202122 planned full-time equivalents 202223 planned full-time equivalents
Electoral Administration and Oversight1 n/a 502 784 502 515 503
Electoral Compliance and Enforcement2 n/a n/a n/a 48 48 48
Electoral Operations3 277 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Regulation of Electoral Activities3 79 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Electoral Engagement3 72 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Subtotal 428 502 784 550 563 551
Internal Services 178 216 235 244 247 247
Total 606 718 1,019 794 810 798

1 Due to changes in Elections Canada's reporting framework starting in fiscal year 2018-19, annual full-time equivalents by core responsibility are not available prior to that year.

2 Core responsibility added to reflect the reintegration of the Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections to the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer effective April 1, 2019. Annual full-time equivalents are not available prior to 2019-20.

3 Due to changes in Elections Canada's reporting framework starting in fiscal year 2018-19, annual full-time equivalents by Program Alignment Architecture are not available beyond 2017-18.

The fluctuation in full-time equivalents is a result of the election cycle, largely explained by the same reasons stated in the Budgetary planning summary. Starting in 202021, full-time equivalents increased as a result of the Budget 2018 measure on Rebalancing Elections Canada's Expenditures and the coming into force of the Elections Modernization ActFootnote xxi and An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (political financingFootnote xxii and will reach the ongoing total increase of 129 full-time equivalents in 202122. The table also reflects the administrative return of the Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections in 201920.

Estimates by vote

Information on Elections Canada's organizational appropriations is available in the 202021 Main Estimates.Footnote xxiii

Condensed future-oriented statement of operations

The condensed future-oriented statement of operations provides an overview of Elections Canada's operations for 201920 to 202021.

The amounts for forecast and planned results in this statement of operations were prepared on an accrual basis. The amounts for forecast and planned spending presented in other sections of the Departmental Plan were prepared on an expenditure basis. Amounts may therefore differ.

A more detailed future-oriented statement of operations and associated notes, including a reconciliation of the net cost of operations to the requested authorities, are available on the Elections Canada's website.

Condensed future-oriented statement of operations for the year ending March 31, 2021 (dollars)
Financial Information 201920 Forecast Results 202021 Planned Results Difference (202021 planned results minus 201920 forecast results)
Total expenses 591,872,106 144,306,392 (447,565,714)
Total revenues - - -
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 591,872,106 144,306,392 (447,565,714)

Elections Canada estimates $144.3 million in expenses for 202021. This represents a decrease of $447.6 million from the 201920 forecast results. This difference is mainly due to the conduct of the 43rd general election which took place on October 21, 2019. The majority of the expenses of the general election were incurred in 201920.