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Description found in Archives

Office of the Chief Electoral Officer fonds [textual record (some microform), cartographic material, sound recording] 



Place of creation

No place, unknown, or undetermined

6.0 m of textual records
1001 microfilm reels
ca. 3611 maps.
5 audio reels (13 h)

Added language of material: French

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records created and/or maintained by the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer. Researchers are cautioned that unprocessed textual records and records in other media are not reflected in this description. Sound recordings are described in the series entitled Office of the Representation Commissioner.

Textual records
32: Restricted by law
Textual records: microform
32: Restricted by law
Cartographic material
90: Open
Sound recordings
90: Open
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.
Other accession no.
1980-0118 MISA
1969-0016 MISA

Terms of use

Copyright belongs to the Crown.

Finding aids are available. See lower level descriptions and accession records in ArchiviaNet (the NA website). (Other)

Biography / Administrative history

At Confederation, the nomination of candidates for the House of commons was public, voting was open and oral and the elections were not all held on the same day, but extended over several weeks. Open voting, however, encouraged bribery and intimidation. The Dominion Elections Act of 1874 (37 Vic., c.9, 1874) made the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery responsible for administering elections in Canada. It abolished public nominations, instituted voting by secret ballot and provided for elections to be held on the same day.

The Dominion Elections Act of 1920 (10-11, Geo V., c.46, 1920) marked the beginning of the modern era of the electoral system in Canada. Responsibility for the electoral process was assigned to a Chief Electoral Officer and the franchise in federal elections came under federal law (not provincial laws as it had been previously). Around this period, the suffrage became almost universal, with women having gained the vote in 1918 (Womens Franchise Act, 8-9 Geo. V, c.20, 1918).

In 1929, the enumeration process was introduced for both rural and urban areas. A system of permanent voters lists was established in 1934, but abolished in 1938 after the disappointing experience of the 1935 election (Dominion Franchise Act, 24-25, Geo. V, c.51, 1934; repealed in 1938) After that time, the system of voters lists prepared by enumerators before each general election was once again used

In 1964, Parliament passed the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act (13 Eliz II, c.31, 1974) by which the redrawing of the electoral boundaries was entrusted to independent boundary commissions - one for each province. The federal Representation Commissioner was ex officio a member of each commission which operated under precise criteria, especially regarding population.

The Election Expenses Act came into force in 1974 (21-22 Eliz II, c.51, 1974) for the purpose of controlling Election Expenses and ensuring that sources of revenue, as well as the income and expenses of parties and candidates, were reported to the Chief Electoral Officer.

In 1979, the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act was altered making the Chief Electoral Officer responsible for duties formally handled by the Representation Commissioner whose post was abolished. These duties included providing the Electoral Boundaries Commissions with the number of electoral districts to be attributed to each province (27-28 Eliz, II, c.13, part 5, 1979). Redistribution begins with the receipt of the decennial census and is completed one year after the Representation Order is published in the Canada Gazette. The work of redistribution is carried out by the Electoral Boundaries Commission.

As a result of the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing of 1992, amendments were made to the Canada Elections Act to ensure that all voters with disabilities had access to the electoral process and other procedures were adopted to serve the voter more efficiently (Appointed by Order in Council, PC 2290, 15 November 1988).

The Chief Electoral Officer, who is appointed by and directly responsible to the House of Commons has the responsibility of overseeing the conduct of federal elections including control over the voting process, election expenses, the registration of political parties and the preparation of statutory reports. His office, also known as Elections Canada, is a non-partisan agency and is designated a department under the Financial Administration Act.

A Commissioner of Federal Elections works under the supervision of the Chief Electoral Officer and ensures that provisions of the act as are complied with and enforced. In order to vote in a federal election one must be 18 years or older, a Canadian citizen and have their name on the voters; list or list of electors.

Additional information

Source of title
Established by the Dominion Elections Act (SC 1920, c.46). See also the Canada Elections Act, RSC, 1970, c,14 (first supplement)

Further accruals are expected.

Related materials
RG113M 1997-02144-7, consisting of Elections Canada poll maps prepared in 1982-1983, were destroyed. Original material is now located on accession 2003-01265-6 (Mikan accession record #206952). Contact textual archivist Cynthia Lovering for access.


Other system control no.