The voter information card is the main instrument through which electors find out when the election is, when they can vote, and where they go to vote. It's an essential document that is sent across the country to each and every elector who is registered.
With regard to identification requirements, we find that there are groups of people who are more challenged when it comes time to prove their address—which is a requirement, I should mention, that is very exceptional around the world. There are very few jurisdictions that have a requirement to establish address. Even in Canada, there are only two or maybe three provinces, three jurisdictions, that require it. The federal level is the only one that does not accept either a note or the voter card as an alternative to proof of address. We are the only ones in that regard.
It is particularly significant for aboriginals living on-reserve who do not have an address. In many cases, there is no addressing system there, yet often we will have visited those reserves, knocked on doors, and registered those people, so we know where they live.
It's similar with seniors, and with the demographic trends and the aging of our population, I think the problem is going to get larger, not smaller. We have many seniors who live in seniors' homes where, again, we do enumeration and leave a form with them telling them we've seen them and they are registered, yet those people often don't have documents with them. They've been left with their family members or those who take care of them. We've seen incidents of people not being allowed to vote because they did not have any of the documents authorized under the legislation. Allowing the VIC—the voter information card—or the form we leave with seniors as a piece of ID establishing their address would help resolve that problem.
I would also point out, because it is something I care about greatly, that it's important to recognize that most seniors have voted all their lives. Voting is important to them, and very often it's the one act they can do on their own, depending on their stage in life. I think the solution that relies on attestation does not respect the dignity of our seniors. Again, I think having that document, which is issued by an official authority, would be more respectful of their dignity.