Public Inquiry Into Foreign Interference Gets to Work
November 2, 2023 (Ottawa) – The Public Inquiry into Foreign Interference in Federal Electoral Processes and Democratic Institutions has begun its work. The Public Inquiry, led by the Honourable Marie-Josée Hogue, has been hiring staff, setting up its offices and planning its work since Justice Hogue took up her duties on September 18, 2023.
The Inquiry will undertake its work in two phases. The first phase will focus on the interference that China, Russia and other foreign actors may have engaged in, and any impact it had on the 2019 and 2021 federal elections. The Inquiry will also examine and assess the flow of information within the federal government in relation to these issues, and evaluate the actions taken in response.
In the second phase, the Inquiry will examine the capacity of federal departments, agencies, institutional structures, and governance processes to permit the Government of Canada to detect and counter such interference.
The Inquiry intends to conduct its work in such a way as to maximize the public disclosure of the information it obtains, within the bounds of the law and without jeopardizing national security. “While this will be a difficult balance to strike, I will do my utmost to achieve it, as both objectives are paramount,” said Commissioner Hogue.
The Inquiry will hold public hearings in each phase of its work. It is expected that these hearings will take place in early 2024 and in the fall of 2024. The Inquiry’s first report is due by February 29, 2024. Its final report is due by December 31, 2024.
The Inquiry expects to provide further information regarding its work plan and to issue a call for applications for standing by interested parties on November 10, 2023, when it launches its website. Funding may be available for parties that meet approved guidelines.
“The work to set up an independent Public Inquiry, particularly one that deals with national security issues, is complex,” said Commissioner Hogue. “Our work is progressing steadily, and I look forward to sharing more information with Canadians on November 10th.”
The Inquiry will also set up a process so that members of the public can submit information to the Inquiry and/or share their observations.
“Our timeline is ambitious, and it will require the Inquiry, and all interested parties to work expeditiously and cooperatively with one another. I look forward to working with all of those involved,” said Commissioner Hogue.
The Government of Canada issued four Orders in Council related to the Public Inquiry, all dated September 7, 2023:
- Order in Council 2023-0882 sets out the terms of reference and appoints the Commissioner under the Inquiries Act;
- Order in Council 2023-0883 designates the Commission as a department for the purposes of the Financial Administration Act;
- Order in Council 2023-0884 amends the Schedule to the Security of Information Act; and
- Order in Council 2023-0885 amends the Schedule to the Canada Evidence Act.
Sr. Communications Advisor
Public Inquiry into Foreign Interference in Federal Electoral Processes and Democratic Institutions