Critical Election Incident Public Protocol


The Critical Election Incident Public Protocol (CEIPP) was first established in 2019 during the 43rd General Election to establish a mechanism to communicate clearly, transparently and impartially with Canadians during an election in the event of an incident or a series of incidents that threatened the election’s integrity.

Following the 43rd general election, Cabinet issued an amended Cabinet Directive on the Critical Election Incident Public Protocol in May 2021, which included the removal of the reference to the CEIPP’s application during a specific general election. As a result, the CEIPP remains in place for future general elections until revoked or amended by Cabinet.

The CEIPP is administered by a group of experienced senior Canadian public servants (the Panel) who, working with the national security agencies, are responsible for jointly determining whether the threshold for informing Canadians of an incident has been met, either through a single incident or an accumulation of incidents. The Panel is comprised of the following five members:

  • 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.

The threshold for an announcement by the Panel is very high and limited to exceptional circumstances that could impair Canadians’ ability to have a free and fair election. The incidents in question would pose a significant risk of undermining Canadians’ democratic rights, or have the potential to undermine the credibility of the election.

The 2021 Assessment of the CEIPP covering the 44th general election was conducted by former senior civil servant Morris Rosenberg. The report finds that the CEIPP worked well and should remain in place with some modifications for improvement.

In the lead up to the 2021 general election, the Panel received regular security briefings by the national security agencies. The Panel determined that the government did not observe activities affecting Canada’s ability to have a free and fair election that met the threshold for public announcement.

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