While Canadian readers are no doubt aware that we have a federal election coming up, for those who might not be following Canadian politics, a federal election has been called and voting will take place on Monday October 19, 2015.

Fun Facts for American readers

  • Canada is a different country than the United States of America, and we can elect our very own leaders;Harper in front of Parliament
  • Steven Harper is Canada’s current Prime Minister, the Canadian less charismatic equivalent of the current US President.  He has held his office since 2006 and is now running for his fourth term.  Refer to the attached picture of Mr. Harper standing in front of our Legislature;
  • Yes, the guy running for the Liberal Party is the son of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, not that we have any sort of monarchical tendencies in Canada;
  • Unlike in the US, in Canada there is no limit on the consecutive number of terms a leader can hold the top job.  A political career can go on and on and on, sometimes passed down through generations.


Voting Rights for Employees in Canada

Here is my post from the last federal election in 2011.

For many, the election will take place on a work day. Obligations for employers on election-day are set out in the Canada Elections Act, ss.132-134. Under this Act voters are entitled to three consecutive hours free from work during voting hours to cast their ballots.

voting canada copyVoting hours vary from time zone to time zone:

(a)      8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., if the electoral district is in the Newfoundland, Atlantic or Central time zone;

(b)      9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., if the electoral district is in the Eastern time zone;

(c)       7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., if the electoral district is in the Mountain time zone; and

(d)      7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., if the electoral district is in the Pacific time zone.

If regular work hours on election-day do not give employees three consecutive hours off during these times, then employees are entitled to time off to ensure that they do have these three consecutive hours.

Employers have the right to decide when an employee is to take their voting time off.  Employers are not permitted, however, to deduct an employee’s pay for the time taken to vote.

All Canadian citizens who are at least 18 years old are eligible to vote.

Although the employer’s obligation is largely unchanged, new in 2015 are measures to ensure that voting is accessible for people with disabilities.  For more information and for a resource to direct your employees to, click here.