The Investigative Process

The Election Commissioner may, on his own initiative or at the request of the Chief Electoral Officer or another person or organization, conduct an investigation into any matter that might constitute an offence under the Election Act or the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act.

For the purpose of conducting an investigation, the Election Commissioner has all the powers of a commissioner under the Public Inquiries Act as though the investigation were an inquiry under that Act.

The Election Commissioner may refuse to conduct an investigation or cease an investigation if he believes that the matter is frivolous or vexatious or if there are no or insufficient grounds to warrant an investigation or the continuation of an investigation.

If the Election Commissioner refuses to conduct or ceases an investigation or determines that no offence was committed, the Election Commissioner provides notice to every person or organization that is or would have been subjects of the investigation. Notice is also provided to every person or organization that requested an investigation, and may be provided to any other person or organization involved in the matter.

The Election Commissioner cannot make an adverse finding against a person or organization unless that person or organization has had reasonable notice of the substance of the allegations and a reasonable opportunity to present his or her or its views.

When there is an investigation, it is conducted by an investigator designated by the Election Commissioner.  At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator prepares a report and makes a recommendation to the Election Commissioner concerning further proceedings.

On receipt of an investigative report and recommendations, the matter is referred to legal counsel for an independent recommendation.

With the benefit of the investigative report and legal advice, the Election Commissioner may do one of the following:

  • decide that no further action is required
  • enter into a compliance agreement
  • issue a letter of reprimand
  • levy an administrative penalty
  • recommend a prosecution be instituted*

* Prosecutions must be commenced within 3 years of the commission of the alleged offence. Prosecutions for election offences cannot be instituted by Alberta Justice without the consent of the Election Commissioner.