Canadians go to the polls on May 2 for the 2011 federal election. Here is a brief review of an employer’s obligations on voting day:
- Any employee who is a "Canadian citizen and is 18 years of age or older on polling day" is entitled to vote.
- The hours of voting are set by statute:
(a) from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., if the electoral district is in the Newfoundland, Atlantic or Central time zone;
(b) from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., if the electoral district is in the Eastern time zone;
(c) from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., if the electoral district is in the Mountain time zone; and
(d) from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., if the electoral district is in the Pacific time zone.
- Every employee eligible to vote is entitled, during voting hours on polling day, to have three consecutive hours to vote. If the employee’s hours of work do not allow for those three consecutive hours, the employer is required to allow time off to vote.
- If an employer is required to allow time off for an employee to vote, that period of time is at the convenience of the employer, not the employee.
- An employer is not permitted to deduct the pay of an employee or impose any sort of penalty for the time taken by an employee to vote.
- The Elections Canada website contains general information about how and when to vote. This is a good place to direct employees that may have questions about the logistics of voting on election day.