Canada Elections Act
Marginal note:Appointment of returning officers
24 (1) The Chief Electoral Officer shall appoint a returning officer for each electoral district in accordance with the process established under subsection (1.1) and may only remove him or her in accordance with the procedure established under that subsection.
(1.1) The Chief Electoral Officer shall prescribe the qualifications for the appointment of persons as returning officers, and shall establish for returning officers an external appointment process within the meaning of subsection 2(1) of the Public Service Employment Act on the basis of merit and a fair procedure for their removal on the grounds set out in subsection (7).
Marginal note:Meaning of merit
(1.2) The appointment of a person as a returning officer is made on the basis of merit if the Chief Electoral Officer is satisfied that the person meets the essential qualifications for the work to be performed and has regard to
(a) any additional qualifications that the Chief Electoral Officer considers to be an asset for the work to be performed; and
(b) any current or future operational requirements.
Marginal note:Term of office
(1.3) A returning officer shall be appointed for a term of ten years.
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.
Marginal note:Continuation in office
(1.5) A returning officer may, with the approval of the Chief Electoral Officer, continue in office after his or her term expires until he or she is reappointed or until another person is appointed to the office.
Marginal note:Responsibility of returning officer
(2) A returning officer is responsible, under the general direction of the Chief Electoral Officer, for the preparation for and conduct of an election in his or her electoral district.
Marginal note:Obligation to act to enable elections to be held
(3) Every returning officer to whom a writ is directed shall, on its receipt, or on notification by the Chief Electoral Officer of its issue, cause to be promptly taken any of the proceedings directed by this Act that are necessary in order that the election may be regularly held.
(4) The office of returning officer does not become vacant unless the returning officer dies, resigns, is removed from office, reaches the end of his or her term of office or ceases to reside in the electoral district, or unless the boundaries of the electoral district are revised as a result of a representation order made under section 25 of the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act.
(5) A returning officer who intends to resign shall give written notice to that effect to the Chief Electoral Officer and the resignation is effective only when it is accepted by the Chief Electoral Officer.
Marginal note:No partisan conduct
(6) No returning officer shall, while in office, knowingly engage in politically partisan conduct and in particular shall not make a contribution to a nomination contestant, a candidate or a leadership contestant or belong to or make a contribution to, be an employee of or hold a position in, a registered party, an eligible party or an electoral district association.
Marginal note:Removal from office
(7) The Chief Electoral Officer may remove from office any returning officer who
(a) is incapable, by reason of illness, disability or otherwise, of satisfactorily exercising his or her powers or performing his or her duties under this Act;
(b) fails to competently exercise a returning officer’s power or competently perform a returning officer’s duty under this Act or to comply with an instruction of the Chief Electoral Officer described in paragraph 16(c);
(c) fails to complete the revision of the boundaries of the polling divisions in their electoral district as instructed by the Chief Electoral Officer under subsection 538(3); or
(d) contravenes subsection (6), whether or not the contravention occurs in the exercise of his or her powers or the performance of his or her duties under this Act.
Marginal note:Temporary suspension
(8) The Chief Electoral Officer may temporarily suspend from office a returning officer for any grounds set out in subsection (7).
Marginal note:Duration of suspension
(9) The period of suspension expires at the end of the period that the Chief Electoral Officer considers appropriate. However, if a procedure is commenced — either before or during the period of suspension — that could lead to the returning officer’s removal, the period of suspension expires on the day on which the Chief Electoral Officer makes his or her final decision in that regard.
- 2000, c. 9, s. 24
- 2003, c. 19, s. 2
- 2006, c. 9, s. 174
- 2011, c. 26, s. 13
- 2014, c. 12, s. 14
- 2018, c. 31, s. 23
- Date modified: