On July 1, 1920, Parliament created one of the world’s first non-partisan election office independent of any government or political party – the Chief Electoral Officer, now commonly called Elections Canada.
Before 1920, federal elections were managed by government officials who relied on provincial voters lists. The provinces also determined the eligibility of voters in their jurisdiction.
In 1920, a special parliamentary committee studied electoral systems used in other countries and recommended a new approach for Canada – one that was not used anywhere in the world.
The proposal was vigorously debated, but the Dominion Elections Act was passed by the House of Commons with broad political agreement. Making Canada a pioneer at the world stage and marking a defining moment in Canada’s democracy.
Since then, Elections Canada’s roles and responsibility have expanded beyond Election Day. The agency is also responsible for administering Canada’s political financing rules, overseeing the registration of new political parties, researching new ways to run elections and developing civic education programs to help young Canadians learn about the electoral responsibilities.
Over the last 100 years, Elections Canada has provided Canadian citizens who are eligible to vote with the opportunity to do so, regardless of where they are in Canada or the world.
As Elections Canada commemorates its 100th anniversary, I encourage you to visit the commemorative page on its website to learn more about our country’s democracy.
For instance, did you know that on the day of a federal election, Elections Canada becomes the largest employer in the country? The agency hires about 250,000 people in communities from coast to coast to coast.
Find out more about the 100 years of Elections Canada history by visiting the website: www.elections.ca/anniversary
Happy 100th anniversary, Elections Canada!