Elections Canada: What, Who, Where, Why, When
Elections Canada is the
non-partisan agency responsible for the conduct of federal elections
and referendums. What does this mean and why is this responsibility
important? Click below to find out.
Canada is an agency of Parliament. That means it is accountable
to Parliamentarians who represent all Canadians rather
than to the Government or to the governing party. This ensures that
it treats the different parties and candidates even-handedly in
an election, and that the electoral process is fair, transparent
Canada is headed by the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, who is
appointed by resolution of the House of Commons. It has a permanent
staff of some 200 who are responsible for the National Register
of Electors, election operations, election financing and various
other aspects of the electoral process. Returning officers and their
staff, who conduct the electoral process within their respective
electoral districts, are not employees of Elections Canada but work
under directions set by Elections Canada and with the agencys
Canada has its offices in Ottawa. However, when an election is called,
the returning officer of each electoral district opens a local office
for the duration of the election period and sets up numerous polling
stations for advance and ordinary polling days.
Canada's essential task is to ensure that all citizens who are entitled
to vote in a federal election or referendum can actually do so,
and that their vote is secret and secure. That means first ensuring
that electors can easily register to vote, and then that they have
easy access to polling stations, or to other voting options if they
cannot go to their polling station. Finally, Elections Canada ensures
that all votes are counted, and the results are duly published.
Throughout the process, Elections Canada also makes certain that
the electoral process is open and fair to all.
Canada must be ready to conduct an election or referendum whenever
one is called. General elections occur every five years or less,
and they can actually be called at any time as is also the
case for by-elections.
For more information, visit the Elections Canada Web site at www.elections.ca