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2010-11
Departmental Performance Report



Office of the Chief Electoral Officer






The original version was signed by
The Honourable Peter Van Loan, PC, MP
Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Marc Mayrand
Chief Electoral Officer of Canada






Table of Contents

Chief Electoral Officer's Message

Section I - Organizational Overview

Section II - Analysis of Program Activities in Support of the Strategic Outcome

Section III - Supplementary Information

Section IV - Other Items of Interest



Chief Electoral Officer's Message

Elections Canada successfully met its main objectives during fiscal year 2010–2011.

With Canada's third successive federal minority government retaining office, the agency continued to operate in election readiness mode for a seventh consecutive year. Following the 40th general election in October 2008, we returned to full readiness by September 2009. We designed and planned a number of administrative enhancements and conducted ramp-up activities at strategic intervals to ensure that we were fully prepared when the call came, on March 26, 2011, for Canada's 41st federal general election.

On November 29, 2010, Elections Canada successfully delivered three by-elections in the electoral districts of Dauphin–Swan River–Marquette (Manitoba), Vaughan (Ontario) and Winnipeg North (Manitoba). The agency took advantage of the by-elections to introduce several new processes and technologies aimed at making it easier for electors to vote and, in general, making the electoral process more accessible. Remedial measures following the ruling on the accessibility of polling sites in Hughes v. Elections Canada (the Hughes ruling) were also in place for the by-elections. In addition, a community relations officer for seniors was added in two of the three electoral districts to lessen the specific difficulties faced by these voters.

Our positive experience during the by-elections made it possible to implement a number of these processes in time for the 41st general election. For example, the list of authorized pieces of identification was amended to include the voter information card for polling sites serving seniors' residences, long-term care facilities, Aboriginal reserves and on‑campus student residences, thus reducing the barriers to identification often faced by these electors.

Although our attention and resources shifted, as of late fall 2010, to the final preparations for the 41st general election, we continued to make progress on initiatives in support of our Strategic Plan 2008–2013.

By spring 2012, electors will be able to verify or modify their voter registration information online; this reflects our commitment to offer Canadians additional and convenient ways to register. We have launched several online tutorials as part of our efforts to allow political entities to better understand the regulatory requirements and to improve compliance. To encourage greater participation by Aboriginal electors, we developed communications products and strategies for the 41st general election in collaboration with the National Association of Friendship Centres and the Assembly of First Nations.

In support of youth engagement, during 2010–2011 we conducted research into, and developed, a new advertising campaign and other targeted communications materials. As well, we worked with Elections Ontario to develop a new civic education program entitled Voting Rules! Designed to be integrated into the Ontario primary and secondary school curricula, its purpose is to provide teachers with dynamic and easy-to-use materials to engage students in a dialogue about democracy, elections and voting in Canada and Ontario.

The agency's long-term initiative to renew its information technology infrastructure continued to progress. We completed the relocation of our data centre from our central Ottawa location to a more modern, secure and effective facility, and the development of a new central information repository is targeted for implementation in 2012. However, one of our initiatives, to migrate a number of software applications used by our local offices to a Web-based platform, encountered difficulties during the year. The disappointing performance of this project required us to terminate it. While the goal of migrating field applications to a centralized, Web-based architecture remains sound, it will be reassessed in the context of other emerging priorities for the next general election.

During the next year, Elections Canada will revise its plans in the context of its new operating environment. The recent election of a majority government and a fixed date of October 2015 for the next general election offer the first opportunity in nearly seven years to focus on fundamental improvements to the electoral process rather than maintaining constant readiness. We intend to address existing challenges while at the same time remaining sensitive to the need for fiscal responsibility as the country continues to emerge from the global economic recession.

To respond to this changed environment, and to renew its commitment to the enduring goals of trust, engagement and accessibility, Elections Canada will be developing a renewed vision and implementation plan to guide its efforts over the 2012–2015 period.

Marc Mayrand
Chief Electoral Officer of Canada



Section I - Organizational Overview

Raison d’Ítre

The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, commonly known as Elections Canada, is an independent, non-partisan agency that reports directly to Parliament. Its mandate is to:

  • be prepared at all times to conduct a federal general election, by‑election or referendum
  • administer the political financing provisions of the Canada Elections Act
  • monitor compliance with and enforce electoral legislation
  • conduct voter education and information programs
  • provide support to the independent commissions in charge of adjusting the boundaries of federal electoral districts following each decennial census
  • carry out studies on alternative voting methods and, with the approval of parliamentarians, test electronic voting processes for future use during electoral events

Responsibilities

In fulfilling its mandate, Elections Canada appoints, trains and supports 308 returning officers and retains the services of 30 field liaison officers across Canada. It also maintains the National Register of Electors, which is used to prepare preliminary lists of electors at the start of electoral events, as well as electoral geography information, which provides the basis for maps and other geographic products used during electoral events.

The agency also:

  • registers political entities, including political parties, electoral district associations, candidates, leadership contestants, third parties that engage in election advertising and referendum committees
  • administers the allowances, reimbursements and subsidies paid to eligible candidates and registered political parties and to auditors
  • monitors compliance with the Canada Elections Act, including compliance with political financing rules, during and between elections
  • discloses information on registered parties and electoral district associations, registered parties' nomination and leadership contestants, candidates, third parties and referendum committees, including their financial returns
  • recommends to Parliament amendments for the better administration of the Canada Elections Act. It does this by submitting a recommendations report after a general election as well as by providing expert advice when Parliament studies electoral reform

In addition, the Chief Electoral Officer appoints the Commissioner of Canada Elections and the Broadcasting Arbitrator. The role of the Commissioner is to ensure that the Canada Elections Act and the Referendum Act are complied with and enforced. The Broadcasting Arbitrator is responsible for allocating free and paid broadcasting time among political parties and for arbitrating disputes that may arise between parties and broadcasters.

Strategic Outcome and Program Activity Architecture

Elections Canada has a single strategic outcome, supported by the following Program Activity Architecture (PAA):1

Program Activity Architecture Diagram

[text version]

Organizational Priorities

Priority Status Legend2


Exceeded Met All Mostly Met Somewhat Met Not Met
> 100% 100% 80%–99% 60%–79% < 60%

Priority 1 Type Key Program
Maintain a state of readiness to deliver electoral events and implement a number of administrative changes for events called after spring 2011 Ongoing Electoral event readiness and improvements
Status: Met All

Elections Canada targeted two predetermined readiness dates – October 1, 2010, and February 1, 2011. As a result, the agency was able to maintain a full state of readiness throughout the fiscal year and was fully ready when the 41st general election was called on March 26, 2011. It incorporated administrative improvements into the readiness timeline to enhance services to electors; these improvements were tested during the November 2010 by-elections and implemented in the 41st general election.

With the approval of parliamentarians, Elections Canada conducted a pilot project of an assistive voting device (AVD) for use by electors with visual impairments or limited dexterity in the November 29, 2010, by-election in Winnipeg North. The objective was to assess whether this technology would be a viable option allowing electors with disabilities to cast their ballot independently and in secrecy. The agency would then evaluate the feasibility of large-scale implementation in a future general election. The agency has concluded that it will not proceed further with this device, but will continue to study additional methods that could facilitate the voting process for electors with disabilities.

Three other administrative improvements were tested during the November 2010 by-elections:

  • Remedial measures following the Hughes ruling on the accessibility of polling sites. For example, the polling sites were verified at least three times a day to identify and rectify any accessibility issues. In addition, electors had various means at their disposal, including a new form, to file a complaint if they encountered difficulties accessing the polling site, and there were posters notifying them of the new complaint mechanism. All returning officers were trained on these new procedures in September 2010.
  • Elections Canada amended the list of authorized pieces of identification to include the voter information card (VIC), which it issued during the election to all registered voters, for polling sites serving seniors' residences, long-term care facilities, Aboriginal reserves and on-campus student residences. These groups of electors have experienced challenges in meeting the voter identification requirements, especially proving their address.
  • Previously, Elections Canada's community relations officers had served four groups of electors: youth, ethnocultural communities, Aboriginal communities and homeless electors. During these by‑elections, we added another group: seniors, who can encounter specific difficulties, particularly when it comes to providing information, as evidenced by feedback received after the 40th general election.

More information on these initiatives is available in the Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Following the November 29, 2010, By-elections Held in Dauphin–Swan River–Marquette, Vaughan and Winnipeg North.



Priority 2 Type Key Program
Complete the online tutorial for political entities Previously committed to Electoral event delivery, political financing, and compliance and enforcement
Status: Somewhat Met
Elections Canada completed three in a series of five online tutorials to enable it to deliver political financing training to political entities who are widely dispersed and who might otherwise not have access to it. Developing these training products ourselves as opposed to contracting them to an external resource has created valuable in-house expertise and resulted in cost savings. Reduced capacity resulting from financial constraints has slowed completion of the project, but a fourth module is ready to go into production.


Priority 3 Type Key Program
Engage youth in the electoral process Previously committed to Public education and information, and support for stakeholders
Status: Mostly Met
Elections Canada completed a baseline review of current research. We also developed and began to implement a research action plan aimed at identifying and addressing barriers to youth voting. While the initial design of an advertising campaign was established, it was not ready to be implemented when the 41st general election was called. Based on the feedback received from students, student associations and school administrators, we launched new communications materials aimed at students. We developed, in partnership with Elections Ontario, a new civic education curriculum for grades 5 and 10. We also completed an evaluation of the Student Vote program, which underlined its benefits.


Priority 4 Type Key Program
Support the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act commissions Previously committed to Electoral boundaries redistribution
Status: Met All
The core team has been assembled, including the senior director and two assistant directors. Governance has been defined to support this initiative; it includes a senior steering committee chaired by the Deputy Chief Electoral Officer, Electoral Events. Software tools to support the commissions are being developed and are on track to be completed in 2011. Elections Canada is on schedule to launch the redistribution process in spring 2012, once it receives the 2011 census population counts from Statistics Canada, and to support the independent provincial electoral boundaries commissions.


Priority 5 Type Key Program
Implement the agency's long-term human resources strategy and incorporate risk management into the senior management decision-making process New Internal services
Status: Mostly Met

Elections Canada has made progress toward implementing its long-term human resources strategy. It has begun to integrate risk management into its decision-making processes.

Our focus for the first year was to increase access to employee training and professional development. Milestones included providing employees with access to a minimum of seven days of training each year and launching the Leadership Assignment Program. Of the nearly 600 employees who completed the annual employee survey, 76.5% reported that they had good access to training and the other tools they needed to perform their jobs well. New-employee orientation sessions were attended by 103 of 109 new employees, who collectively scored the training at 4.6 out of 5 for its effectiveness in helping them learn about the role, mandate and key activities of Elections Canada.

Our approach to incorporating risk management practices into the organization concentrated on identifying corporate-wide risks. We developed an initial corporate risk profile, which is being used to prepare the 2011–2012 Report on Plans and Priorities. Further work on this file was put aside while we prepared for the general election, but we expect to make further progress in the coming fiscal year.


Priority 6 Type Key Program
Renew information technology (IT) infrastructure Previously committed to Internal services
Status: Mostly Met

The objective of IT renewal is a comprehensive renewal of all IT infrastructure and processes. It aims to establish a foundation for improving the agility and flexibility of internal systems while preparing the agency for the next generation of e-services, such as registration and voting online.

The multi-year renewal of Elections Canada's IT environment continued. In October 2010, we completed the relocation of the data centre from our main Ottawa office to a more modern facility. By improving the performance of our business systems, we were able to renew our core technologies, thus enabling the central information repository project and e-registration project to continue to make significant progress toward their 2011–2012 implementation targets.

However, one of our initiatives, to migrate the software applications used by our local offices to a Web-based platform, encountered difficulties during the year. The disappointing performance of the project required Elections Canada to terminate it. While the goal of migrating field applications to a centralized, Web-based architecture remains sound, it will be reassessed in the context of overall priorities for the next general election.

Risk Analysis

Elections Canada's 2010–2011 Report on Plans and Priorities identified a number of risks, some of which materialized and affected the implementation of its priorities. These risks included the uncertain business cycle; the need to engage parliamentarians, political entities and other stakeholders in modernizing the electoral framework; and the agency's capacity to manage financial pressures.

Following is a brief overview of how Elections Canada managed these risks and what the implications are for its performance.

Uncertain business cycle – With the 2011 federal budget increasing the likelihood of a general election being called in the February-to-March time frame, Elections Canada made the decision, in late fall 2010, to ramp up to full election readiness. We initiated just-in-time activities, which included distributing materials to local offices and recruiting and training event-delivery staff in Ottawa, to ensure that we were ready to deliver an election at any time. As a result of our increased focus on readiness activities, other projects, including online registration and voting, were delayed.

The need to engage parliamentarians, political entities and other stakeholders in modernizing the electoral framework – A primary objective outlined in Elections Canada's Strategic Plan 2008–2013 is to engage stakeholders on key issues related to modernizing the administration of Canada's electoral framework. The Chief Electoral Officer's recommendations report following the 40th general election, which was submitted to Parliament in June 2010, meets this objective by offering recommendations for the better administration of the Canada Elections Act. The Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs began its review in 2010–2011 but has not yet completed it. In addition, further to the Referendum Regulation that the Chief Electoral Officer adopted in 2010, the Committee initiated a review of the Referendum Act. This review has also yet to be completed. As a result of needing to maintain constant readiness in recent years, Elections Canada is not in a position to conduct a referendum as provided under the Referendum Act.

Elections Canada also engaged representatives of individuals with disabilities in response to the Hughes ruling, in which the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal required Elections Canada to make significant changes to its approach to accessibility at polling sites. Elections Canada succeeded in fully complying with the Tribunal's decision by February 2011, well in advance of the 41st general election. Similarly, in response to recommendations from organizations representing individuals with disabilities, the agency also conducted a pilot project of an AVD for use by persons with visual impairments or limited dexterity. The AVD was used in a by-election but did not prove to be a practical solution for enabling electors with disabilities to vote independently and in secrecy. The attention that Elections Canada devoted to these files meant that its progress in addressing issues involving other stakeholders was put aside for the year.

Capacity to manage financial pressures – A key challenge to Elections Canada's capacity to make progress is managing its financial resources in support of longer-term priorities. Over the last year, Elections Canada concluded its A-base review, aimed at identifying resource gaps, and has been implementing the resulting recommendations using existing resources. This has included reallocating resources and absorbing fiscal restraint measures arising from the March 2010 budget.

Summary of Performance


2010-2011 Financial Resources ($ thousands)
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending
121,821 148,212 147,018


2010-2011 Human Resources (FTEs)
Planned Actual Difference*
404 551 147

*This variance is explained in "Elections Canada's Funding and Financial Framework".

Strategic Outcome

This section summarizes Elections Canada's key programs (mandated priorities and internal services), which complement its single strategic outcome.

Strategic Outcome

An electoral process that contributes to fairness, transparency and accessibility for all participants, in compliance with the legislative framework


Program Activity 2009-10
Actual
Spending
($ thousands)
2010-11 ($ thousands)
Main
Estimates
Planned
Spending
Total
Authorities
Actual
Spending

Key Program 1

Electoral event delivery, political financing, and compliance and enforcement

43,672 46,815 46,815 49,320 49,142

Key Program 2

Electoral event readiness and improvements

46,882 41,582 41,582 40,730 40,361

Key Program 3

Public education and information, and support for stakeholders

5,670 8,514 8,514 9,953 9,809

Key Program 4

Electoral boundaries redistribution

91 600 600 497 497
Total 96,315 97,511 97,511 100,500 99,809


Program Activity 2009-10
Actual
Spending
($ thousands)
2010-113 ($ thousands)
Main
Estimates
Planned
Spending
Total
Authorities
Actual
Spending
Internal services 41,447 24,310 24,310 47,712 47,209


Expenditure Profile

Elections Canada's Funding and Financial Framework

While Elections Canada performs a number of ongoing functions, a key component of its mandate is to be prepared at all times to conduct an electoral event. Under our parliamentary system, this can happen at any time. The agency's dual funding mechanism and planning practices reflect this unique characteristic of its mandate. Elections Canada is funded in part by an annual appropriation that covers the salaries of the agency's permanent staff and is not affected by the electoral cycle. Given the unpredictability of the electoral cycle, the agency also has a statutory authority that allows it to draw directly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Elections Canada's statutory authority covers all of its other expenses, including the additional expenses related to conducting elections. These expenses are not included in the agency's Main Estimates (i.e. planned spending).

The variance between actual ($147 million) and planned ($122 million) resources for 2010–2011 is due to the electoral events that occurred in 2010–2011 and the additional resources required across all key programs to deliver the November 2010 by-elections, remain prepared for a general election, and to conduct the 41st general election. As indicated above, such additional expenses are funded through the statutory authority and are not included in Elections Canada's initial plans.

Agency Spending Trend

($ millions)

Departmental Spending Trend Graph

[text version]

The $9.3 million increase in expenditures in 2010–2011 over 2009–2010 is mainly a result of delivering the 41st general election – i.e. writs were issued on March 26, 2011, and expenditures totalled $7 million. As well, within our appropriation envelope, salary expenses increased by $3 million.

As spending related to a general election spans several fiscal years, the bulk of the costs of the 41st general election (held on May 2, 2011) will be incurred in 2011–2012. While the 40th general election was held on October 14, 2008, the above graph indicates that the bulk of the costs ($226 of $287 million, or 79 percent) were incurred in 2008–2009.

The total cost of a general election includes direct election delivery and evaluation expenditures as well as incremental election readiness and deployment costs and the cost to maintain the National Register of Electors between elections. Direct election delivery costs include salaries of election personnel, office rental and equipment, and printing of electoral material for all 308 electoral districts; salaries of election officers and rental of over 15 000 polling sites across Canada; as well as reimbursements of election expenses to political parties and candidates.

Estimates by Vote

For information on our organizational votes and/or statutory expenditures, please see the publication Public Accounts of Canada 2010–2011, Volume II.



Section II - Analysis of Program Activities in
Support of the Strategic Outcome

Strategic Outcome

Elections Canada operates under a Program Activity Architecture (PAA) that includes one strategic outcome:

An electoral process that contributes to fairness, transparency and accessibility for all participants, in compliance with the legislative framework

The PAA contains one program activity: Elections. Within this activity, Elections Canada is committed to providing four key programs that are beneficial to Canadians:4

  • Key Program 1: Electoral event delivery, political financing, and compliance and enforcement
  • Key Program 2: Electoral event readiness and improvements
  • Key Program 3: Public education and information, and support for stakeholders
  • Key Program 4: Electoral boundaries redistribution

This section explains how Elections Canada achieved the expected results for each key program activity through the activities identified in its 2010–2011 Report on Plans and Priorities. It also presents the financial and human resources that were dedicated to each key program activity.

In 2010–2011, we also identified a number of major activities to improve our internal services, with the aim of increasing efficiency and ultimately our ability to deliver our strategic outcome more effectively. This is discussed later in this section under "Internal Services."

Key Program 1: Electoral Event Delivery, Political Financing, and Compliance and Enforcement

Key Program Description

This key program includes the delivery of federal elections, by-elections and referendums as they are required. It also includes the administration of the provisions of the Canada Elections Act related to political financing. This involves maintaining a registry of political entities and third parties, reviewing financial returns to verify compliance with the statutory provisions, determining the reimbursement or subsidy amount to be paid to a political entity and/or its auditor, publishing financial returns, assisting political entities with compliance through filing extensions and return amendments, and maintaining a state of readiness for future electoral events.

Finally, this key program requires Elections Canada to deal with complaints and referrals concerning contraventions of the Canada Elections Act and to address alleged violations.

2010-2011 Financial Resources ($ thousands)
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending
46,815 49,320 49,142


2010-2011 Human Resources (FTEs)
Planned Actual Difference*
68 89 21

*This variance is explained in "Elections Canada's Funding and Financial Framework".


Expected Result 1

  • Delivery of high-quality elections, by-elections and referendums*
Performance
Indicator
Results
Achieved
Level of trust of electors in the administration of the electoral process, the list of electors, the voting process and electoral results In a survey of electors taken in the three electoral districts where by-elections were held in November 2010, 85% of respondents reported that Elections Canada had run the by-elections fairly, with 66% saying very fairly.
Electors' perception of the accessibility of registration and the voting process

According to our survey of electors after the November 2010 by‑elections:

  • 97% of voters found it easy or very easy to vote
  • 96% indicated that the time they had to wait to vote was reasonable
  • 95% indicated that their polling station was at a convenient travel distance
  • 96% did not have any difficulty reaching the place they went to vote
Satisfaction of stakeholders (electors, political entities, election officers) with electoral products and services

Quantitative data for electors is available only for by-elections. According to our survey of electors after the November 2010 by‑elections:

  • 81% indicated that they had received their VIC, and 82% of them brought it to the polling station
  • 98% of those who voted in person were either satisfied (88%) or somewhat satisfied (10%) with the services provided by Elections Canada staff

*Please note that this document does not address the recent general election. An evaluation report outlining results of the 41st general election will be available in 2012.


Expected Result 2

  • Fair, efficient and transparent administration of the political financing provisions
Performance
Indicator
Results
Achieved
Level of trust of Canadians and political entities in the administration of the political financing regime Not measured in 2010–2011.
Satisfaction of financial agents and official agents of political entities with the political financing support, services and products received from Elections Canada

Elections Canada revised the content and format of its training sessions for financial agents and official agents to make them more interactive. Of the financial agents taking the training in February 2011 who had attended previous sessions, 93% stated that they preferred the new format. Overall, 99% of attendees rated the sessions as either very good or excellent.

Public funding payments comply with statutory requirements and time frames

During fiscal year 2010–2011, a total of $29,284,693 was disbursed to various political entities as reimbursement of expenses, as quarterly allowances and as audit subsidies for auditors of candidates and electoral district associations, in accordance with the Canada Elections Act.

Financial reports of political entities are published in a timely manner

Complete financial reports and audited reports are published once a week throughout the year.



Expected Result 3

  • Effective compliance and enforcement programs
  • Electoral events conducted in accordance with legal requirements
Performance
Indicator
Results
Achieved
The extent to which the work of the Commissioner of Canada Elections identifies and responds to incidents or patterns of non-compliance There were 208 files open at the beginning of 2010–2011; during the fiscal year, 300 new files were opened and 192 files were closed. In addition, 113 caution letters were sent, and three cases were referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Performance Summary and Analysis
Delivery of Electoral Events

The by-elections of November 29, 2010, ran smoothly and featured many administrative enhancements aimed at improving the accessibility of the voting process, services to electors and the management of elections. These enhancements are described below.

  • Elections Canada tested the AVD for electors with disabilities as part of the first pilot project carried out under section 18.1 of the Canada Elections Act.
  • As part of the remedial measures following the Hughes ruling on polling site accessibility, polling sites were assessed at least three times a day to identify and rectify any problems with accessibility. Posters informed electors how they could file a complaint if they encountered difficulties accessing the polling site.
  • Following consultations with the Advisory Committee of Political Parties (ACPP) and Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, the VIC was added to the list of authorized pieces of identification at specific polling sites5 during the by‑elections. Seniors represented 80 percent of the electors affected by the VIC-as-identification initiative, and subsequent evaluations showed a moderate increase in voter turnout at seniors' residences and long-term care facilities relative to their overall electoral districts. Conversely, First Nations electors in Dauphin–Swan River–Marquette recorded a very low voter turnout. No student campuses were involved in these by-elections.
  • Elections Canada added seniors as a group to the Community Relations Officer program and hired officers to visit seniors' residences and long-term care facilities to provide residents with information.
  • This new initiative – as well as using the VIC as proof of identity and address at some polling sites – showed positive results, and both were integrated into our processes in time to be used in the 41st general election.
Administration of Political Financing

Political Entities Registration System (PERS) – Project delivery has been extended to January 2012 as a result of production delays. On completion, PERS will increase the efficiency of the political entity registration process and provide Canadians and political entities with more accurate and timely information.

Audit of Financial Returns – As of year-end, Elections Canada had completed the audit of 97 percent of candidate electoral campaign returns for the 40th general election, and all payments to political entities had been processed in accordance with the Canada Elections Act. In August 2010, the audit team cleared a backlog of 4,071 financial transactions returns from electoral district associations.
Education and Compliance
  • Online tutorials provide accessibility to our political entities training program, in an easily understandable format, to individuals who would otherwise not be able to attend training sessions. In addition, improving the understanding of the political financing regime will facilitate compliance by political entities.
  • Training sessions were provided to financial agents of electoral district associations in all major centres across Canada. The format of the training program was revised to make it more interactive. Attendees indicated that the sessions met their expectations and that they were satisfied with the quality of the training.
  • Elections Canada has undertaken a complete review of all information products and tools to reduce unnecessary duplication and facilitate stakeholders' understanding of relevant information.

Reducing the Regulatory Burden – Recognizing the complexity and demands of the political financing regime, Elections Canada continues to find ways to reduce the regulatory burden placed on political entities within the regulatory framework created by the legislation. In the past year, Elections Canada has completely revised its response to the late filing of financial transactions returns in a way that will facilitate compliance by political entities while respecting the disclosure requirements of the Canada Elections Act.

Compliance Assistance Unit (CAU) – The CAU was established to focus on compliance through education by applying the new Administrative Compliance Policy. The policy addresses instances of non-compliance in a manner that adequately reflects the seriousness of the non-compliance and its impact on the integrity and administration of the political financing regime. The administrative compliance process will result in a more efficient use of existing resources.

Enforcement – Activities during the year supported enforcement of the Canada Elections Act, thereby promoting the integrity and fairness of the electoral process. As far as administration is concerned, new electronic processes were introduced for preparing reports to Crown counsel and for file disclosure purposes. These processes are more efficient and have minimized both costs and the impact on the environment.
Lessons Learned
Delivery of Electoral Events

Testing the AVD in the Winnipeg North by-election went well, but results showed that the type of device used does not lend itself to electoral events at the federal level. Elections Canada will therefore not proceed any further to analyze this device, develop a business case to determine the costs of using it in a general election or assess the implications of using this technology over the next five years, as requested by the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.

However, the project demonstrated the usefulness of testing a method of serving electors before recommending legislative amendments, and Elections Canada will use this approach in the future to test other electronic voting methods, with the approval of parliamentarians. Our experience also pointed to the need to engage parliamentary standing committees earlier in the process for the design and approach of pilot projects of this nature.

Key Program 2: Electoral Event Readiness and Improvements

Key Program Description

This key program includes keeping electoral processes, systems, databases and materials up to date as well as training staff and election officers to be ready for any electoral event. For example, Elections Canada regularly updates the National Register of Electors using the most current data sources. This key program also includes improving electoral events in response to stakeholders' concerns – for example, by implementing new legislation as well as new registration and voting methods.


2010-2011 Financial Resources ($ thousands)
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending
41,582 40,730 40,361


2010-2011 Human Resources (FTEs)
Planned Actual Difference*
211 243 32

*This variance is explained in "Elections Canada's Funding and Financial Framework".


Expected Result 1

  • State of readiness achieved and maintained to deliver electoral events whenever they may be called
Performance
Indicator
Results
Achieved
Level of agency preparation at various readiness dates Elections Canada was fully prepared to deliver both the fall 2010 by-elections and the 41st general election.
Extent to which the agency mitigates the risks of a general election called before a predetermined readiness date (e.g. contingency plans are in place for all key services)

As a means of ensuring that the agency would be fully ready for an impending 41st general election, contingency planning tools, such as risk logs, deployment decision matrices and readiness dashboards, were developed to manage key readiness activities and tracked by the Election Readiness Committee.



Expected Result 2

  • Improved delivery of electoral events in response to stakeholders' concerns and expectations
Performance
Indicator
Results
Achieved
Timely and effective implementation of changes to the electoral process

With the co-operation of the other parties involved in the Hughes ruling, the agency succeeded in implementing all related orders made by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal by the required deadline of February 2011.

The agency incorporated into the readiness timeline a series of administrative improvements aimed at enhancing services to electors. This allowed these improvements to be tested during the November 2010 by-elections and fine-tuned in time to be included in the 41st general election.
Performance Summary and Analysis
Maintaining Electoral Readiness

Targeting two predetermined readiness dates – October 1, 2010, and February 1, 2011 – enabled Elections Canada to maintain a full state of readiness throughout the fiscal year. We were able to quickly leverage the experience of the November 2010 by-elections to fine-tune our preparations for the 41st general election.

Administrative Improvements – A series of administrative enhancements, including assigning community relations officers to seniors and using the VIC as an additional piece of authorized identification at polling sites serving specific groups of electors, were tested successfully during the fall 2010 by-elections. These administrative improvements were subsequently fine-tuned and included in our preparations for the 41st general election.

More information on these initiatives is available in the Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Following the November 29, 2010, By-elections Held in Dauphin–Swan River–Marquette, Vaughan and Winnipeg North.

E-registration Project – The agency completed the project's functional design and technical architecture, executed an action plan to further engage stakeholders, began the design and development of the system and began drafting the Privacy Impact Assessment. The project's spring 2011 deployment date was revised to deliver a phased-in approach beginning in spring 2012; this reflects the restructuring of Elections Canada's IT environment and services. Full implementation will require legislative changes.

Internet Voting – During the fiscal year, we conducted an analysis of the impact of Internet voting services on various target groups, began to define the business and security requirements of an Internet voting process, continued environmental scans and research, and identified an emerging opportunity to collaborate with Elections Ontario.

Lessons Learned

"Lessons Learned" for administrative improvements are discussed on pages 23–24.

Key Program 3: Public Education and Information, and Support for Stakeholders

Key Program Description

This key program aims to inform and educate electors and specific groups about federal electoral events as well as to inform Canadians of major changes to the electoral process. This program includes activities that Elections Canada can use to evaluate its key activities – for example, by developing qualitative and quantitative research to assess its performance in delivering electoral events. Under this key program, the agency provides both parliamentarians and political parties with advice and technical support, and it coordinates information exchanges with similar agencies in other countries.


2010-2011 Financial Resources ($ thousands)
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending
8,514 9,953 9,809


2010-2011 Human Resources (FTEs)
Planned Actual Difference*
44 57 13

*This variance is explained in "Elections Canada's Funding and Financial Framework".


Expected Result 1

  • Electors become aware of their right to vote, key dates in the electoral calendar and voting rules and procedures.
  • Groups most likely to experience difficulties in exercising their democratic rights are engaged in electoral processes and initiatives relevant to them.
Performance
Indicator
Results
Achieved
Public awareness and understanding of Elections Canada's public education and information campaign

We developed the Youth Research Action Plan, which proposed to carry out a national youth survey to determine the variations in electoral participation by group and any specific barriers to electoral participation. The plan was implemented following the 41st general election. In addition, we conducted a pilot study during the 2010 Toronto municipal election, which will inform future field experiments and youth outreach programming.

We also made progress on developing a new advertising campaign to enhance young Canadians' understanding of the electoral process.

Based on the feedback received from students, student associations and school administrators, we redesigned a number of communications materials. We also developed three new information products aimed at students and youth for the 41st general election: a concise informational postcard with important details on registration, polling sites and identification requirements; a promotional bookmark with an election reminder; and a fridge magnet.

Initiatives aimed at improving young people's understanding of the electoral process included developing a civic education program in collaboration with Elections Ontario; Voting Rules! was piloted in 800 Ontario classrooms in spring 2011. In addition, the first independent evaluation of the Student Vote program was completed. It indicated that the program has increased students' knowledge and understanding of the electoral process; it has also sparked an overall interest in political and electoral issues and in the importance of voting and participating in local or community activities.

Heightened election readiness during the reporting period shifted the focus of our programming for Aboriginal electors from conducting outreach research to developing communications products and strategies for the 41st general election in collaboration with the National Association of Friendship Centres and the Assembly of First Nations.

Following the Hughes ruling, Elections Canada met with the other parties involved to increase transparency, trust and respect and to focus on communication and input. Regular quarterly meetings took place in a fully accessible facility, where all parties discussed and commented on the agency's plans for implementing the decision. Elections Canada has also committed to engaging with organizations representing individuals with disabilities on an ongoing basis.
Timely dissemination of information on the conduct of an election to Canadians, political parties and Parliament

For the November 2010 by-elections, in addition to the regular campaign, we organized an awareness campaign for Winnipeg North electors about the AVD pilot project that would be carried out in their electoral district. We conducted targeted outreach events and public relations initiatives in collaboration with both local and national organizations representing people with disabilities. We also held town hall meetings during which we demonstrated the AVD. Field staff were actively engaged in delivering and promoting this strategy.



Expected Result 2

  • Improved channels of communication with parliamentarians and political parties
Performance
Indicator
Results
Achieved
The level of satisfaction of parliamentarians and political parties with the quality of advice and technical support provided by Elections Canada

At the request of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Elections Canada provided technical advisors during the committee's four-month study of the agency's recommendations report.

At the request of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, the agency also produced a special report on the AVD pilot project it had conducted during the Winnipeg North by-election.
Performance Summary and Analysis

Youth Research Action Plan (YRAP) – The YRAP allowed the agency to clearly identify where further research was required to better inform its outreach programming and the best types of research required. A national youth survey was designed to determine whether, and to what extent, electoral participation varies across key youth subgroups and to identify the specific barriers to electoral participation these subgroups encounter. The findings of the survey will enable Elections Canada to improve its outreach programming. A study of the 2010 Toronto municipal election identified clear differences between "recent adults" (youth aged 18–21) and "young independents" (aged 22–35), and it made several suggestions for experimental protocols that could be applied to future field mobilization studies.

Advertising Campaign Aimed at Youth – The research, conducted from January to September 2010, provided key insights into youth attitudes and behaviours toward elections and voting. It also gave direction on how to best reach the youth population as well as a rationale for using social media to target this group more effectively. The findings will support the development of future advertising and outreach initiatives. The results of the research and the development of the creative concepts have laid the foundation for exploring how to use social media to deliver future public information and education campaigns. Testing these concepts and strategies will provide guidance for developing motivational and engagement campaigns.

Communications to Post-secondary Students – Based on the feedback received from students, student associations and school administrators, we redesigned a number of communications materials. We also developed three new information products aimed at students and youth for the 41st general election: a concise informational postcard with important details on registration, polling sites and identification requirements; a promotional bookmark with an election reminder; and a fridge magnet. While formal evaluations are underway, preliminary feedback on the new and revised materials sent out suggests that they were well received by the target audience. Over 250,000 information cards, 150,000 bookmarks and 50,000 magnets were distributed during the election. In addition, e-mail bulletins were distributed to 330 youth and student organizations. Student associations supported Elections Canada's efforts to improve communications to students, and they were actively engaged in both developing and distributing the materials, thereby improving their relevance and reach.

Civic Education – Research shows that civic education is linked to increased political knowledge and interest, two important predictors of democratic engagement. By developing the Voting Rules! primary and secondary school education program, Elections Canada and Elections Ontario responded to a need expressed by the Ontario teaching community to provide civic education materials to help students understand the importance of voting.

In July 2010, we completed the first independent evaluation of the Student Vote program. The evaluation showed that the program has had a positive effect on both students and teachers. Among other things, it found that the program has increased students' knowledge and understanding of the electoral process, as well as overall interest in political and electoral issues and the importance placed on voting and participating in local or community activities. The program has had a positive influence on how civics is taught, adding a more participatory and experiential component to the curriculum. Teachers reported that the program provides excellent support and teaching materials, and many reported using these tools even in non-election years. Teachers who have participated in the Student Vote program reported having increased confidence in teaching civics and government.

Aboriginal Outreach – This initiative was delayed early in the fiscal year by the need to focus on implementing judicial orders following the Hughes ruling (see below). However, research into the participation of Aboriginal electors remains a priority, and the agency is developing a coordinated research plan to advance Aboriginal outreach programming. Elections Canada will resume its research focus in 2011–2012 and begin work on enhancements to the Aboriginal Community Relations Officer Program.

Hughes v. Elections Canada – The presence of the Chief Electoral Officer and senior agency executives at the meetings with related parties following the Hughes ruling, as well as the information they presented, underlined the importance that Elections Canada attached to complying with the decision – a fact highlighted by the Canadian Human Rights Commission in its reports to the Tribunal. The working documents from these meetings evince the contributions of all parties to the resulting remedial measures and the progress made on each of the orders.

Assistive Voting Device (AVD) Pilot Project – In a post-election survey following the by-election in Winnipeg North, electors were asked whether they had been aware of this pilot project. Of the 451 respondents, 26 percent remembered hearing about the availability of the AVD for electors with disabilities through the media, in promotional materials or at the poll itself.

Through the ACPP, Elections Canada engaged with political parties to secure their support for several initiatives, including the recommendations report following the 40th general election, the AVD by‑election pilot project and the e‑registration project. In meetings with the ACPP, the agency also provided information about political financing, research into youth outreach and the use of the VIC as proof of identity and address for selected groups of electors.

Lessons Learned

Collaboration with Elections Ontario – A major benefit of collaborating with provincial electoral management bodies is their ability to facilitate access to educational institutions. This encourages pooling of resources to produce a high-quality educational product.

Assistive Voting Device (AVD) Pilot Project – Although Elections Canada has decided not to proceed with the AVD at this time, engaging with disabilities organizations has helped the agency better understand the needs of persons with disabilities. This will help develop future partnerships and engagement activities with this target group so that we can better respond to their needs.

Student Vote Program Evaluation – Program evaluation is best carried out immediately after a program is delivered. Evaluations can provide positive feedback on a program and indicate how it and other civic education activities can be strengthened in the future.

Key Program 4: Electoral Boundaries Redistribution

Key Program Description

This program activity is initiated after each decennial (10-year) census. Federal electoral boundaries and representation in the House of Commons are readjusted to reflect changes and movements in Canada's population. Readjustment of federal electoral boundaries is carried out by independent commissions in each province, with the support of Elections Canada.

The next redistribution will start once we receive the 2011 census returns.


2010-2011 Financial Resources ($ thousands)
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending
600 497 497


2010-2011 Human Resources (FTEs)
Planned Actual Difference*
1 1

*This variance is explained in "Elections Canada's Funding and Financial Framework".


Expected Result

  • Efficient and non-partisan administration of the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act
Performance
Indicator
Results
Achieved
Support services provided by Elections Canada are appropriate and allow for the effective and timely conduct of redistribution activities

Redistribution work has begun: a senior director and technical staff have been assigned, and software tools are being developed. Procurement took longer than expected, but we are on track to deliver all software tools in fall 2011.

Elections Canada is on schedule to launch the redistribution process in spring 2012, once it receives the 2011 census population counts from Statistics Canada, and to support the independent provincial electoral boundaries commissions.
Performance Summary and Analysis

It is too early in the redistribution process to analyze the performance of our support.

Lessons Learned

It is too early in the redistribution process to draw conclusions about lessons learned.

Internal Services

Description

Elections Canada's internal services and enabler groups are its backbone, allowing it to fulfill its mandate. These groups focus on IT, human resources modernization, financial and human resources management, performance management, internal auditing and delegation of authority.


2010-2011 Financial Resources ($ thousands)
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending
24,310 47,712 47,209


2010-2011 Human Resources (FTEs)
Planned Actual Difference*
81 162 81

*The difference in FTEs between Planned and Actual is a result of displaying resources for internal services separately as of the 2009–2010 Estimates cycle.

Performance Summary and Analysis

Information Technology Renewal – The objective of IT renewal is a comprehensive renewal of all IT infrastructure and processes. It aims to establish a foundation for improving the agility and flexibility of internal systems while preparing the agency for the next generation of election services: online registration and voting. Key milestones achieved in 2010–2011 include implementing a new infrastructure at a modern and reliable data centre and establishing a centralized database to improve data integrity and security. Future initiatives will see us transitioning our telecommunications to wireless technology and introducing new Web-based applications.

The central information repository project continued to make significant progress toward its 2011–2012 implementation target. Putting a central information repository in place ensures that regardless of how electors register or update their information, key business rules are applied uniformly. This functionality enables the design of next-generation, e-registration applications that will improve the service experience for electors. In addition, relocating virtually all data processing services to a Public Works and Government Services Canada facility has significantly enhanced the agency's ability to deliver on its mandate by minimizing risk and providing the ability to scale operations if and as required.

Human Resources Strategy – Elections Canada is committed to providing employees with learning and development opportunities that will help them grow professionally and ensuring that they have the tools and skills they need to do their work.

The agency has instituted an annual seven-day training allotment, including in-house corporate and language training. Of the 446 participants who completed the latest annual employee survey,6 76.5 percent reported that they had good access to the training and other tools they needed to perform their jobs well. New-employee orientations were attended by 103 of 109 new employees, who collectively scored the training at 4.6 out of 5 for its effectiveness in helping them learn about the role, mandate and key activities of Elections Canada.

Elections Canada's Leadership Assignment Program aims to help managers obtain the tools and skills they need to address organizational challenges and develop the leadership qualities necessary to effectively manage their employees, thereby increasing productivity and morale and decreasing turnover. Participants have offered very positive feedback, stating that they are acquiring the competencies needed for good leadership.

These initiatives help to build a knowledgeable and professional workforce, while attracting and retaining talented individuals. They contribute to the agency achieving its mandate, thereby enhancing the trust of Canadians in the electoral framework.

Corporate Risk Management Framework – To improve its internal management capacity, Elections Canada has committed to implementing a risk management framework by 2012. In 2010–2011, we initiated a first round of consultations with senior management; this identified corporate-wide risks and provided a draft corporate risk profile. The whole process slowed, however, as the agency focused on delivering the 41st general election.

Evaluation – Efforts in 2010–2011 focused on establishing and implementing a framework for evaluating the 41st general election. This work was completed in advance of the March 26, 2011, election call.

Internal Audit – The Internal Audit Directorate, with the input of senior management, updates its Risk-Based Audit Plan once a year to ensure that audit engagements and activities are regularly refocused on those risks that most threaten the agency's ability to meet its objectives. These audits and activities assure management of the soundness of existing processes, and they provide information and recommendations that help managers deliver on the agency's mandate.

Elections Canada's Risk-Based Audit Plan for 2010–2011 to 2012–2013 was updated and approved by the Chief Electoral Officer. Details on audit activities can be found on the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's website.

Lessons Learned

Information Technology – The operations of the Portfolio Management Office were instrumental in executing the monitoring and controlling process. The Office provided analysis and project status reviews, which contributed to the successful delivery of significant IT investments – e.g. a modern data centre with a redesigned data network and remote management of infrastructure and virtualization.

However, based on the results of migrating software applications used by our local offices to a Web-based platform, Elections Canada recognizes that it needs to develop a comprehensive approach that will allow it to take corrective action when a project runs into difficulties early in the process. As mentioned above, the agency has recently improved its approach to corporate project governance and structure by clarifying roles and responsibilities. It will continue to build on these improvements by working toward a business framework that clarifies responsibilities between project enablers and line managers, clearly articulating risks and modelling best practices in project management.

Human Resources Strategy – Much has been accomplished in the past year. Employees are more aware of the training that Elections Canada offers, and this translates into increased employee interest. Continuing our commitment to professional development, we aim to expand the current Leadership Assignment Program to include middle managers. We will use employee surveys, exit interviews and other tools to measure our progress and develop training in areas where employees seek improvement.



Section III - Supplementary Information

Financial Highlights

The financial highlights presented in this Departmental Performance Report are intended to serve as a general overview of Elections Canada's financial position and operations.


Condensed Statement of Financial Position
As of March 31, 2011 ($ thousands)
  % Change 2010-2011 2009-2010
Total Assets 21% 57,548 47,553
Total Liabilities 65% 36,804 22,330
Equity of Canada -18% 20,744 25,223
Total 21% 57,548  47,553 


Condensed Statement of Operations
For the year ending March 31, 2011 ($ thousands)
  % Change 2010-2011 2009-2010
Total Expenses 11% 159,816 143,544
Total Revenues -53% 34 72
Net Cost of Operations 11% 159,782  143,472 

The increase between 2011 and 2010 is mainly due to costs related to the 41st general election ($7 million), write-off of a software application ($7 million), and an increase in appropriated salary costs ($3 million).

Financial Statements

More detailed financial statements can be found on the Elections Canada website.

List of Supplementary Information Tables

All electronic supplementary information tables found in the 2010–11 Departmental Performance Report can be found on the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s website.

  • Details on Transfer Payment Programs
  • Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits
  • Internal Audits

Section IV - Other Items of Interest

New Legislation, Judicial Decisions and Proceedings

An analysis of proposed amendments to electoral legislation that may have an impact on our business, as well as judicial decisions and proceedings that may affect electoral legislation, can be found on the Elections Canada website.

Federal Political Contributions and Estimated Tax Credits Claimed

This table can be found on the Elections Canada website.

Organizational Contact Information

General Inquiries

Address

Elections Canada
257 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0M6

Telephone

1-800-463-6868
toll-free in Canada and the United States

001-800-514-6868
toll-free in Mexico

613-993-2975
from anywhere in the world

For people who are deaf or hard of hearing:
TTY 1-800-361-8935
toll-free in Canada and the United States

Fax

613-954-8584
1-888-524-1444
toll-free in Canada and the United States

Website

www.elections.ca

Media Information

Telephone

1-877-877-9515
613-993-2224
TTY 1-800-361-8935

Fax

613-954-8584


1  Elections Canada's PAA was recently revised to report agency performance at the program activity level. However, this 2010–2011 Departmental Performance Report reports results at the sub-activity level to be consistent with the 2010–2011 Report on Plans and Priorities, which was based on the old PAA.

2 Percentage of the expected level of performance, for each priority identified in the 2010–2011 Report on Plans and Priorities, that was achieved during the fiscal year.

3 Beginning with the 2009–2010 Estimates cycle, Internal services is displayed separately from other program activities; resources are no longer distributed among the remaining program activities, as was the case in previous Main Estimates. This change affects the comparability of spending and FTE information by program activity between fiscal years.

4 This 2010–2011 Departmental Performance Report is reporting the agency's performance at the sub-activity level to be consistent with the PAA set out in the 2010–2011 Main Estimates. Elections Canada's PAA has recently been revised, with Treasury Board approval, and thus, beginning with the 2011–2012 Main Estimates, the key programs we provide for Canadians will be reported at the program activity level.

5 In on-campus student residences, in seniors' residences and long-term care facilities, and on Aboriginal reserves.

6  Participants included indeterminate, term and casual employees.