Thank you for the invitation to testify before the committee today, Madam Chair.
I am accompanied by Marc Chénier, deputy commissioner and chief of legal services in my office.
The issue of foreign interference is one that my office takes very seriously. As commissioner, my role is to ensure compliance and enforcement of the Canada Elections Act, which provides a legal framework for the activities of my office.
Activities that could be attempts at foreign interference are captured by several provisions in the act. The wording of the obligations and prohibitions of the act as adopted by Parliament determines the scope of our compliance and enforcement work.
For instance, the provision on undue influence is limited to the election period and does not capture the pre-election period.
It is also important to note that we are a complaint-based organization that operates primarily on the basis of complaints received from the public. We encourage Canadians to contact us when they believe an offence under the Canada Elections Act has been committed.
I would like to inform you that my office did not observe any significant change in the number of issues giving rise to complaints containing allegations of foreign interference in either the 43rd or 44th general elections.
As you can imagine, cases of foreign interference can pose significant operational challenges for our work. The presence of activities, individuals or entities from outside of our borders can significantly increase the complexity of an investigation.
Of course, these challenges are not unique to our office.
Over the years, my office has worked with key law enforcement and national security and intelligence organizations. This was helpful to gain a better understanding of the potential threats to elections. It has also served to ensure effective communication, when appropriate, during an election period.
In conclusion, I wish to remind members of this committee that I am not in a position to discuss the details of files that may or may not be the subject of an investigation by my office. This includes any issues that may currently be the subject of a complaint or may have been the subject of a complaint in the past.
I would be happy to take your questions.