Commissioner of Canada Elections Annual Report 2022

About us

CCE Timeline

[Text description of] "CCE Timeline" graph


    1974: The position of Commissioner of Election Expenses is created. The Commissioner’s mandate is limited to ensuring compliance with, and enforcement of, provisions related to federal election expenses.

    1977: The Commissioner’s responsibilities are expanded to cover all provisions of the Canada Elections Act. The position title is officially renamed Commissioner of Canada Elections.

    2014: The Commissioner is granted deputy head status for the purposes of hiring their own staff and managing their office’s human resources.

    2018: Parliament grants more powers to the CCE, including the ability to issue administrative monetary penalties.

    2022: The 10-year mandate of the previous Commissioner, Yves Côté, ends. Caroline J. Simard becomes the first woman to be appointed to the position. Her 10-year term began on August 15, 2022.

Now, more than ever, in an era where electoral issues are front and centre in the minds of Canadians, the relevance and legitimacy of the CCE’s mandate are increasingly apparent. The Commissioner's work contributes to maintaining the trust that Canadians place in the electoral process.

The Commissioner works independently of Elections Canada, the government and other participants in the electoral process. Day-to-day, a specialized team of about 50 employees, as well as a number of consultants with specific expertise, as needed, support the Commissioner in fulfilling her mandate.

The CCE and Elections Canada: Two distinct organizations

Did you know? The Commissioner of Canada Elections and Elections Canada are two distinct organizations with different mandates.

Elections Canada is responsible for the conduct of federal elections and administering the Act in general, including its political financing provisions, while the Commissioner of Canada Elections is responsible for ensuring that the Act is complied with and enforced.

If you have questions about services to electors, the conduct of an election, the voting process or interpretation of the Act, contact Elections Canada.

On the other hand, if you think you have witnessed something that may be a breach of the Act, contact the Commissioner's office.

The CCE will review your complaint and, if necessary, conduct an investigation. If the Commissioner determines that the Act was not complied with, she may take any measures that she deems appropriate, including laying criminal charges that could lead to fines or imprisonment.

You can learn more about the work of the CCE and how you can contribute to a healthy Canadian democracy by watching this video.

Distinct organizations

[Text description of] "Distinct organizations"

Canada Elections Act

    Commissioner of Canada Elections: Compliance with, and enforcement of, the Canada Elections Act

    Elections Canada: Conduct of federal elections, application and interpretation of the Canada Elections Act

Back to top

Funding the CCE

The CCE has two sources of funding. It receives funds in part through an annual appropriation, that is, a budget voted on by Parliament each year. This voted authority covers only the salaries of indeterminate employees.

The Act also says that the Commissioner can use unappropriated funds from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) for all other expenses. This important authority guarantees that the CCE has access to the funds she requires to conduct investigations while maintaining full independence from the government. These funds cover salaries for term employees, including casual employees and students. The Commissioner’s other expenses, such as the payment of consultants and expenses associated with travel and training, are also paid using unappropriated funds.

Appropriated Funds Unappropriated Funds – CRF Total
Salaries* of indeterminate employees Other compensation – Salaries Other expenses  
$3,299,742 $1,848,016 $1,492,129 $6,639,886

* All employee benefits are included in the unappropriated funds from the CRF.

Back to top

The complaint process

Members of the public are the CCE’s eyes and ears. The Commissioner counts on Canadians to report any situation that might violate the Act. Anyone who believes that there may have been a contravention of the Act can submit a complaint to the office. When circumstances warrant, the Commissioner may also conduct a review or an investigation on her own initiative. Additionally, she receives referrals from Elections Canada or other government agencies.

Every complaint, regardless of the subject or the source, is carefully reviewed.

If there is sufficient evidence that the Act was contravened, the Commissioner may take appropriate measures to address the situation. The choice of measure is dependent on the facts and circumstances of the case and which sections of the Act were contravened.

The time it takes to close a file after receiving a complaint can vary considerably. The time required to conduct a review or investigation depends on several factors, including the complexity of the file and the degree of cooperation from those involved. The quality of the facts and information is also important. Therefore, when making a complaint, it is important to provide tangible facts such as documents and details relating to the date, location and people involved.

The complaint process

[Text description of] "The complaint process" graph

The complaint process

Start: The CCE receives a complaint

  • Does the complaint fall within the CCE's mandate?
    • Yes: the information is reviewed and the complaint is assigned.
      • Enforcement Directorate: Reviews or investigates. May recommend laying charges or forwarding the file to the Compliance Unit.
      • Compliance Unit: Reviews and may recommend administrative measures (for example, an administrative monetary penalty).
        • A decision is made and implemented
          • File Closed: The complainant and the person being investigated are generally informed of the final decision.
            • End
  • Does the complaint fall within the CCE's mandate?
    • No: The complainant and the person being investigated are generally informed of the final decision.
      • End.

Information required to make a complaint

Any person who believes they have witnessed something that contravenes the Act is encouraged to contact the CCE. If you see something, say something!

To ensure that complaints are processed quickly and effectively, they should include the following:

  • Your full name and contact information;
  • A detailed description of the facts, circumstances or actions that you believe to be against the law;
  • The date, location, and full names of key people and their contact information (if available), as well as any other information that may help us understand the facts or the situation surrounding the complaint;
  • Any other documents in support of your complaint or that you believe are relevant.

When you make a complaint and it is investigated, the CCE’s investigation will be confidential.

The passage of time can affect the Commissioner’s ability to address your complaint. The more time passes, the more difficult it may be to obtain the necessary evidence to lay criminal charges or to impose an administrative monetary penalty. So, if you believe that a person or an entity has contravened the Act, please inform us right away.

You can make a complaint to the CCE using any of the following means:

Back to top

Date modified: