Government of Canada introduces legislation to modernize the electoral system, making it more accessible, transparent, and secure

News release

Ottawa, April 30, 2018 – The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening Canada’s democratic institutions and restoring Canadians’ trust and participation in our democratic processes.

New legislation introduced today will, if passed, result in a generational overhaul of the Canada Elections Act, allowing it to better address the realities facing our democratic institutions in the 21st century.

If passed, the Elections Modernization Act (Bill C-76) will:

  • Ensure a fair and level playing field by putting in place measures to guarantee transparency and fairness in the electoral process;
  • Make the electoral process more accessible by reducing barriers for persons with disabilities and Canadian Armed Forces members so they can vote and participate more fully in the electoral process;
  • Establish a pre-election period with transparency requirements and spending limits for political parties and third parties;
  • Set privacy standards for political parties to ensure the protection and security of Canadians’ personal information; and,
  • Modernize the administration of elections to make it easier for Canadians to vote and more difficult for elections law-breakers to evade punishment.

The Elections Modernization Act (Bill C-76) focuses on the challenges facing democratic institutions that can be addressed within the Canada Elections Act. The Government of Canada believes that a whole-of-government approach is required to protect and defend Canada’s democratic institutions more broadly from cyber threats and foreign interference. The Minister of Democratic Institutions continues to work in collaboration with colleagues across government to ensure our electoral processes are secure.

Many of the measures proposed in Bill C-76 build on the recommendations of the Chief Electoral Officer and the Commissioner of Canada Elections, and were studied by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC).


Quotes

“The integrity and fairness of Canada’s electoral process is of paramount importance. That’s why our government is introducing legislation that will update the Canada Elections Act to make it easier for Canadians to vote and more difficult for those who try to break our elections laws to avoid prosecution. Our goal is a strengthened democracy, safeguarded for future generations.”
- The Honourable Scott Brison, Minister of Democratic Institutions (Acting)

“Ensuring free and fair elections requires that the legislation governing our electoral institutions addresses the threats and challenges we face in the 21st century. This new legislation complements the work being done across government to protect and defend our elections from cyber threats and foreign interference, and will go a long way to ensure that Canadians can continue to have trust and confidence in our democratic institutions.”
- The Honourable Karina Gould, Member of Parliament for Burlington

“Canadians of all abilities have the right to participate in our democratic processes. If passed, this legislation will reduce barriers to participation for electors with disabilities, make our electoral institutions more accessible to all persons, and will encourage political parties and candidates to provide accommodation measures in local communities.”
- The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, Sport, and Persons with Disabilities

“We ask our women and men in uniform to make tremendous sacrifices to protect and defend our democracy. If passed, this legislation will make voting easier for those who serve in the Canadian Armed Forces.”
- The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

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Contacts

For more information (media only), please contact:
Nicky Cayer
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Democratic Institutions
613-943-1833

Media Relations
Privy Council Office
613-957-5420

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