We invite you to watch the video of the press conference of March 17, 2015. (In french only)

What is the status of the commission entrusted with delimiting Québec’s electoral divisions?

The Commission de la représentation électorale (CRE) is an independent institution. It is made up of the Chief Electoral Officer, who is its chair, and two commissioners. All three members are appointed by the National Assembly.

The Commission de la représentation électorale is vested with decision-making power and carries out its mandate in a neutral and impartial manner.

What is the lifespan of an electoral map?

According to the Election Act, the delimitation of electoral divisions must be reviewed every two general elections.

The last electoral map was established in 2011. Since then, two general elections have been held, in September 2012 and in April 2014. The Commission de la représentation électorale therefore began working to establish a new electoral map after the general election of April 2014.

It is important to stress that the 2011 map was established on the basis of data concerning the electoral population as of November 2007. It must therefore be revised in order to ensure fair and equitable representation of Québec’s electors for the next general election, expected in 2018.

When is the new map expected to come into force?

Once the preliminary report is tabled, the following step provided for by the Election Act is the holding of public hearings. After having analyzed the briefs submitted by citizens, Members of the National Assembly and organizations, the Commission table its second report, outlining electoral division boundaries for Québec as a whole. Following this tabling, a debate limited to five hours is held at the National Assembly. No later than the tenth day following this debate, the Commission definitively establish the delimitation of Québec’s electoral divisions and name each of them. The list of electoral divisions is then published in the Gazette officielle du Québec.

The new electoral map came into force on August 23, 2018.

What are the criteria that guide the Commission in establishing electoral division boundaries?

Each electoral division must be delimited in such a way as to ensure respect for the principle of effective representation of electors. To this end, the Commission must comply with two criteria.

The first criterion is the equality of the votes of electors, whereby each elected representative must essentially represent the same number of electors. However, this equality can only be relative, as a combination of demographic, geographical and sociological factors must be considered. The equality of the vote of electors is reached when the number of electors in each electoral division is neither greater nor less than 25% of the average number of electors per electoral division. To establish this average, the Commission divides the total number of electors registered on the permanent list of electors by the total number of electoral divisions.

For example, the calculation for this revision is as follows: on November 30, 2014, there were 6,048,383 electors in Québec’s 125 electoral divisions. The average number of electors per electoral division is therefore 48,387, and the number of electors in each electoral division can vary between 36,290 and 60,484.

The second criterion establishes that electoral divisions must represent natural communities. To reach this goal, the Commission takes into account demographic, geographical and sociological factors, such as population density, relative growth rate, regional accessibility and configuration, the natural boundaries of communities, and the boundaries of local municipalities.

For more information on the criteria that guide the Commission in establishing the electoral division boundaries, please visit our Effective representation page.

Are there electoral divisions exempt from the rule establishing a maximum or minimum number of electors?

Yes. The Commission may derogate from the numerical criterion of plus or minus 25% if it considers that applying the criterion does not ensure effective representation of electors in a given electoral division. The Commission must justify this decision in writing.

In its final report, tabled on June 14, 2017, the Commission has granted exceptional status to six electoral divisions. They are: Abitibi-Est, Abitibi-Ouest, Bonaventure, Gaspé, René-Lévesque and Ungava. The number of electors in these electoral divisions is below the minimum limit provided under the Election Act, placing them in an exceptional negative situation. The reasons why the Commission has granted exceptional status to these electoral divisions are outlined in Section 3.2 of this report.

The Election Act also recognizes an exceptional status for the electoral division of Îles-de-la-Madeleine, due to its low number of electors. The Commission has no jurisdiction over the delimitation of this electoral division.

How are electoral divisions named?

To name an electoral division, the Commission relies on rules and guidelines it sets, which are based on those of the Commission de toponymie du Québec. The rules and guidelines prioritize stability of the nomenclature of electoral divisions and a name made up of a single place name. If juxtaposition is deemed unavoidable, the Commission is limited to two components.

The naming of electoral divisions may refer to a major natural entity or an important inhabited place in the history and heritage of a community, or pay tribute to a figure whose influence was significant in Quebec.

The Commission always consults the Commission de toponymie when it names an electoral division it is delimiting.

For more information on the naming of electoral divisions, we invite you to visit the Naming page.

Is the number of electoral divisions limited?

Yes. The Election Act sets the number of electoral divisions.

It can vary between 122 and 125. There are currently 125 electoral divisions, i.e. the maximum number authorized by the Act.

Can electors or any other group intervene in the delimitation process?

Yes. Within six months of filing its preliminary report outlining the electoral division delimitation proposal, the Commission will hear the views of concerned citizens, bodies and MNAs within the framework of public hearings held in different regions of Québec.

Even if you do not attend the public hearings, you can still submit your opinion or your delimitation suggestions to the Commission.