Changes to The Election Act, 1996

Legislative Amendments

On December 7, 2022, the Legislative Assembly passed Bill 123 which made amendments to The Election Act, 1996. Many were made in response to the recommendations made in A Report on the Twenty-Ninth General Election, Volume IV, Chief Electoral Officer’s Recommendations for Legislative Reform.

My office is presently reviewing these changes to determine their impact on the parameters for a modernized election process outlined in Volume IV and in the discussions I have had with you since our last general election. Over the coming months, I will be able to offer more insight on changes to the legislation. For the short term, however, I would draw your attention to new sections 5.3 to 5.6 of the Bill. If you have questions on these sections, I would be pleased to speak with you directly.

The Bill also contained a number of changes which are not related to the modernization of our election process but will still improve the administration of elections. These include:

  • An absentee voter can now vote by naming the leader of a registered political party in addition to the name of a candidate or registered political party;
  • The position of party leader and chief official agent of a political party cannot be vacant for more than 30 days;
  • The candidate’s business manager has been renamed “financial agent” to better reflect the role and responsibilities of this position;
  • Candidate nomination deposits have increased from $100 to $500;
  • Candidate election expense returns are no longer required to be audited if the candidate’s election expenses, contributions, and event proceeds each fall below $1000; and
  • Any candidate who fails to file an election expense return is not eligible to be a candidate in subsequent elections.

Saskatoon Meewasin By-Election – Candidate Returns 

The deadline for candidates to file their Saskatoon Meewasin by-election expense return is Tuesday, December 27. Given the Christmas long weekend and the holiday season, I want to remind you again and encourage you to share this information with your candidates.

I would ask that you contact your candidates from the by-election and ensure they are working on their return. Audited returns must be completed and submitted to my office by the deadline. To be clear, the holiday season will not be a valid reason for a candidate to receive an extension on their expense return.

Our office will be closed to the public beginning at 3 p.m. on December 22 and all day on both December 23 and December 26, and we will not have anyone available to provide support on those days. If you need to drop off materials between December 27 and December 30, please be in contact with Aaron Thompson, Director of Finance, at [email protected] to make arrangements.  

Modernization Update Meeting – Delayed

In late November, I mentioned the possibility of holding an update meeting on our modernization plans for the 2024 general election. Recently, I have concluded that it would be more beneficial to hold this meeting a little later in the calendar year. Please stay tuned for further information but, in the short term, I want to continue to encourage you to be in touch with any specific questions you might have.  

Season’s Greetings

Finally, on behalf of our entire team at Elections Saskatchewan—at our office in Regina and those who work with us across our 61 constituencies—I want to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas, a happy New Year, and the very best throughout this holiday season. I sincerely hope that you can find time to relax with family and friends and reflect on 2022 and look forward to 2023.  

For Elections Saskatchewan, the past year has been both a challenging and rewarding one. We have completed our reporting on Saskatchewan’s 29th General Election, allowing us to fully turn our attention to the 30th election, scheduled for October 2024. We administered two by-elections during which we piloted a number of innovative items, including assisted telephone voting and electronic poll books. I look forward to continuing to make progress in this area as we work toward 2024.

Again, all the best, and I look forward to working with you in 2023.


Dr. Michael Boda
Chief Electoral Officer
Province of Saskatchewan