Statement from CEO re: Election 2020

Election 2020 Communication Update

MNBC was recently alerted that email addresses for MNBC citizens were provided by our Registry staff to the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO). The Chief Electoral Officer has since advised us this information was then sent to some of the election candidates – for which he has apologized. Once he realized this information had been improperly shared, his office attempted to recall the lists and told the affected candidates not to use it. However, MNBC has been advised that some of the candidates may have been using the email lists and reaching out directly to voters. In an effort to be fair to all candidates email addresses were then instructed to be released to all candidates.

It is my understanding that providing personal email addresses to the Chief Electoral Officer or candidates has never been permitted in the past. In that regard, the release of this information should not have happened. As a result, I wish to apologize to anyone who has been impacted.

Rest assured, we are taking the circumstances described above very seriously. That’s why earlier this week I authorized an independent review to commence immediately regarding MNBC’s policies, procedures and practices regarding the sharing of sensitive citizen information with external bodies. The Acting Registrar and her staff have committed to supporting this review process over the coming weeks.

You have my personal assurance that MNBC remains 100% committed to properly safeguarding the information provided to us by our citizens. That said, this reality must also recognize the immediate need to ensure we maintain a fair and transparent election process.

On that note, the Chief Electoral Officer has now reminded all candidates there is legislation in Canada relating to mass email communications: Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). CASL applies to emails sent to an electronic address – including those sent by a candidate to voters. There are three general requirements for sending a commercial electronic message (CEM) to an electronic address: (1) obtain consent, (2) provide identification information, and (3) provide an unsubscribe mechanism.

To be clear, under CASL, candidates must include an unsubscribe mechanism in their email correspondence to potential voters. If anyone commits a violation under CASL, they may be required to pay an administrative monetary penalty (AMP). The maximum amount of an AMP, per violation, for an individual is $1 million.

Once again, I apologize for what has transpired and I look forward to reviewing the results of the independent review and implementing the recommendations contained within it.

Daniel Fontaine, Deputy Minister | Chief Executive Officer