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November 30, 1999
(House of Assembly)

Speaker announces signing of cooperation agreement between Elections Canada and Provincial Electoral Office for the sharing of updates of voters' lists

Lloyd Snow, Speaker of the House of Assembly, announced today the signing of an agreement between Elections Canada and the Provincial Electoral Office for the sharing of electoral list updates between jurisdictions which will significantly reduce election administration costs.

"As Speaker of the House of Assembly, I am very pleased with the level of cooperation occurring between Elections Canada and the Provincial Electoral Office, especially as it relates to creating and maintaining up-to-date lists of electors," said Mr. Snow.

In St. John's for the signing of the agreement, Jean Pierre Kingsley, chief electoral officer of Canada, noted that the requirement in Canada for costly door-to-door enumeration of electors has been discontinued at the federal level. "In April 1997, prior to the federal election being held on June 2, 1997, Elections Canada undertook a comprehensive door-to-door enumeration of voters throughout the country for the last time," said Mr. Kingsley. "This enumeration formed the basis of a National Register of Electors for Canada which is being updated on a regular basis through agreements with Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (formerly Revenue Canada), along with other organizations such as Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Motor Registration and Vital Statistics agencies, to provide accurate voter information. The information received enables Elections Canada to keep its Permanent Voters' List accurate and up-to-date. Obtaining information on address changes, young people coming of age to vote, new Canadians, and deceased individuals is extremely valuable for this reason. In addition, agreements with provincial electoral offices such as in Newfoundland and Labrador, will also see the exchange of up-to-date elector information flowing from provincial elections and by-elections."

The chief electoral officer for Newfoundland and Labrador, Robert Jenkins, noted that the last door-to-door enumeration undertaken in the province for the purpose of developing a new Provincial Voters List was in 1994, with a requirement under the Elections Act that an enumeration be undertaken every five years. "The door-to-door enumeration in the province costs approximately $1.3 million," said Mr. Jenkins. "By both parties agreeing to share updated information, considerable savings will occur and the necessity of costly door-to-door enumeration will no longer exist. As a result of this agreement we will not need to undertake a door-to-door enumeration by year end."

Both Mr. Kingsley and Mr. Jenkins noted that the eligibility requirements to vote in both a federal election and a provincial election are the same. The voter in a federal election is the same voter in a provincial election, they said, and with the harmonization of certain aspects of federal and provincial electoral legislation, both organizations can now share voter registration data, thus reducing costs considerably while cooperating in maintaining accurate votes' lists and improving the quality of both lists significantly.

Both officials also stated that the information contained on the federal and provincial voters' lists is confidential and can only be used strictly for electoral purposes.

Media contact:

Robert Jenkins
Chief Electoral Officer
Newfoundland and Labrador
Tel: (709) 729-0712
Fax: (709) 729-0679

Pierre Blain
Senior Media Relations Officer
Public Affairs, Communications
Elections Canada
Tel: (613) 993-2224
Fax: (613) 994-8584

Toll-free: 1-800-267-7360

1999 11 30 11:10 a.m.

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