About the Commission


The Commission is created by the Electoral Boundaries Act and takes its mandate from that Act.

The Act directs the Commission to prepare a report to the Minister of Justice and Public Safety setting out its recommendations for:

  1. the division of the Province into 40 proposed 1-member districts;
  2. the description of the boundaries of each district; and
  3. the name to be given to each district.

The Act mandates that the Commission divide the Labrador portion of the Province into four proposed districts and describe the boundaries of those districts with consideration to their historical boundaries.

With regard to the island portion of the Province, the Act mandates that the Commission determine the boundaries of the remaining 36 districts by calculating a quotient for each proposed district by dividing the total population of the Province (except that portion of the total population living within Labrador) by the number 36. In determining the quotient, the Commission must use the latest census figures available under the Statistics Act (Canada) PDF document opens in new window PDF document which is the 2011 census. The Commission has calculated the quotient to be 13,550.

In proposing a division of the province into districts, the Commission must give primacy to the principle that the vote of every elector in the Province shall have a weight equal to that of every other elector. The Commission shall assume that the proportion of electors to the general population is constant throughout the Province. Where the Commission considers it necessary to do so, it may depart from the quotient but not to a greater extent than 10% more or 10% less of the quotient. If special geographic considerations warrant, the Commission may also recommend the creation of districts with a population that departs from the quotient up to 25% more or 25% less; in addition, if special geographic considerations apply, the Commission may propose up to two districts on the island portion of the Province with a population of more than 25% more or 25% less than the quotient. Special geographic considerations include the community of interests of those communities of the province that are not connected by roads, the accessibility of a region, its size or its shape. These criteria do not apply to the four seats to be proposed for Labrador, although special consideration is to be given to the community of aboriginal interests that exists in the present Torngat Mountains district.

In determining the name of each district, the Commission will incorporate the historical and geographical factors that it considers appropriate.

The Commission will hold sittings in the Province for the hearing of representations by interested persons. These sittings will be advertised at least 10 days in advance and the advertisement will include maps and boundary descriptions of the proposed districts as well as the proposed district names.

The Commission must submit its report to the Minister of Justice and Public Safety by June 9, 2015.

For further information about the Commission and its mandate, please see the Electoral Boundaries Act.

The Commissioners

Hon. Robert P. Stack, Chairperson

Robert P. Stack

The Honourable Robert P. Stack was appointed to the Trial Division of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador at Happy Valley-Goose Bay in November 2009. He was transferred to the Judicial Centre of St. John’s in September 2013.

Justice Stack received a Bachelor of Arts from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1980 (Gold Medal, Political Science) and a Bachelor of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, in 1983. He was called to the Newfoundland and Labrador Bar in 1984. From 1984 until his appointment to the bench, Justice Stack practiced primarily in the areas of commercial law and commercial litigation.

Justice Stack taught Constitutional Law in the Department of Political Science at Memorial University of Newfoundland for several years. His involvement with the Canadian Bar Association at the provincial and national levels has been extensive. In 2002, he was awarded a Golden Jubilee Medal for his contribution to the legal profession in Canada.

Shawn Skinner, Deputy Chairperson

Shawn Skinner

Shawn Skinner is a graduate of the Computer Studies Program at the College of Trade and Technology; he has a Certificate in Adult Education from St. Francis Xavier University and received his Professional Manager (P. Mgr.) designation from the Canadian Institute of Management in 1995.

Mr. Skinner has held numerous leadership positions in both the public and private sectors. He is currently the Senior Director, Business Development for a leading North American heavy civil construction contractor.

Mr. Skinner was elected twice as a Member of the House of Assembly (2003-2011), serving as the Minister of Natural Resources (2010-2011), Minister of Innovation Trade and Rural Development (2009-2010), Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment (2007-2009) and Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier (2005-2006). He has also served the people of St. John’s as a City Councillor (1993-1997).

In the private sector, Mr. Skinner has owned and operated his own business for more than 20 years, specializing in training and skills development in business, information technology and health-related fields. Mr. Skinner remains active in community affairs. He has been a long-time Board member with the Boys and Girls Club, the Royal St. John’s Regatta Committee, is an Honorary President of the Benevolent Irish Society, and is currently a volunteer with End Homelessness St. John’s.

Bernard Coffey, Q.C., Commissioner

Bernard Coffey

After graduating from Gonzaga High School in St. John’s, Bernard Coffey received a Bachelor of Science in 1974 and Bachelor of Arts in 1981 from Memorial University of Newfoundland. He received a Bachelor of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University and was called to the Newfoundland and Labrador Bar in 1979.

Mr. Coffey’s 35-year legal career has involved both public service and private practice. During an initial period in private practice, he represented the families of eight victims of the Ocean Ranger tragedy. From 1985 to 2000, his public service career included numerous complex, lengthy cases, and appearances in courts throughout the province. Since returning to private practice in 2000, Mr. Coffey has represented clients in various high profile matters, including acting as co-counsel for the commissioner during the ‘Cameron Inquiry’.

Allan Goulding, Commissioner

Allan Goulding

Allan Goulding graduated from Gander Collegiate and then earned a Bachelor of Science from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a joint major in Computer Science and Mathematics.

Mr. Goulding has thirty years’ experience in information technology support at Memorial University of Newfoundland and is currently senior Computer Systems Administrator with the Department of Computing and Communications.

From 1994 to 2002, Mr. Goulding was a founding member of the St. John's InfoNET Association which provided free internet access before the service was commercially or widely available. He served as Treasurer of the New Democratic Party of Newfoundland and Labrador from 2000 to 2004 and has been Financial Agent for the St. John's East NDP Riding Association since 2004. Mr. Goulding has also acted as Official Agent for numerous NDP candidates in provincial and federal elections since 1997. He has been a member of the Georgestown Neighbourhood Association since 2002 and a member of the MUN Pension committee and Elections NL Advisory Committee.

William Matthews, Commissioner

William Matthews

William (Bill) Matthews graduated from John Burke High School in Grand Bank before earning his Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Physical Education from Memorial University of Newfoundland. He then taught in the St. John’s and Grand Bank/Fortune school systems from 1969 to 1982.

Mr. Matthews was elected as a Member of the House of Assembly (1982-1996), serving as Minister of Career Development and Advanced Studies and Minister of Culture, Recreation and Youth. He was a member of the Social and Resource Policy Committees of Cabinet and Treasury Board. Mr. Matthews also served as Opposition House Leader, Fisheries Critic and Finance Critic.

From 1997 to 2008 Mr. Matthews served as Member of Parliament for the Federal Riding of Random-Burin-St. George’s. He served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, and was Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Fisheries & Oceans and Fisheries Critic.

Mr. Matthews has served as President of the Burin Peninsula Soccer Association, Vice-President of the NL Soccer Association, Director of Coaching for the NL Soccer Association, Chairman of the Fortune Recreation Committee, Chairman of the Fortune Arena Board, a member of the Grand Bank Concerned Citizens Committee and a member of the Fortune Lions Club. He is currently a member of the Board of Regents of Memorial University of Newfoundland.