Elections Canada collects and records your personal information when you register to vote in a federal election and at the polls. This information is added to a permanent database called the National Register of Electors (the National Register). Personal information recorded in the National Register includes your:
Upon registration to vote, you have the option to exclude your personal information recorded in the National Register.
Elections Canada can also gather your personal information from other databases, both federal and provincial. Federal databases may only share your personal information with your express consent, while provincial and territorial databases must do so in compliance with their own legislation (almost always their own Election Act).
Federal databases include:
Provincial and territorial databases include:
Voter lists from elections in provinces and territories (lists of voters)
You have access to your own personal information on the National Register. Section 54 of the Canada Elections Act creates an obligation for Elections Canada to send you all your personal information in the National Register upon request. You can request access through an access to information and privacy (“ATIP”) request at this link. For more information on making ATIP requests, see Personal Information Requests to Federal Bodies.
External Access to Your Information
Your personal information stored in the National Register is shared with external parties. Elections Canada shares your personal information with provincial and territorial electoral agencies and some municipalities.
Elections Canada must, as obligated by the Canada Elections Act, share your information (excluding date of birth) with federal political candidates [ s. 107(3)]. It must also share a revised version of the list, limited to the voters in that district (excluding date of birth), with registered federal political parties that have endorsed a candidate in an electoral district, [s. 45(1)] [[s.107 (4)].
In other words, if a member of a federal political party is running in your riding, your personal information from the National Register is shared with that party.
Elections Canada’s uses of your personal information are governed by the Privacy Act (s. 7) and the Canada Elections Act. It uses your information to create the National Register. Federal political parties are not subject to the Privacy Act or (“PIPEDA”) (Bourgeois, Spindler Election Law in Canada, 2nd Ed., LexisNexis Canada, 2021).
Individual federal candidates and federal political parties may use your information to communicate with you. Section 10 of the Canada Elections Act expressly states that they may use this information to solicit your vote or contribution.
Political parties and candidates are also prohibited from using your personal information for any unauthorized purpose. Doing so is a criminal offence, and offenders are liable for a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment for up to one year, or both.
You can have your personal information removed from the National Register by contacting Elections Canada. You must write to them and include your name, date of birth, address, and signature. This request is separate from FOI or ATIP requests and is free of charge. You can write to Elections Canada at this link. You do not lose your right to vote if you opt out from the National Register.
These pages were last updated and reviewed in May of 2023.
The information on these pages only contains general information and guidance; none of the information constitutes legal advice. If you have a specific issue that you believe is a legal problem, the best practice is to consult a lawyer.
The information is non-partisan, dynamic, and ever changing. It is the result of FIPA’s research and public education programs.
If you note something that needs to be added, corrected, or removed, please contact us by email: fipa AT fipa.bc.ca.