Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer has revealed that the federal elections agency intends to be ready for an election by next April, five months before the fixed election date for 2019. Chief Electoral Officer Stéphane Perrault outlined the timetable as he informed a Commons committee this week that a sweeping bill to overhaul the Canada Elections Act and upgrade cybersecurity would have to clear Parliament by December to give his office time to prepare. “For the next election, given the environment, I very much look forward to having this legislation passed,” Perrault told the Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, which began reviewing Bill C-76 last May.
“It includes measures to deal with third parties and foreign influence. It also includes measures to deal with cyberattacks and disinformation, so it is an important piece of legislation from that perspective,” Perrault said on Tuesday.
“Also, it significantly reinforces the powers of the commissioner in … his investigations, so, from an integrity point of view, I do think it’s important to have this bill passed,” Perrault said.
Security upgrades and the many changes involved in implementing the changes to the Canada Elections Act involve at least 20 information-technology systems, the electoral officer told the committee.