Fair Representation Act (S.C. 2011, c. 26)

Assented to 2011-12-16

Fair Representation Act

S.C. 2011, c. 26

Assented to 2011-12-16

An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867, the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act and the Canada Elections Act

SUMMARY

This enactment amends the rules in the Constitution Act, 1867 for readjusting the number of members of the House of Commons and the representation of the provinces in that House.

It amends the time periods in several provisions of the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act and requires that electronic versions of maps be provided to registered parties.

It also amends the Canada Elections Act to permit a returning officer to be appointed for a new term of office in certain circumstances.

Preamble

Whereas the composition of the House of Commons must reflect the principle of proportionate representation of the provinces and the democratic representation of the Canadian people;

Whereas the principle of proportionate representation of the provinces must balance the fair and equitable representation of faster-growing provinces and the effective representation of smaller and slower-growing provinces;

Whereas the populations of faster-growing provinces are currently under-represented in the House of Commons and members of the House of Commons for those provinces therefore represent, on average, significantly more populous electoral districts than members for other provinces;

Whereas estimates of the population of Canada and of each province using modern statistical methodologies and techniques are accurate in determining those populations;

Whereas the electoral quotient for the re-adjustment that follows the completion of the 2011 decennial census should be 111,166, that number being the average population of the electoral districts on July 1, 2001, which was determined by using the estimate of the population of each province as at that date, multiplied by the average of the rates of population growth of the provinces;

Whereas the electoral quotient for the re-adjustment that follows each subsequent decennial census should be determined by multiplying the electoral quotient used for the previous readjustment by the average of the rates of population growth of the provinces;

And whereas the Constitution Act, 1985 (Representation) was enacted by Parliament by virtue of its exclusive authority, in section 44 of the Constitution Act, 1982, to amend the Constitution of Canada in relation to the House of Commons so long as the principle of proportionate representation of the provinces is not disturbed;

Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

SHORT TITLE

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Fair Representation Act.

30-31 Vict., c. 3 (U.K.); 1982, c. 11 (U.K.)CONSTITUTION ACT, 1867

Marginal note:1986, c. 8, s. 2

 Subsection 51(1) of the Constitution Act, 1867 is replaced by the following:

Marginal note:Readjustment of representation in Commons
  • 51. (1) The number of members of the House of Commons and the representation of the provinces therein shall, on the completion of each decennial census, be readjusted by such authority, in such manner, and from such time as the Parliament of Canada provides from time to time, subject and according to the following rules:

    • Marginal note:Rules
      1. 
      There shall be assigned to each of the provinces a number of members equal to the number obtained by dividing the population of the province by the electoral quotient and rounding up any fractional remainder to one.
    • 2. 
      If the number of members assigned to a province by the application of rule 1 and section 51A is less than the total number assigned to that province on the date of the coming into force of the Constitution Act, 1985 (Representation), there shall be added to the number of members so assigned such number of members as will result in the province having the same number of members as were assigned on that date.
    • 3. 
      After the application of rules 1 and 2 and section 51A, there shall, in respect of each province that meets the condition set out in rule 4, be added, if necessary, a number of members such that, on the completion of the readjustment, the number obtained by dividing the number of members assigned to that province by the total number of members assigned to all the provinces is as close as possible to, without being below, the number obtained by dividing the population of that province by the total population of all the provinces.
    • 4. 
      Rule 3 applies to a province if, on the completion of the preceding readjustment, the number obtained by dividing the number of members assigned to that province by the total number of members assigned to all the provinces was equal to or greater than the number obtained by dividing the population of that province by the total population of all the provinces, the population of each province being its population as at July 1 of the year of the decennial census that preceded that readjustment according to the estimates prepared for the purpose of that readjustment.
    • 5. 
      Unless the context indicates otherwise, in these rules, the population of a province is the estimate of its population as at July 1 of the year of the most recent decennial census.
    • 6. 
      In these rules, “electoral quotient” means
      • (a)   
        111,166, in relation to the readjustment following the completion of the 2011 decennial census, and
      • (b
         in relation to the readjustment following the completion of any subsequent decennial census, the number obtained by multiplying the electoral quotient that was applied in the preceding readjustment by the number that is the average of the numbers obtained by dividing the population of each province by the population of the province as at July 1 of the year of the preceding decennial census according to the estimates prepared for the purpose of the preceding readjustment, and rounding up any fractional remainder of that multiplication to one.
  • Marginal note:Population estimates

    (1.1) For the purpose of the rules in subsection (1), there is required to be prepared an estimate of the population of Canada and of each province as at July 1, 2001 and July 1, 2011 — and, in each year following the 2011 decennial census in which a decennial census is taken, as at July 1 of that year — by such authority, in such manner, and from such time as the Parliament of Canada provides from time to time.

R.S., c. E-3ELECTORAL BOUNDARIES READJUSTMENT ACT

 Subsection 3(1) of the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act is replaced by the following:

Marginal note:Commissions to be established
  • 3. (1) For each decennial census, the Governor in Council shall establish by proclamation, published in the Canada Gazette, an electoral boundaries commission for each province before the earlier of

    • (a) the expiry of a period of 60 days after the day on which the Minister receives a return certified by the Chief Statistician under subsection 13(1), and

    • (b) the expiry of a period of six months after the first day of the month that is fixed by the Governor in Council under subsection 19(1) of the Statistics Act as the month in which the census is to be taken.

 The Act is amended by adding the following before section 13:

Marginal note:Population estimates

12.1 The Chief Statistician shall prepare the estimates of the population of Canada and of each province required by subsection 51(1.1) of the Constitution Act, 1867 and send them, without delay, to the Minister and to the Chief Electoral Officer along with the estimates of the population of each province that were prepared for the purpose of the readjustment following the completion of the preceding decennial census.

Marginal note:1994, c. 41, par. 38(1)(a)

 Subsection 13(3) of the Act is replaced by the following:

  • Marginal note:Duty to assist

    (3) The Chief Statistician and the Department of Natural Resources shall make available their services and facilities, and render all other assistance that may be necessary, to the Chief Electoral Officer in order to enable the Chief Electoral Officer to discharge his or her duties under paragraph (2)(b).

 Subsection 14(1) of the Act is replaced by the following:

Marginal note:Calculation of members
  • 14. (1) On receipt of the estimates referred to in section 12.1, the Chief Electoral Officer shall calculate the number of members of the House of Commons to be assigned to each province, subject and according to the provisions of section 51 of the Constitution Act, 1867 and the rules in that section, and on the completion of that calculation shall cause a statement to be published in the Canada Gazette setting out the results.

Marginal note:1994, c. 41, par. 38(1)(a)

 Section 17 of the Act is replaced by the following:

Marginal note:Duty to assist

17. The Chief Statistician and the Department of Natural Resources shall make available their services and facilities, and render all other assistance that may be necessary, to a commission in order to enable the commission to discharge its duties under this Act.

Marginal note:R.S., c. 6 (2nd Supp.), s. 3
  •  (1) Subsection 19(2) of the Act is replaced by the following:

    • Marginal note:Notice to be given by public advertisement

      (2) Notice of the time and place fixed by the commission for any sittings to be held by it for the hearing of representations from interested persons shall be given by advertisement published in the Canada Gazette and in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the province at least 30 days before the day on which the sittings commence.

  • Marginal note:R.S., c. 6 (2nd Supp.), s. 3

    (2) Subsection 19(5) of the Act is replaced by the following:

    • Marginal note:Notice of representation to be given before sittings

      (5) No representation shall be heard by a commission at any sittings held by it for the hearing of representations from interested persons unless notice in writing is given to the secretary of the commission within 23 days after the date of the publication of the last advertisement under subsection (2), stating the name and address of the person who seeks to make the representation and indicating concisely the nature of the representation and of the interest of the person.

    • Marginal note:Exception

      (6) Despite subsection (5), a commission may hear the representation without the notice having been given if the commission considers it to be in the public interest to do so.

Marginal note:R.S., c. 6 (2nd Supp.), s. 4

 Section 20 of the Act is replaced by the following:

Marginal note:Time for completing report
  • 20. (1) Each commission shall, not later than 10 months after the day on which the chairman receives the copy of the return referred to in paragraph 13(2)(a), complete a report for presentation to the House of Commons setting out the considerations and proposals of the commission concerning the division of the province into electoral districts, the descriptions and boundaries of the districts and the population of and name to be given to each district and, on the completion of the report, shall cause two certified copies of the report to be transmitted to the Chief Electoral Officer.

  • Marginal note:Extension of time

    (2) The Chief Electoral Officer may, on request by a commission, extend the time for the completion of its report for a further period or periods not exceeding two months in the aggregate.

Marginal note:Obligations of Chief Electoral Officer
  • 20.1 (1) On receiving the certified copies referred to in section 20 of the report of any commission, the Chief Electoral Officer shall

    • (a) transmit one of the copies to the Speaker; and

    • (b) with the cooperation of the Department of Natural Resources and in accordance with the descriptions and definitions proposed in the report, prepare and print

      • (i) individual maps of each electoral district showing the proposed boundaries of each district,

      • (ii) individual maps of each province showing the proposed boundaries of the electoral districts in the province, and

      • (iii) individual maps of all cities and metropolitan municipalities, portions of which are in more than one proposed electoral district.

  • Marginal note:Electronic version of maps

    (2) The Chief Electoral Officer shall provide an electronic version of each map containing its digital geospatial data to each registered party, as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Canada Elections Act.

Marginal note:R.S., c. 6 (2nd Supp.), s. 5

 Subsection 21(1) of the Act is replaced by the following:

Marginal note:Report to be referred to committee
  • 21. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the Speaker shall cause the certified copy of the report that has been transmitted to him or her to be laid before the House of Commons and referred to the committee of the House of Commons that it may establish for the purposes of dealing with electoral matters without delay on receipt of the copy by the Speaker if Parliament is then sitting or, if Parliament is not then sitting, on any of the first five days of the next sitting of Parliament.

Marginal note:2004, c. 1, s. 2

 Section 25 of the Act is replaced by the following:

Marginal note:Order in force
  • 25. (1) Within five days after the day on which the Minister receives the representation order, the Governor in Council shall by proclamation declare the representation order to be in force, effective on the first dissolution of Parliament that occurs at least seven months after the day on which that proclamation was issued, and on the issue of the proclamation the order has the force of law accordingly.

  • Marginal note:Exception

    (2) Despite subsection (1), if a proclamation under the Canada Elections Act for the holding of a general election is issued during the period beginning on the day on which the proclamation under subsection (1) is issued and ending seven months after that day, the representation order becomes effective on the first dissolution of Parliament that occurs at least seven months after the date fixed by the proclamation under that Act for the return of the writ for that election.

  • Marginal note:Returning officers and electoral district associations

    (3) For the purpose of authorizing and enabling, whenever required, the appointment of returning officers under section 24 of the Canada Elections Act or the registration of electoral district associations under subsection 403.22(4) of that Act, the representation order is deemed to be effective on the day on which the proclamation under subsection (1) is issued.

Marginal note:1994, c. 41, par. 38(1)(a)

 Section 28 of the Act is replaced by the following:

Marginal note:Maps to be prepared and printed
  • 28. (1) As soon as feasible after the issue of the proclamation declaring the representation order to be in force, the Chief Electoral Officer shall, with the cooperation of the Department of Natural Resources and in accordance with the descriptions and definitions set out in the order, prepare and print

    • (a) individual maps of each electoral district showing the boundaries of each district;

    • (b) individual maps of each province showing the boundaries of the electoral districts established in the province; and

    • (c) individual maps of all cities and metropolitan municipalities, portions of which are in more than one electoral district.

  • Marginal note:Electronic version of maps

    (2) The Chief Electoral Officer shall provide an electronic version of each map containing its digital geospatial data to each registered party, as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Canada Elections Act.

2000, c. 9CANADA ELECTIONS ACT

Marginal note:2006, c. 9, s. 174(1)

 Subsection 24(1.4) of the Canada Elections Act is replaced by the following:

  • Marginal note:New term

    (1.4) The Chief Electoral Officer may, after consultation with the leader of every recognized political party in the House of Commons, appoint for a new term any returning officer who has performed the functions of a returning officer in a satisfactory manner, whether or not other persons are considered for the appointment, if the office of returning officer is vacant by reason of

    • (a) the expiry of the returning officer’s term of office; or

    • (b) the revision of the boundaries of the electoral district as a result of a representation order made under section 25 of the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act.

TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

Definition of “the Act”

  •  (1) In this section and sections 15 to 22, “the Act” means the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act.

  • Marginal note:Words and expressions

    (2) Words and expressions used in sections 15 to 22 have the same meaning as in the Act.

Marginal note:Population estimates as at July 1, 2001

 For the purpose of the readjustment following the 2011 decennial census, the population estimates as at July 1, 2001 prepared under section 12.1 of the Act, as enacted by section 4, are deemed, for the purpose of the application of rule 4 in subsection 51(1) of the Constitution Act, 1867, as enacted by section 2, and the sending of estimates referred to in that section 12.1, to have been prepared for the purpose of the readjustment following the 2001 decennial census.

Marginal note:Time for establishing commissions
  •  (1) If this Act comes into force on or before the day on which the Minister receives a return certified by the Chief Statistician under subsection 13(1) of the Act in respect of the 2011 decennial census then, despite subsection 3(1) of the Act, as enacted by section 3, the Governor in Council shall, for that decennial census, establish, for the purpose of the Act, by proclamation published in the Canada Gazette, a commission for each province no later than 60 days after the day on which the Minister receives the return. Nothing in this section precludes a commission from being established before the receipt of that return.

  • Marginal note:Time for establishing commissions

    (2) If this Act comes into force after the day on which the Minister receives a return certified by the Chief Statistician under subsection 13(1) of the Act in respect of the 2011 decennial census and, with respect to a particular province, a commission has not yet been established, the Governor in Council shall, for that decennial census, despite subsection 3(1) of the Act, as enacted by section 3, establish, for the purpose of the Act, by proclamation published in the Canada Gazette, a commission for that province no later than 60 days after the day on which the Minister receives the return.

Marginal note:Application of sections 18 to 22

 Sections 18 to 22 apply only in respect of the readjustment of the representation of the provinces in the House of Commons that is required to be made on the completion of the 2011 decennial census and only if

  • (a) this Act comes into force on or after the day on which the Chief Statistician sends to the Chief Electoral Officer the return, in respect of that census, that is referred to in subsection 13(1) of the Act; and

  • (b) a representation order has not been proclaimed in the period beginning on the day on which that return is sent and ending on the day on which this Act comes into force.

Marginal note:Sending of estimates

 The Chief Statistician shall comply with section 12.1 of the Act, as enacted by section 4, as soon as feasible after the coming into force of this Act.

Marginal note:Coming into force before statement

 If this Act comes into force before the day on which a statement referred to in subsection 14(1) of the Act is published in the Canada Gazette in respect of the 2011 decennial census,

  • (a) the amendments made by sections 2 and 6 apply for the purpose of the calculation referred to in that subsection; and

  • (b) despite subsection 20(1) of the Act, as enacted by section 9, the 10-month period referred to in that subsection during which each commission is to complete a report is deemed to begin on the later of the day on which the statement referred to in subsection 14(1) of the Act is published in the Canada Gazette and the day on which the commission is established.

Marginal note:Obligations of Chief Electoral Officer

 If this Act comes into force on or after the day on which a statement (in sections 21 and 22 referred to as the “first statement”) referred to in subsection 14(1) of the Act is published in the Canada Gazette in respect of the 2011 decennial census, the Chief Electoral Officer shall

  • (a) as soon as feasible after receiving the estimates referred to in section 12.1 of the Act, as enacted by section 4, calculate the number of members of the House of Commons to be assigned to each province, subject and according to the provisions of section 51 of the Constitution Act, 1867 and the rules in that section, as amended by section 2; and

  • (b) on the completion of that calculation, cause a statement (in sections 21 and 22 referred to as the “second statement”) to be published in the Canada Gazette setting out the results of the calculation.

Marginal note:Identical number of members

 If the number of members of the House of Commons to be assigned to a province is the same in the second statement as in the first statement and this Act comes into force after the establishment of a commission for that province but before the expiry of one year after the day on which the commission’s chairman receives the return referred to in paragraph 13(2)(a) of the Act, then, despite subsection 20(1) of the Act, as enacted by section 9, the commission must complete its report under the Act before the earlier of

  • (a) the expiry of a period of 10 months after the day on which this Act comes into force, and

  • (b) the expiry of a period of one year after the day on which the chairman receives the return.

Marginal note:Different numbers of members
  •  (1) If the number of members of the House of Commons to be assigned to a province is not the same in the second statement as in the first statement, the commission established for the province under the Act shall perform its duties under the Act subject to subsection (2) or (3).

  • Marginal note:Report not completed

    (2) If, with respect to a province, a commission has not yet been established on the day on which the second statement is published in the Canada Gazette or if, with respect to a province, a commission has been established on or before that day but it has not yet completed its report,

    • (a) for the purpose of subsection 14(2) of the Act and the rule in paragraph 15(1)(a) of the Act, the number of members of the House of Commons to be assigned to the province, as calculated by the Chief Electoral Officer under subsection 14(1) of the Act, is the number set out in the second statement in respect of the province; and

    • (b) the 10-month period referred to in subsection 20(1) of the Act, as enacted by section 9, is deemed to begin on the later of the day on which the second statement is published in the Canada Gazette and the day on which the commission is established.

  • Marginal note:Report completed

    (3) If, with respect to a province, a commission has been established on or before the day on which the second statement is published in the Canada Gazette and it has completed its report on or before that day, that report is no longer valid and the commission shall prepare a new report under the Act. Paragraphs (2)(a) and (b) apply in respect of the preparation of the new report.

INTERPRETATION

Marginal note:Interpretation

 A reference to the Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982 is deemed to include a reference to sections 2, 14, 15 and 17 to 20.