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Information for Indigenous Electors

Research shows that Indigenous electors still face several barriers to participating in federal elections. Since 1990, we have worked hard to make the federal electoral process more accessible to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit electors. The Chief Electoral Officer often seeks to consult representatives of national and regional Indigenous organizations. We want to help Indigenous electors exercise their right to vote in a federal election.

Addressing the barriers

We are working with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities to offer better election services in their communities.

Voter Information in Indigenous languages: For the 2019 federal election, we provided voting and ID information in printable format in more than a dozen indigenous languages:

  • Atikamekw
  • Blackfoot
  • Denesuline
  • Gwich'in
  • Inuktitut
  • Innu (Montagnais)
  • Michif
  • Mi'kmaq
  • Mohawk
  • Moose-Cree
  • Nisga'a
  • Ojibway
  • Oji-Cree
  • Plains Cree
  • Salteaux
  • Stoney

Indigenous Elder and Youth Program: The Elder and youth offer interpretation services, help explain the voting process and answer general questions. This service is offered at any polling station that services mainly Indigenous electors. For the 2019 federal election, increased efforts were deployed to increase the participation in the program.

Elections Canada offices on post-secondary campuses: We offer special ballot voting services at numerous post-secondary institutions. For the 2019 federal election, we set up offices at more than 115 post-secondary campuses in all 10 provinces and all three territories. This helped us extend our reach to Indigenous students and youth. Electors were also able to vote at these offices, regardless of where they live, making it easier for Indigenous electors to cast ballots while away from their home communities.

Community relations officers for Indigenous electors: We enhanced the Community Relations Officer Program for the 2019 federal election. Community relations officers worked with local leaders to improve access to registration and voting in communities. These officers provided information on when, where and ways to register and vote, as well as on the tools and services available to electors. The program also included opportunities for Métis communities.

Voting locations in First Nations communities: For the 2019 federal election, we increased the number of advance and election day polling stations on reserves. Returning officers began reaching out to these communities in the summer of 2018.

Collaboration with Indigenous organizations: We maintain relationships with national and regional organizations, with increased activity around general elections. Returning officers usually reach out to Indigenous communities when the election is called. For the 2019 federal election, returning officers contacted Indigenous communities beginning in the spring of 2018, as part of their planning for polling stations.

Remote Indigenous communities: We have launched a pilot project in 87 remote communities across 27 electoral districts where barriers to registration and voting were found to be higher than elsewhere. This project helped returning officers build ongoing relationships with community leaders to plan election services for their communities.

Advertising campaign: Ads for each phase of our advertising campaign planned for the 2019 federal election appeared in English, French and/or Inuktitut on Indigenous TV and radio networks, in Indigenous print publications and on Indigenous digital networks.

It's Our Vote: The 2019 federal election advertising campaign gave Canadians the information they needed to become a candidate, work at an election, register and vote. This social and digital campaign helped reduce barriers to voting for first-time voters (youth aged 18–24 and new Canadians), Indigenous people and people with disabilities.

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