The Election Commissioner may, in response to a complaint or allegation made by a person or organization or request made by the Chief Electoral Officer, conduct an investigation into any matter that may constitute an offence under the legislation.
For the purpose of conducting an investigation, the Election Commissioner has all the powers of a commissioner under the Public Inquiries Act, as though the investigation were an inquiry under that Act. An investigation may also be conducted on the Election Commissioner’s own initiative.
The Election Commissioner conducts a review of each complaint to determine if an investigation is required. The Election Commissioner may also refuse to conduct an investigation or cease an investigation if the matter is frivolous or vexatious or if there are insufficient grounds to warrant an investigation or the continuation of an investigation.
The Election Commissioner cannot make an adverse finding against a person or organization unless that person or organization has had reasonable notice of the substance of the allegations and a reasonable opportunity to present their views.
When there is an investigation, it is conducted by an investigator designated by the Election Commissioner. At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator prepares a report setting out the evidence gathered during the investigation. This report is presented to the Election Commissioner who will then make a finding and render a decision.
Our approach aims to always protect the public trust. This is done by balancing compliance, prevention, and intervention; and, by working to resolve all complaints in a fair, transparent, and timely fashion. Our practice is to first share information, to educate persons on the legislation, and to creating partnerships to resolve complaints. Only as a last resort, do we pursue enforcement.