Strengthening Democracy by Making Voting Easier
Ottawa, November 24, 2016 – The Government of Canada is introducing legislation that proposes 7 changes to the Canadian electoral system. Bill C-33, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act, was introduced today in the House of Commons by the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions. If passed, the bill will increase voter participation by breaking down barriers to voting while enhancing the efficiency and integrity of Canada’s elections.
Voting is far more than just filling out a ballot. By voting, Canadians are joining a movement of people shaping Canada’s future together. That is what Canadians told the Minister during the Electoral Reform Dialogue, a cross-Canada tour about strengthening our democracy. Canadians want it to be easy to vote, easy to learn about voting, and want to make sure as many eligible Canadians as possible have an opportunity to vote.
If passed, Bill C-33 will help more Canadians when they vote in 7 ways:
- Reintroduce the Voter Information Card (VIC) as a piece of ID someone can use when they vote.
- Reintroduce vouching to allow a voter to vouch for one other Canadian
- Expand the Chief Electoral Officer’s mandate to undertake broad public education campaigns.
- Create a National Register of Future Electors, so Elections Canada can pre-register Canadian youth ages 14-17 to vote.
- Help Elections Canada clean up data in the National Register of Electors.
- Improve the integrity of our elections by making the Commissioner of Canada Elections more independent.
- Expand the right to vote to over 1 million Canadians living abroad.
If passed, the legislation will fulfill Minister Monsef’s mandate letter commitment to repeal the elements of the Fair Elections Act that make it harder for Canadians to vote. It also reflects ideas Canadians shared with her during the Electoral Reform Dialogue.
The legislation must now be debated in Parliament. If passed, the measures would take effect in time for the 2019 federal election.
“I heard Canadians call for us to make these changes during my recent national Electoral Reform Dialogue tour. They told us that making it easier for eligible Canadians to vote will build a stronger democracy. If passed, our legislation would do just that. We listened, and we are taking action.”
-Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions
- An Elections Canada pilot project during the 2011 general election showed that approximately 73% of Canadians living in long term care facilities and seniors’ residences used their voter information card to vote.
- Minister Monsef and Mark Holland, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions, attended almost 80 electoral reform events in 2016, including the Electoral Reform Dialogue events, held in every province and territory, as well as local town hall meetings held by Members of Parliament across Canada, and other opportunities.
For more information (media only), please contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Democratic Institutions
Privy Council Office