OTTAWA — A Senate committee says the government must “urgently” amend laws to prevent foreign interference in Canadian elections, including the possible theft of confidential emails.

Current laws have loopholes that could allow foreign money and online advertising to unduly influence voters and have an impact on election results, says the Senate’s standing committee on legal and constitutional affairs in a report released Thursday.

Recommendations for changes to the Canada Elections Act come after recent reports alleged that donations from the United States fuelled some organizations active in the 2015 election campaign, and amid international attention on a U.S. Senate investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“It certainly makes it more of a top-of-mind issue given what’s happening in the United States,” said committee chair Bob Runciman, a Conservative senator. “I think it’s a legitimate concern right across the Western world. Certainly we can’t ignore it. Ignore it at our peril.”

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