Government of Canada sets out the requirements to implement the Critical Election Incident Public Protocol

News release

Ottawa, July 9, 2019 – Safeguarding the integrity of our elections is central to Canada’s national security and to protecting Canada’s democracy. In this time of increased threat, the Government of Canada today published a Cabinet directive, which sets out the expectations and requirements in the implementation of the Critical Election Incident Public Protocol (CEIPP).  The CEIPP has been created to ensure coherence and consistency in Canada’s approach to publically informing Canadians during the writ period about incidents that threaten Canada’s ability to have a free and fair election.

The CEIPP is a mechanism for communicating with Canadians during the writ period in a clear, transparent, and impartial manner in the event of an incident that threatens the integrity of elections. As such, the Protocol is consistent with the Caretaker Convention, which ensures that necessary government operations take place during the writ period.

The threshold triggering the use of the CEIPP will be limited to addressing exceptional circumstances that could impair Canada’s ability to have a free and fair election, whether based on a single incident or an accumulation of incidents. Determining whether this threshold has been met will require considerable judgement. In order to ensure that various considerations are taken into account at the decision-making table, the Government of Canada has carefully selected five senior public servants (the Panel) who bring to bear their unique national security, foreign affairs, democratic governance, and legal perspectives in making their decision. The Panel is comprised of:

  • the Clerk of the Privy Council;
  • the National Security and Intelligence Advisor to the Prime Minister;
  • the Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General;
  • the Deputy Minister of Public Safety; and
  • the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

If the Panel finds that a threat has met the threshold, Canadians will be informed. The Protocol does not allow the Panel decision to be vetoed, including by the Prime Minister.


“Canada’s democratic institutions have to be prepared to face incidents similar to those we have seen in other elections around the world. The Critical Election Incident Public Protocol will ensure that Canadians are alerted if an incident is deemed to jeopardise their right to a free and fair election. This, combined with the various measures announced earlier this year, will allow us to uphold the trust and confidence that Canadians have in their democracy.
‑ Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Democratic Institutions

Quick facts

  • On January 30, 2019, the Government of Canada unveiled a plan to safeguard Canada’s election.

  • The plan includes initiatives under four pillars:

    • Enhancing citizen preparedness
    • Improving organizational readiness
    • Combatting foreign interference
    • Expecting social media platforms to act
  • In December 2018, Parliament passed Bill C-76, the Elections Modernization Act, which includes measures to make the electoral process more secure and transparent, including by requiring major online platforms to maintain a publicly-available registry of partisan advertising.

  • In May 2019, Minister Gould announced the Canada Declaration for Electoral Integrity Online, which sets out responsibilities for both the digital media platforms and the Government of Canada to help safeguard this fall’s election and to support healthy political discourse and open public debate online.

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For more information (media only), please contact:
Margaret Jaques
Office of the Minister of Democratic Institutions

Media Relations
Privy Council Office

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