06/05/2012 10:18 EDT | Updated 08/05/2012 05:12 EDT

Elections Canada Robocalls Investigation Budgeted At $585K


Elections Canada is earmarking at least $585,000 to probe the robocalls affair — and that price tag will likely climb as the scope of the investigation widens.

Documents obtained by CBC News under Access to Information show the agency spent $124,162 by the end of the last fiscal year — and was budgeting another $212,039 for added costs.

The Office of the Elections Commissioner is forecasting costs of $249,000 to carry out the investigation.

The documents, which include emails, memorandums and sector-by-sector summaries for "fraudulent calls investigation budget" are dated late March 2012 and are preliminary projections compiled before the full scope and complexity of the probe was determined.

"The costs include activities that are not directly related to the investigation, but rather to supporting the organization in managing the issue of alleged fraudulent calls," the report reads. "For example, costs related to engaging additional enquiries officers to respond to a high volume of calls from the public, developing an online complaints form and translating documents such as reports and news releases."

Elections Canada spokeswoman Diane Benson said extra staff were brought in to respond to a flood of contacts from Canadians, including those who complained they were directed to the wrong voting station by automated calls.

During a committee appearance before MPs last week, Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand said the agency has received 1,100 complaints about misleading election calls, but said he had no new information about the investigation.

"It is ongoing and remains a priority for the commissioner," he said. "However, until the investigation has been concluded, I am not in a position to provide additional information to the committee."

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