The Representation Formula

Below is the formula for allocating seats in the House of Commons following each decennial (10-year) census. This representation formula is found in the Constitution.

Click here for the House of Commons seat allocation by province.

Provincial population ÷ Electoral quotient (111,166) = Initial provincial seat allocation

Application of the "senatorial clause" and "grandfather clause"

Application of the "representation rule"

Total provincial seats + One seat per territory = Total number of seats

1 – Initial allocation of seats to the provinces

The population of a province is divided by the “electoral quotient” to provide the initial allocation of seats to that province. For this redistribution process, the electoral quotient is set at 111,166. 

Note: For future redistribution processes, the electoral quotient will be adjusted to reflect average provincial population growth since the previous redistribution.

2 – Application of the special clauses

After the initial number of seats per province is obtained, adjustments are made to account for the “senatorial clause” and the “grandfather clause.”

The senatorial clause guarantees that no province has fewer seats in the House of Commons than it has in the Senate. The grandfather clause guarantees each province no fewer seats than it had in 1985.

3 – Application of the “representation rule”

The “representation rule” will only apply to a province whose population was overrepresented in the House of Commons at the completion of the last redistribution process. If such a province would now be under-represented based on the calculations above, it will be given extra seats so that its share of House of Commons seats is proportional to its share of the population.

4 – Calculation of House of Commons seats

Once the special clauses and representation rule are applied, the number of seats for each province has been determined. Three seats are then allocated to the territories – one for each of the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut – to obtain the total number of House of Commons seats.