OTTAWA -- The Trudeau government has been quietly working on a new body to organize leaders' debates in federal elections, and plans to have it in place by next year's vote.

A senior official tells The Canadian Press the government will unveil specific details in the coming weeks.

Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould emphasized the need for an impartial and independent debate commission in a letter to a House of Commons committee this week.

She added the government believes the new body should be guided by various high-minded principles to ensure it is organizing leaders' debates "that are in the public interest."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised during the 2015 campaign, when the issue became a political football, to create such an independent body.

Until 2015, Canadian voters traditionally got at least two opportunities during each campaign to assess party leaders in televised debates -- one French, one English -- organized by a consortium of broadcasters.