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CANADEM's Roster of Election Observers - FAQs and Training

CANADEM holds a gender-balanced roster of Canadian election experts.

Candidates for missions are recruited based on qualifications and diversity that reflect Canada. Specific focus is put on including Canadians from Indigenous and visible minority backgrounds.

CANADEM encourages Indigenous Canadians interested in democracy promotion and the rights of Indigenous peoples worldwide to participate in international election observation work.


To register with CANADEM's Roster of Election Observers

Election Observation FAQs

What is election observation? 


Election observation is one of the most transparent and methodical ways to promote and encourage democracy and human rights.

Election observation is based on two fundamental principles:

  • first, clear commitments entered into by governments for ensuring democratic elections; and

  • second, the simple and incontrovertible rule that an observer is just that, an objective individual who does not interfere in the process (


International electoral observation is generally conducted by independent International Organizations and NGOs such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), The European Union (EU), The Organization of American States (OAS), and others. Observers are drawn from member states and deployed to assess the conduct of an election process on the basis of national legislation and international election standards. 

Why are elections monitored?

Democracy has been facing challenges worldwide in the recent decade, with the resurgence of populism and the increase in popularity of leaders with autocratic tendencies. In particular, democratic processes and institutions are being undermined through the rigging of elections, manipulation of online technologies, and the restriction of spaces for civil society, human rights defenders and the media. This includes electoral processes, which are a pillar of democracy.

These trends have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as governments in many countries have used lockdowns to curb dissent, ban demonstrations and, in some cases, delay electoral processes. When electoral processes do happen, there are additional challenges to voters, candidates and electoral administration institutions. In addition, the pandemic has affected the activities of civil society and the media who monitor and report on elections. It has also affected the work of multilateral organizations and international NGOs that observe electoral processes. As a result, Canadians have an important role to play in helping advance democracy.

Are electoral observers paid?

All selected candidates, both as STOs and LTOs, receive a per diem to cover their expenses and paid travel costs to and from the observation mission. Short Term Observers are generally deployed for a short period of time (1 to 2 weeks) and as such act as volunteers. Long Term Observers are paid a stipend in addition to expenses, as they are usually more experienced and will deploy for a month or longer.   

What is CANADEM's role?

CANADEM holds a gender-balanced roster of pre-screened electoral observers. When an upcoming election is identified, CANADEM contacts the electoral observation roster members, inviting them to apply. CANADEM's recruitment team then shortlists, interviews, and selects observers to deploy to the international organization conducting the observation mission. Once deployed, selected candidates are trained on the observation process by the receiving organization and paired with their team members from another member state.  

Where does CANADEM deploy election observers? 


CANADEM and Global Affairs Canada identify upcoming elections in line with Canada's foreign policy objectives. When an election is identified, CANADEM conducts a search to identify candidates from the electoral observation roster. Members may apply to be considered for any mission in which they are interested. 

Who is CANADEM looking for? 

Some of the most pertinent qualifications considered for inclusion on the roster are:

  • University degree in a related field,

  • Community work in Canada or internationally on democratization,

  • Canadian or international electoral experience,

  • In-country and regional experience in Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe or Latin America,

  • Knowledge of UN official languages (French, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian),

  • Professional and academic work experience,

  • Canadians hailing from all age groups, provinces and territories are welcome to apply.

Ideal candidates have:

  • An ability to think quickly, adapt to new situations, and able to live and work in difficult, fast-paced environments,

  • Cultural and gender sensitivity, and demonstrated exceptional interpersonal skills,

  • A strong commitment to democracy and free & fair elections for all people.

How can I become a better Election Observer? 

The organizations running electoral observation missions have some great handbooks and training courses available to improve your skills as an election observer. Click the links below for more info.

EU Election Handbook

What is the selection criteria? 

Candidates will be selected based on the following individual and group criteria:

1. Previous LTO and/or STO experience
2. Experience in public administration, non-governmental organizations, and/or international organizations involved in observing and/or organizing electoral processes
3. Experience in the particular country being observed
4. Fluency in the language of the country being observed

5. Group criteria so that we can achieve representation of all (gender balance, representation of indigenous and visible minorities, and representation of all parts of Canada)

Because observers represent Canada internationally as part of the multilateral observation missions, only Canadian Citizens are eligible to apply. 

CANADEM will ensure to represent all of Canada's diversity on the basis of region, age, gender, and ethnicity (including Indigenous Canadian representation).  

How do I register for the electoral roster? 


Click Here or the "ELECTORAL OBSERVATION REGISTRATION" button on this page and complete the application form. Once you have applied, you will receive an email detailing the next steps

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