Government of Canada unveils plan to safeguard Canada’s 2019 election

News release

Ottawa, January 30, 2019 – Canada’s electoral system is strong. As we approach the next federal election, we recognize the importance of protecting Canadians from foreign interference, protecting our democracy, and ensuring our next election is fair and free.

Today, the Minister of Democratic Institutions, the Honourable Karina Gould, along with the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, and the Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, announced Canada’s plan to defend Canadian democracy from threats.

The government is announcing a series of actions across a number of areas that will further strengthen our electoral system. The plan includes four pillars.

Enhancing citizen preparedness

Foreign and malicious actors are becoming more creative at using online platforms to manipulate opinions. Canadians can be the best line of defence in our efforts to fight foreign interference and disinformation by becoming better informed about the tactics used online to deceive.

Improving organizational readiness

In order to strengthen security practices, government systems will improve coordination to identify threats, emerging tactics and systems vulnerabilities.

Combatting foreign interference

Canada’s security agencies will work to prevent covert, clandestine or criminal activities by foreign actors from interfering in our electoral processes.

Expecting social media platforms to act

Disinformation online can create confusion and exploit existing social tensions. The government is looking for concrete actions to increase transparency, authenticity and integrity on their systems to help safeguard our election.

Canadians can continue to rely on Canada’s strong electoral process, including:

  • The election management and enforcement regime, comprised of the Chief Electoral Officer and the Commissioner of Canada Elections;
  • The use of paper ballots by our federal election system; and
  • New measures introduced in Bill C-76, The Elections Modernization Act.

Quotes

“Our democracy is rooted in trust in the electoral process and the legitimacy of the outcome. Canadians have a role to play in protecting the democratic process. I am confident that the measures announced today will enhance Canadians’ confidence in the electoral process, and that our Government is prepared to address attempts by malicious actors to manipulate the system.”
The Minister of Democratic Institutions, the Honourable Karina Gould

“Canada’s status as an open and democratic society makes it an attractive target for hostile foreign states, who seek to corrode our democratic systems and institutions. Protecting our democratic institutions is a priority for the Government of Canada, including safeguarding the integrity of this year's federal election. In the heated partisanship of an election campaign it is critical to have a trusted authority with the credibility, respect and non-partisan credentials necessary to publicly identify activity that is aiming to pervert the course of our democracy.”
- The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Ralph Goodale

“Our government is committed to protecting Canadians from threats to cyber security and to safeguarding Canada’s electoral process. The Communications Security Establishment and our national security agencies remain vigilant in monitoring the capabilities and activities of foreign actors attempting to interfere with Canada’s upcoming election.”
- The Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan

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Contacts

For more information (media only), please contact:

Amy Butcher
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Democratic Institutions
amy.butcher@di-id.gc.ca

Media Relations
Privy Council Office
613-957-5420

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