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Foreign Interference Commission Releases Initial Report

May 3, 2024 (Ottawa) -- After conducting months of investigation and hearing from more than 60 witnesses during 21 days of hearings, the Public Inquiry into Foreign Interference in Federal Electoral Processes and Democratic Institutions has released its Initial Report, which focuses on foreign interference in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections.

Commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue found that the Canadian electoral system itself is robust, but she did find evidence of foreign interference.  “Acts of foreign interference did occur during the last two federal general elections, but they did not undermine the integrity of our electoral system,” she said. “Our system remains sound. Voters were able to cast their ballots, their votes were duly registered and counted and there is nothing to suggest that there was any interference whatsoever in this regard. Nor did foreign interference have any impact on which party formed the government in the two most recent elections. Nonetheless, the acts of interference that occurred are a stain on our electoral process and impacted the process leading up to the actual vote.”

The Commission has reviewed thousands of documents to date, many of which are classified by the Government on the grounds of national security.  “The Commission had access to the documents it deemed relevant, without any redactions for national security reasons. I can therefore say that our team was able to conduct our investigative work without limitation on access to classified information,” said Commissioner Hogue.

The Commission faces an immense challenge in balancing the protection of Canada's national security interests with the transparency of its work. The Commission has released a substantial amount of information and documents, enabling the public to gain a better understanding of what happened during the last two elections.

The Initial Report also addresses how information about foreign interference concerns circulated within the government apparatus, and the actions that were taken in response. “I have not found evidence of any actions taken in bad faith, but I have found that there were some communication problems and a certain lack of understanding of the role that everyone plays, or should play, in combatting foreign interference,” she said.

The findings in the Initial Report are preliminary. “The Commission will soon begin the second Stage of its work, and it is possible that this Stage will shed further light, or even a different light, on some of the events investigated and reported in the first Stage,” said Commissioner Hogue. “That said, I do not think it likely that the main conclusions in this report will change.”

The second Stage of the Commission’s work will include an examination and assessment of the capacity of relevant federal departments, agencies, institutional structures, and governance processes to permit the Government of Canada to detect, deter and counter any form of foreign interference directly or indirectly targeting Canada’s democratic processes. 

Stage Two of the Commission’s work will also focus on the experiences of diaspora community members. Canadians will have the opportunity to share their experiences with, and views on, foreign interference through the Commission’s public outreach program, the details of which will soon be announced.  This Stage of the Commission’s investigation will culminate in public hearings to be held in the Fall.

The Commission will also hear from various experts who will advise the Commission on means of better protecting federal democratic processes from foreign interference during the Policy Phase of its work in the Fall.

The Commission’s Final Report, which must be submitted to the government by December 31, 2024, will include recommendations about how to protect Canada’s elections and democratic institutions from foreign interference.

The Commission’s Initial Report


Michael Tansey
Sr. Communications Advisor
Public Inquiry into Foreign Interference in Federal Electoral Processes and Democratic Institutions

(343) 630-2154

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