Demographic Change and Representation by Population in the Canadian House of Commons

  • Don Kerr Department of Sociology, Kings University College, University of Western Ontario, London Ontario
  • Hugh Mellon Department of Political Science, Kings University College, University of Western Ontario, London Ontario


This paper considers Canadian representational debates, including a brief sketch of how electoral districts are defined across geography and population. Electoral boundary commissions in Canada have long differed in terms of the relative importance to be placed on population in decisions relating to the delineation of boundaries of federal electoral districts. As argued in this paper,the traditional understandings and agreements that have shaped decisions relating to electoral districts are increasingly at odds with Canada’s emerging demographic realities. In a nation that is highly reliant on immigration in maintaining its population, the current representational order arguably penalizes regions of the country which are growing most rapidly, and in particular, where new immigrants are most likely to locate. The current paper also considers possible reforms in the manner in which electoral districts are drawn, which at a minimum could involve the use of more up to date and accurate demographic data.