Thank you very much, Chair, and the committee, for inviting me here again. I am delighted to be back with my officials to look into Bill before you start your clause-by-clause study of the legislation.
I'd like to thank you for your commitment to study Bill , the elections modernization act. I truly appreciate the hard work you have already put into studying this pivotal piece of legislation, one that will, I believe, help strengthen our electoral laws and safeguard our future elections at the federal level here in Canada.
Our government is committed to strengthening Canada's democratic institutions and restoring Canadians' trust and participation in our democratic process.
I firmly believe that the strength of our democracy depends on the participation of as many Canadians as possible. I also firmly believe that the elections modernization act is the right piece of legislation to make our electoral process more accessible for all Canadians.
This bill will reduce the barriers to participation that Canadians currently face when voting or participating in the democratic process in general.
No Canadian should face barriers to voting, whether they live abroad, are in the Canadian Forces, are studying at university or are without a fixed address.
Reinstating the voter identification card as a proof of residency means making voting easier for more Canadians. Restoring the option of vouching for another eligible Canadian means making voting easier for more Canadians. Voting is a right, and it is our responsibility to make voting accessible to as many Canadians as possible.
Through Bill , we are extending accommodation measures to include all people with disabilities, not just those with physical disabilities.
The bill will increase support and assistance to voters with disabilities at polling stations, regardless of their type of disability, and will provide them with the opportunity to vote at home.
Canadians with disabilities may also find it more difficult to participate in political campaigns because campaign materials in offices are not accessible. Bill will encourage political parties and candidates to accommodate electors with disabilities by creating a financial incentive through reimbursement of expenses related to accommodating measures. For example, this would include sign language interpretation during an event and making the format of material more accessible.
This bill also amends election expenses so that candidates with disabilities and candidates caring for a young family member who is ill or disabled find it easier to run for election.
The bill will allow candidates to use their own funds, in addition to campaign funds, to pay for disability-related expenses, child care costs or other relevant expenses related to home care or health care. These expenses will be reimbursed up to 90%.
Our Canadian Armed Forces members make tremendous sacrifices in protecting and defending our democracy. The elections modernization act will make it easier for our soldiers, sailors and air personnel to participate in our democracy. It allows our CAF members the same flexibility as other Canadians in choosing where to cast their ballot, whether it be to vote at regular polls where they reside in Canada, to vote abroad, to vote at advanced polls, or to vote in special military polls as they currently do.
Many of us have constituents in our ridings who have lived in Canada but who are currently living abroad. Whether they are there to work or study, Canadians living abroad should always have the opportunity to participate in our democratic process and to express themselves on issues that affect them.
Bill will remove the requirement that non-resident electors must have been residing outside Canada for fewer than five years. It will also remove the requirement that non-resident electors intend to return to Canada to resume residence in the future. This will extend voting rights to over one million Canadians who are living abroad.
As a federal government, it is our responsibility to make it easier and more convenient for Canadians to vote. This includes their experience during the voting process, whether it is at the advance polls or on election day.
The elections modernization act provides Canadians with more flexibility by increasing the hours of advance polls to 12-hour days. We will also streamline the intake procedures during regular and advance polls.
This bill will also expand the use of mobile polling stations on advance polling days and election day to better serve remote, isolated or low-density communities.
For Canadians to participate fully in their democratic right to vote, they must first know when, where and how to vote. Historically, Elections Canada has conducted various educational activities with Canadians as part of its election administration mandate.
In 2014, the previous government limited the Chief Electoral Officer's education mandate, removing the CEO's abilities to offer education programs to new Canadians and historically disenfranchised groups.
Our government believes that we should empower Canadians to vote and participate in our democracy. We believe that the Chief Electoral Officer should be able to communicate with all Canadians on how to exercise their democratic right.
This is not about partisanship. This is about providing electors with information related to the logistics of voting, such as where, when and how to cast a vote. We want Canadians to be ready for election day, no matter what political party they vote for.
This also means preparing first-time voters. The creation of a register of future electors will allow Canadian citizens between the ages of 14 and 17 to register with Elections Canada. When they turn 18, they will be automatically be added to the voters list.
While more young people voted in 2015 than in previous elections—57% of voters aged 18 to 24 voted—their rate of participation was still lower than that of older Canadians. In fact, 78% of voters aged 65 to 74 voted. This measure will encourage more young Canadians to participate in our democratic process.
As the Minister of Democratic Institutions, it is my responsibility to ensure we maintain the trust of Canadians in our democratic process. The elections modernization act will make it more difficult for election lawbreakers to evade punishment by strengthening the powers of the commissioner of Canada elections and offering a wider range of tools for enforcement.
By making the Commissioner of Canada Elections more independent and giving him new powers to enforce the Canada Elections Act and investigate violations, we will continue to work to ensure the strength and security of our democratic institutions.
The commissioner of Canada elections will be independent from the government, moving back to Elections Canada and reporting to Parliament though the Chief Electoral Officer rather than a senior member of cabinet.
He will also have new powers with the administrative option to impose monetary penalties for minor violations of the act related to election advertising, political financing, third-party expenses and minor voting violations. Most importantly, he will also have the power to lay charges without the prior approval of the director of public prosecutions and will be able to seek a court order to compel a witness to testify during an investigation of electoral offences.
Through budget 2018, the government allocated $7.1 million over five years, beginning in 2019, to support the work of the office of the commissioner of Canada elections. This funding will help ensure the Canadian electoral process continues to uphold the highest standards of democracy.
Many Canadians are concerned about the consequences and influence of money on our political process. With Bill , we are ensuring that our electoral process is more transparent and fair. The bill creates a pre-election period beginning on June 30 of the year of the fixed-date election and ending with the issuance of the writ.
During the pre-election period, third parties will have a spending limit of approximately $1 million, adjusted to inflation, with a maximum of $10,000 per electoral district. This spending limit will include all partisan advertising, partisan activities and election surveys. During the election period, there will be a spending limit of approximately $500,000, and a maximum of $4,000 per electoral district in 2019.
This legislation will require third parties that spend more than $500 on partisan advertising and activities during the pre-writ and writ period to register with Elections Canada. Third parties will also be required to open a dedicated Canadian bank account and use identifying tag lines on all partisan advertising. These measures will ensure greater transparency and provide Canadians with more information with respect to who is trying to influence their decision.
The Government of Canada must ensure that our democratic institutions are modern, transparent and accessible to all Canadians. We are committed to maintaining and strengthening the confidence of Canadians in our democratic process.
Building on the recommendations of the Chief Electoral Officer and the work of this committee, the elections modernization act will improve Canadians' trust and confidence in Canada's electoral system.
I look forward to your questions.
Thank you, Chair. Thank you, Minister and your team, for being here.
I'm looking through the amendments that your government has moved to this bill and I'm considering the track that has taken us here. It has been 700 days since you introduced Bill , which was the original effort to get rid of the unfair elections act. It's five months past the deadline that was set by Elections Canada to bring these changes to completion and into law. It more than two years after the broken promise to make 2015 the last election under the first-past-the-post system.
I'm surprised, because I thought there would be more in here on things that your government, and you personally, have claimed to support, and because you seem unsupportive of things that I think would help.
I think of the launch of the parliamentary session. The said to your caucus, “Add women. Change politics is how we will make a better country.”
One of the Liberal fundraising ads said, ”Canada needs more women from diverse backgrounds making decisions in Ottawa. Because when women succeed, we all succeed.”
We have an amendment in here that is based upon a model that Ireland and other countries have used. In the case of Ireland, it increased the participation of women candidates by 90% and helped elect 40% more women to their parliament.
We're ranked 61st in the world right now, Minister. You know this, of course. The Parliament is 26% women, and at the current pace, as the Daughters of the Vote pointed out to the , it will take 90 years to get to equity in our legislature, yet you're planning to vote against an amendment to get us there, an amendment as has been applied in other democracies.
Did you get the IT alert that I received just recently from our IT service department here in Ottawa? It just happened a couple of hours ago. It was an IT alert for a Facebook data breach. You commissioned a report, which was delivered to you by the CSE, and I'm quoting from that report. It said:
||...almost certainly, political parties and politicians, and the media are more vulnerable to cyber threats and related influence operations....
The Privacy Commissioner has said that one of the ways to counter those threats to our democracy is to include political parties under privacy rules. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association just wrote to you and said that the provisions on privacy are so inadequate as to be meaningless, and the current Privacy Commissioner has said that Bill —this bill—has “nothing of substance” when it comes to privacy.
British Columbia has existed under these privacy rules for 15 years. Parties have been able to communicate effectively with voters. Europe has had it for 20 years, and they've been effectively able to communicate with their voters.
We're proposing Sunday voting, which the former Chief Electoral Officer has promoted. In other democracies, it has increased voter participation by 6% to 7%.
I guess what I find confusing about all of this is that I'm trying to match the words and the rhetoric of your government with your actions when we now have an opportunity to do something about it. You've been in office for three years. Here's an opportunity to deal with the rules that guide us as politicians, that guide the electoral process. I would think that one of your fundamental mandates would be to increase the participation of women and diverse voices, yet your party has chosen to protect all incumbents, thereby ensuring the status quo. The status quo should be unacceptable to everybody.
When we have amendments that would help more women become candidates, help more women and diverse voices actually get elected, you want to vote against them. We see the cyber-threats and the cybersecurity issues that your own agency identified after your request to investigate, but this bill has nothing in it to increase protection of data and privacy.
When the current Chief Electoral Officer was here testifying, we asked him what he knew about what the parties gather in terms of the data on Canadians, and he said, “I have no idea.” Your report says that we, as political parties, are vulnerable to attacks and that Canada as a country is susceptible to these attacks. Having watched Brexit, having watched the U.S. elections, we have important and very recent examples of the reasons to strengthen privacy laws, but this bill has nothing in it.
Seven hundred days after introducing the first iteration of this bill, five months after passing over the deadline set by Elections Canada to get us to this place so we can introduce these changes, and after having made so many promises to women and diverse groups to do better, we're offering opportunities to do better through amendments, based on evidence that is in front of us.
Your government claims to be evidence-based. We are using evidence to improve the things that your government and your party claim to want to improve, and you're choosing not to do them. My question is, why?
Good afternoon, and welcome back to the 123rd meeting of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
This afternoon we'll begin clause-by-clause consideration of , an act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other acts and to make certain consequential amendments.
I would like to again note the presence of the officials from the Privy Council Office: Manon Paquet, Senior Policy Advisor, and Jean-François Morin, Senior Policy Advisor. They will attend our meetings to provide assistance to the committee should members have questions about the bill. Thank you both for being here.
Before we begin, I would like provide members with some general information about how we will proceed with clause-by-clause consideration of the bill.
The committee will consider each of the clauses in the order in which they appear in the bill. Once I have called a clause, it is subject to debate and vote.
If there are amendments to the clause in question, I will recognize the member proposing the amendment, who will explain it in around a minute or so. The amendment will then be open for debate. When no further members wish to intervene, the amendment will be voted on.
I would like to remind members to ensure that clause-by-clause consideration proceeds in an efficient, orderly fashion.
I may limit debate to five minutes per party per clause. As I said earlier, I'll be flexible as long as people don't spend a lot of time on minor clauses where things are obvious, etc. If I do enforce the five minutes, it's per clause, not per amendment. There is the odd clause that has 10 or 20 amendments, but there are still only five minutes, so keep—
I will, however, endeavour to use my discretion as chair to allow as much debate as may be deemed necessary, provided that members are judicious in their use of time.
Amendments will be considered in the order in which they appear in the package that each member received from the clerk. If there are amendments that are consequential to each other, they will be voted on together.
In addition to having to be properly drafted in a legal sense, amendments must also be procedurally admissible. The chair may be called upon to rule amendments inadmissible if they go beyond the principle of the bill or beyond the scope of the bill, both of which were adopted by the House when it agreed to the bill at second reading, or if they offend the financial prerogative of the Crown.
If you wish to eliminate a clause of the bill altogether, the proper course of action is to vote against that clause when the time comes, not to move an amendment to delete it.
If during the process the committee decides not to vote on a clause, that clause can be put aside by the committee, so that we revisit it later in the process.
Amendments have been given a number, found on the top right corner, to indicate which party submitted them. There is no need for a seconder to move an amendment. Once an amendment is moved, unanimous consent is required to withdraw it.
While I'm on the subject of amendments, I would like to remind members that the committee has already agreed to amend clause 262 by replacing line 32 on page 153 with the following: “election period is $1,400,000.” That means we can't amend that clause any more.
If the committee has not completed clause-by-clause consideration of the bill by 1:00 p.m. Friday, all remaining amendments submitted to the committee will be deemed moved, the question put forthwith and successively without further debate on all remaining clauses and proposed amendments, as well as each and every question necessary to dispose of the committee stage of the bill.
The committee's report to the House will contain only the text of any amendments that were adopted, as well as an indication of any clauses that were deleted.
I thank the members for their attention.
We will now proceed to clause-by-clause consideration.
Mr. Chair, pardon me; before we begin, I had a point of order, please.
The Chair: Oh, sorry.
Mrs. Stephanie Kusie: My apologies, and my apologies to you, Ms. May.
Before we begin our extensive clause-by-clause consideration of Bill , I want to give the courtesy of a heads-up to my colleagues about some additional Conservative amendments.
There are approximately 21 amendments that were drafted by legislative counsel between June and September, but for one reason or another, and maybe several, they did not not make it into the package that was circulated on October 2.
Mr. Chair, we intend to move each of these amendments from the floor at the appropriate point in our proceedings, but to ensure colleagues have the advantage of advance review, I'm happy to circulate copies of the amendments now.
These amendments are in both official languages and are in the manner and form produced by the law clerk's office.
Before members get worried that we may be unleashing a number of new issues, I should point out that most of the amendments in this supplementary package actually complement the existing amendments that have been previously circulated. In fact, I believe there are fewer than a handful of amendments that are not connected or related to amendments that have already been circulated.
To assist you, Mr. Chair and our clerks, with identifying where these amendments will be moved, considering line positions and so forth, I can advise that the first amendment for clause 2 will be moved before amendment PV-1 and the other amendment for clause 2 will be moved after amendment PV-1.
There is an amendment for clause 37 to be moved after amendment Liberal-2.
There is an amendment for clause 45.
There is an amendment for clause 70, to be moved after amendment Liberal-5.
There is an amendment for clause 102.
There is an amendment for clause 122, to be moved after amendment CPC-49.
There is an amendment for a new clause, clause 155.1.
There is an amendment for clause 191, to be moved before amendment CPC-69.
The first amendment for clause 223 will be moved after amendment CPC-88. The other amendment for clause 223 will be moved after amendment CPC-92.
There is an amendment for clause 225, to be moved after amendment CPC-101.1.
The first amendment for clause 234 will be moved after the amendment CPC-113. The other amendment for clause 234 will be moved after amendment CPC-114.
There is an amendment for clause 235.
There are two amendments for a new clause, 252.1.
There is an amendment for clause 326.
There is an amendment for clause 357, to be moved after amendment Liberal-60.
There is an amendment for a new clause, 365.1
Finally, there is an amendment for clause 377.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Before we launch into the last amendment, I want to put on the record that the process by which I find myself here is still offensive and difficult for me. This committee's motion requires that I be in the committee to present amendments at clause-by-clause consideration. This is a substantial interference with my ability to do my work, because we quite often have committee hearings and clause-by-clause consideration at the same time, with two different committees meeting on clause-by-clause at the same time. It's a motion I don't welcome, but I do welcome the opportunity to be among colleagues and present these amendments, which I will do as quickly as I can, given how many the committee has to deal with on Bill .
My first amendment falls under the subsection, just to remind people, where election advertising has a carve-out that says election advertising does not mean one of these things. Election advertising, for instance, in the bill as it now is drafted doesn't include transmission of an editorial or an opinion in a newspaper.
The concern I'm trying to address in this amendment comes from non-governmental organizations that are not actually in any way, shape or form advocating or in any way being partisan, but want to publish results, for instance, of surveys—in other words, it's for information purposes, but they're not third parties.
To enter into a campaign as a third party suggests you're favouring someone. That could be very difficult, for instance, for a charity that must not take a position in an election, but which, by its mandate, has an educational function. To ensure that the educational function is not precluded, I have the amendment that adds, for greater certainty, that election advertising does not include “general advocacy on an issue that does not actively promote or oppose a registered party or the election of a candidate”.
Then the rest is consistent with that to ensure we also are not considering it as identifying or commenting on the position taken on an issue by a registered party or nomination contestant and so on.
I hope that's clear. We already have heard the minister's answer, so I'm relatively sure about what's going to happen to my amendment, but I think it's really important that the voices of non-government organizations that are not advocates and are not partisan be allowed to be heard, because those voices are an extremely important source of information for voters. Registering as a third party is not only onerous but may mislead people as to the intention of civil society organizations that are completely non-partisan.
I have a question through you to Ms. May.
Thank you for the amendment. I know it's not directly related, but recently we've seen new finance rules coming out from the CRA with regard to what charities can advocate for a period and receive donations. That was introduced under the last regime. It was shot down in I think the Ontario Superior Court a while ago. The government has suggested it is going to appeal.
I'm wondering about the combination of the ability of charities to receive money to advocate. These are environment groups and anti-poverty groups, and religious organizations, I would imagine, fall under this category as well, with their inability to advocate for the issues that they care about in elections.
We all know as political actors that if Canadians are going to donate to a political party to advocate for their views, they get a very generous tax receipt back. If they donate to some of these charities, they get much less back, yet Canadians continue to use charities to advocate for issues.
The challenge I pose to you is this: does this survive the challenge at court? That's going to be some of the balance in this bill, Chair: it's of some concern whether some of the restriction the government is against would be survivable at court versus the freedom of speech amendments that the court has to deal with.
Does your amendment to this bill allow the voices of charities and those that support them to continue their advocacy?
You mentioned surveys. If a charity comes forward and ranks parties and says, “We're an anti-poverty or religious charity, and we like this party, this candidate”, how can that not be perceived by the public and the media as just straight-up partisan activity?
Yes, absolutely, and all the consequential amendments.
Essentially, this is a question I put to the minister when she was here. We've had people testify on this issue. If the intention is that we are all democrats of various natures, we like people voting. We've seen a steady decline in voter turnout, with the odd uptick.
One of the things we've learned from past surveys by Elections Canada and the different provincial sections is that we don't have a five-day workweek anymore. We don't have a regular-hour workweek anymore. People work all sorts of hours, and this is essentially around Sunday voting. According to most international experts, the ability to allow this would result in a 6% to 7% gain in the turnout at elections.
The countries that do this, just to give people some reassurance that it functions in functioning democracies, are Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay, and a whole bunch of others.
I don't know if Samara, which we have all referenced and used quite a bit, have testified on Bill . Did they?
Are we ready for the vote on NDP-1?
(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: All those consequential ones have been not passed.
Next is amendment PV-3. This has some consequences too. This will also apply to PV-6, which, if you're interested, is on page 156; PV-9, on page 181; PV-12, on page 227; PV-13, on page 231; PV-15, on page 278; PV-16, on page 285; PV-17, on page 298; and PV-18, on page 304, because they are all related by the concept of coordination.
Also, if this is passed, CPC-150 on page 279 cannot be moved because it amends the same line as PV-15.
CPC-152 cannot be moved because it amends the same line as PV-16.
Could you introduce PV-3, Ms. May?
Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
As you said, there are many consequential amendments. This goes to the issue of parties or entities in an election campaign coordinating their activities in a way that is offensive to the principles of democracy—in other words, appearing in sheep's clothing to deliver a much more partisan message, under-the-table coordination, and that sort of thing.
With the better definitions that I'm providing, particularly in this first amendment, PV-3, I'm trying to present what things are not “coordination”. This will make it much easier as a standard by which a future court might be trying to judge whether there has been collusion, whether there has been a coordination that offends the Elections Act.
I'll just read the kinds of things that do not constitute coordination: an endorsement of a party in such a form, if it's an endorsement by “a person, group, corporation”, their members or “shareholders, as the case may be”, or inquiries that are being made “in respect of legislation or policy-related matters". That doesn't give rise to the idea that that was a coordinated effort.
Another is “joint attendance at a public event or an invitation to attend a public event”. This is very important, because quite often you see organizations inviting a candidate from one party plus a candidate from another party. It should be clear in the legislation that this is not coordination. That's not what the legislation is trying to get at.
There's also "communication of information that is not material” in carrying out partisan activities, advertising or election surveys. Again, it's trying to provide more clarity and create a standard that will be far easier to prove down the road to avoid the offence.
Absolutely, Mr. Chair. I will start with a bit of history, if you don't mind.
Prior to the year 2000, when the former Canada Elections Act was in force, it was very clear from the provisions included in that former Canada Elections Act that in order to vote, you needed to be a Canadian citizen and 18 years of age or older.
There were two other provisions related to these two requirements for qualification as an elector. One clarification was saying that provided you would be 18 years of age or older on polling day, you could actually vote before polling day—in advance polls, for example. With regard to citizenship, it was also very clear that if you were to become a Canadian citizen before the end of the revision of the list of electors, then your name could be included for future voting at advance polling.
When the new Canada Elections Act came into force in 2000, this question became a bit unclear by reason of the wording of section 3 of the Canada Elections Act in French. The English version of section 3 can be interpreted to say that you need to be 18 years of age or older on polling day, but you need to be a Canadian citizen at all times.
On the other hand, the French version of the Canada Elections Act says that you need to be a Canadian citizen and 18 years old on polling day, which could lead to the interpretation that if someone were to become a Canadian citizen before polling day.... For example, if someone knows that his or her citizenship ceremony is scheduled for 10 days before polling day, that person could vote before swearing the oath of citizenship.
When the new Canada Elections Act came into force in 2000, our consultations with Elections Canada informed us that Elections Canada always took a more traditional approach to interpreting section 3. Elections Canada never allowed someone who would become a Canadian citizen in the future to vote. It always required that persons be citizens before voting.
When Bill was introduced, other amendments toward the end of the bill brought this little imprecision to light again. Therefore, the proposed amendment would fix that. It would make it clear that you need to be a Canadian citizen when you exercise your right to vote.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak, Mr. Chair.
I want to support the amendment presented by my Conservative colleague. I urge my colleague to be cautious, because his interpretation of the intent behind such an amendment seems to reflect what he is denouncing.
I will give the example of Quebec. We heard the same comments following the 1998 election, when there was a phenomenon of identity theft, what was called the $10 votes. As a result, there is now a requirement in that province to present photo ID.
According to Quebec's parliamentary tradition, the electoral law cannot be changed if there is no consensus. It isn't even changed by a vote, as was mentioned earlier; there must be a consensus.
We had to go to court as a result of this phenomenon. I invite my colleague to read the Berardinucci decision. The latter had appealed, but the Superior Court of Quebec ruled in favour of the plaintiffs. So there was an organized system of identity theft when there was no obligation to show a voter card with a photo.
At the federal level, I was pleased to see that voters could show several documents to the scrutineer to be able to vote. If it was as restrictive as the current system in Quebec, where showing photo identification is mandatory, I might be able to understand that people would rant and rave about it, and say that this would prevent people from voting. In Quebec, it's just the way things are. Before even being asked, people present photo ID and don't feel mistreated or anything.
The legitimacy of the electoral process is fundamental. A voter card is something that can be duplicated. In Quebec, during a general election, people were able to pay others to assume the identities of other voters. People had the nerve to go to the same polling station and swear on the Bible that they had not already voted. It isn't just in Quebec that such a thing can happen.
I think the integrity of the electoral process is much more important. There are plenty of cards or documents that can be presented to vote in a federal election. The voter card is more of a reminder. It allows the election to take place in an orderly way, people find out where to go, and the vote is seamless.
If we allow the voter card to be used as a piece of identification, we open the door to the duplication of these cards by malicious people who know the electoral process, and by people elsewhere.
That's why I support the amendment. I urge my colleague to be cautious: we aren't here to stigmatize each other.
There is no free federal document that proves both the identity and address of a person. The bill requires that proof of address and identification be presented separately; both are required.
I don't agree with any of your remarks.
I will read to you what Elections Canada posted on Twitter this week.
“Recently, people have been sharing inaccurate information about voter registration and ID. We'd like to clear the record.”
This is from Elections Canada directly.
“Elections Canada mails voter registration letters to potential electors. ... These letters say the recipient is not registered to vote. They invite the recipient to register “if” they are a Canadian citizen and at least 18 years of age.
“Voter registration letters for potential electors are not the same thing as voter information cards. ... Voter information cards are cards we send at election time to registered voters only.
“When a potential elector goes to register themselves, they must sign a statement to the effect that they are a Canadian citizen, aged 18 years older.
“The voter information card is not currently accepted as ID. At no time have electors been allowed to vote by showing a voter information card as their only piece of ID.
“Bill C-76, currently before Parliament, would allow the voter information card to be used as a proof of address. Elections Canada would not accept the voter information card alone—it would have to be shown with another accepted piece of ID that proves their identity.”
A voter information card provides access to proof of address. That's all it provides, and that is a very important point.